Ramnagar Palace is also referred to as the Purana Mahal in Jammu. It was constructed Maharaja Suchet Singh [AD 1801-44], who reigned over Jammu & Kashmir between 1822 AD and 1844 AD. The Ramnagar Palace Complex is situated in Ramnagar which is about 105 kms from the main town of Jammu.
The Ramnagar Palace Complex is perched at an altitude of 828 meters or 2,716 feet above surface level. It is surrounded by scenic landscapes that mainly comprise of a hilly terrain dressed with roughly 90% of forested area with partial secondary growth of scrubby plants seen in many parts of this region in Jammu.
Ramnagar Palace is quite massive in its size featuring a huge complex fringed with rooms that towers up to three floors. Every few rooms are intercepted by high walls and a watch tower. Each room features a wooden ceiling and walls that are elaborately adorned with stucco work and are painted with exquisite floral patterns.
The Nawa Mahal complex within the precincts of Ramnagar was constructed by Maharaja Ram Singh, who was the son of Maharaja Ranbir Singh of J&K. This Palace features an inner courtyard encircled by rooms comprising of two entrances that face each other.
Ramnagar was in fact the Capital town of Bandralta who was last ruled by Raja Bhupendra Dev. He was overpowered by the Sikh forces in 1821 after which he retired into uncertainty near Ambala, a small town in the State of Haryana, India.
Ramnagar Palace was in fact the residential complex that was constructed during the mid 19th Century for the use of Maharaja Suchet Singh, who was the brother of Maharaja Gulab Singh, a prominent Dogra Ruler and Warrior, who fought well to overpower Raja Bhupendra Dev.
The Ramnagar Palace Complex comprises of two courtyards placed before the buildings that showcase lofty corners. Behind these corners are large halls and rooms fringed on either side of a central passage. The Darbar Hall, Sheesh Mahal and Rang Mahal are seen towards the left side of the entrance while an arcaded balcony with rooms at its rear is seen towards the right side of the entrance gate.
The Darbar Hall features mural paintings that depict themes from the epic Ramayana, Bhagvad Gita and other Vedic Literatures. It also features battle scenes linked to Maharaja Suchet Singh. The Sheesh Mahal lies adjacent to the Darbar hall and reveals exquisite fine glass work that is arranged in various patterns and designs and lithographs.
The Sheesh Mahal Complex showcases strong Mughal and Rajasthan architectural influences adorned with mirrors that beautifully reflect the essence of art, culture and tradition of this region. This Palace Complex is blessed with some of the finest wall paintings that belong to the Pahari School or Hill Schools. One of the most distinct features within this Palace is the existence of European style wall paintings that beautifully adorn the walls. Mural paintings adorn the walls of Shish Mahal and are seen arranged in panels that depict scenes of Krishna-Leela, Nayikas, and Raginis apart from court and hunting escapade scenes. Adjacent to Sheesh Mahal is the decorative walls of Rang Mahal or ‘Palace of Colors’.
The Entrance Fee into the Ramnagar Palace Complex cost INR 5.00 per head, applicable for citizens of India, and visitors from SAARC Countries [Bhutan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka] including visitors from BIMSTEC Countries [Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Thailand]. Other Nationalities need to pay US $2.00 or INR 100.00 per head, whichever is applicable, while children up to the age of 15 years old enjoy free entry.