The heritage of Kachchh art and culture is
displayed in the Madansihji Museum (Aina Mahal) Bhuj. The last ruler of
Kachchh Maharao Madansinhji established the Maharao of Kachchh Aina Mahal
Trust on 1st January, 1977. Aina Mahal means a 'mirror palace'. It was
created by the artists Ramsinh & Gaidhar Devshi in the period of
Maharao Lakhpatji (1752-61).
In 1757, Rao Lakhpatji visited the emperor Alamgir in Delhi. He was graced with the title of 'Mahi Maratib'. He welcomed foreigners in his court. Fortune brought him a man named Ramsingh Malam who specialized in Kachchhi architecture, enamel work, jewellery, tile work and interior decoration.
The great master piece of Ramsingh is the Hall of Mirrors in the Aina Mahal. The walls are white marble covered with mirror which are separated by gilded ornaments. The hall is lit by elaborate pendant candelabra with shades of Venetian glass. The hall of mirrors is on the second floor of the Aina Mahal but Ramsingh devised ingenious pumps and siphons to raise water to fill the pleasure pool and to operate fountains, which cast spray in an intricate variety of patterns charming the eye and cooling the air.
The small state apartment, carpeted with exquisite Kachchhi silk embroidery, its walls paneled high with the same priceless fabrics still contains Maharao Lakhpatji's bed. The hall is filled with a miscellaneous collection of objects; a Dutch Clock, English and French celestial globes, some antique pictures, mechanical toys, glass and china. On the walls of the corridor are a variety of pictures, some European and many Indian. The Aina Mahal alone cost eight million kories and was only one of the many enterprises which the Maharao and Ramsingh undertook together.