Let's Rewind History: A Fact Still Unknown to Many About Saraswati Bhawan Library

Let's Rewind History: A Fact Still Unknown to Many About Saraswati Bhawan Library

Maharana Fateh Singh Gifted Saraswati Bhawan Library to Queen Victoria

Saraswati Bhawan Library Gifted by Maharana Fateh Singh to Queen Victoria

The oldest Saraswati Bhawan Library in Udaipur is located in Gulab Bagh, which also used to be known as Sajjan Niwas Garden. This library has many stories behind it, thanks to Maharana Fateh Singh, a prominent ruler of Mewar. He played a big role in making this library what it is today, contributing to Udaipur's history.

A Historic Tribute to Queen Victoria

In 1944 AD (1887 CE), during Queen Victoria's 50th year Jubilee, Maharana Fateh Singh organized a grand celebration in Mewar. Udaipur was beautifully decorated with lights, and there were acts of kindness everywhere. Prisoners were released, the hungry were given food. Apart from that, everything except opium was made tax-free. Also, Rs 10,000/- were given to the 'Imperial Institute London' and Rs 5,000/- to the Lady Dufferin Fund.

A Royal Gift to the Queen

During the celebrations, Maharana Fateh Singh gave Queen Victoria a  present - the first library in Rajasthan. This library, named Saraswati Bhawan Library, was located in the impressive “Victoria Hall” within Sajjan Niwas Garden, now called Gulab Bagh. Alongside the library, a museum was also set up, preserving the memory of the Queen through both stone and literature. Orders were given for the preparation of a marble statue of Queen Victoria. In recognition of Maharana Fateh Singh's noble gesture, the British government bestowed upon him the prestigious title of G.C.S.I (also known as GI Tag).

Saraswati Bhawan Library

Present Day Library 

Today, the Saraswati Bhawan Library shines as a place of abundant knowledge, having a remarkable collection of archaeological and historical books in different languages. Its shelves are filled with the books of centuries, welcoming scholars and enthusiasts to explore the history of Mewar.

Saraswati Bhawan Library

As visitors enter the library, they are met with a display of ancient inscriptions, having centuries of Mewar's rich history. These relics, dating from the 2nd century BC to the 17th century AD, are reminders of times long past, safeguarded for future generations. The library's unique book collection has never been found, neither in the past nor today, anywhere in the Rajputana region.

Maharana Fateh Singh built Gulab Bagh in 1887. In 1890, he opened Victoria Hall Museum and Library, Rajasthan's first museum back then.

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Source: Saraswati Bhawan Library, Udaipur, Rajasthan

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