From magnificent abodes of the erstwhile royal families to iconic luxury hotels, nearly 40 heritage properties in India are set to be a part of the Palace Day celebrations on Sunday.
This is for the first time when any Indian palace or other palatial buildings will be part of the global celebrations, which first began in Europe in 2016 at the initiative of the Palace of Versailles, according to Centre for Historic Houses (CHH), part of a leading private university.
"We are extremely excited about the Palace Day tomorrow, more so, when India will join in the celebrations for the first time," Esther Schmidt, director of CHH at the OP Jindal Global University in Sonipat, told PTI.
"About 40 properties have confirmed their participation. Besides the UNESCO and the World Monuments Fund (WMF) have lent support to it," she said.
CHH, part of the Jindal School of Art and Architecture, is coordinating the Palace Day celebrations in India.
"We are extremely delighted to see so many royal families confirming their participation - Thanjavur royal family (Tamil Nadu), Bhavnagar royal family (Gujarat), Dhenkanal royal familiy of Orissa, Cossimbazar Rajbari of Calcutta, and latest is the royal family of Baroda, who own the fabulous Laxmivilas Palace, joining the list, and many more," she said.
Luxury heritage hotels under the Taj hospitality group, including the Taj Falaknuma (Hyderabad), Taj Mahal Palace (Mumbai) and Taj Lake Palace (Udaipur), and the Neemrana Hotels, have also joined in, according to CHH.
Palace Day under the patronage of the Network of European Royal Residences, seeks to celebrate the common heritage and gives owners of such properties, a platform to share their history and stories with a wider audience, leveraging the reach of social media.
"This year the theme is music. It is such a wonderful feeling that India this year is going to find a place on the Palace Day map, and we couldn't be more excited. The idea is to also allow this platform to shine a spotlight on lesser known palaces of India, and stoke curiosity among cultural experts and heritage enthusiasts to care for their heritage," Schmidt said.
As part of the celebrations, these royal houses and heritage hotels will put up pictures, tweets and posts on the social media, like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and share their stories, with a common hashtag of Palace Day CHH_India and PalaceDayIndia, she said.
"Heritage delights our heart. And, in this dark time of COVID, we hope these beautiful heritage buildings will lend a ray of hope and soothe our senses," Schmidt said.