The project of converting Ram Pyari Mahal, one of the few majestic pre-Partition buildings in Gujrat, into a museum has been included in `Explore Gujrat` programme envisaged by the district administration.
`The project will be executed by experts of the Punjab Archaeology Department by decorating it with antiques mainly belonging to Gujrat. A public library, an art gallery and a coffee room will also be part of the renovation project,` said a senior official.
He said 30 historical sites in the three tehsils of the district had been selected for the restoration under the initiative. However, he said, Ram Pyari Mahal would be given priority since the authorities had already done a lot of work on it.
A team comprising senior officials of the archaeology department had recently visited the historical building and told the officials of the administration that the recruitment of the required staff for the project had already been completed and officials would soon be posted in Gujrat.
The archaeology department had added an art gallery and a coffee room to the project in 2017 to promote literary and recreational activities in the town. It had initiated the project at Ram Pyari Mahal in 2008-09 and spent Rs5 million on renovation of the site but the pace of work had been slow.
An official source said shortage of required funds was the reason for slow execution of the project.
Ram Pyari Mahal reflects a classical and alluring combination of Greek and Roman orders of architecture. Ram Pyari was the third wife of Sundar Das Chopra, a contractor of Dingah Town, about 55 kilometres from Gujrat, who got constructed this building for his beloved wife in the second decade of the 20th century.
The road that passes by the building was previously known as Ram Pyari Road, but later it was renamed Circular Road and now it passes by Sohni Bazaar of pottery and ceramics in the Walled City.
The edifice is a blend of Greek and Indian architecture. Its facade is a symbol of Greek architectural orders. The entrance to the main hall is supported by pillars, representing Greek orders like Doric and Corinthian. These pillars are still in good condition. Former UoG Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Nizamuddin (who retired as chairman of the Punjab Higher Education Commission), had once expressed the desire to convert the building into a learning centre to cater to the needs of students.