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Shiv Vilas Palace

Shiv Vilas Palace at Sandur

Part of Project: Revitalisation of Existing Landscape
Client Name: Mr Ghorpade
Start Date: 04-19-2010
End Date: 06-30-2011
Status: Complete


Revitalization of Palace Landscape


The Palace was originally built in early 1900's and later remodeled/rebuilt by Mr Yeshwantrao Hindurao Ghorpade in the 1930's. It is located on a sprawling 20-acre estate. The palace is now being converted into a Heritage Resort by the Welcome Group of Hotels. The palace is surrounded by trees and a garden, giving it the perfect ambiance to appreciate the surrounding nature. The project involved revitalization of the Palace Gardens as well as re-adapting the landscape to provide vital recreational activities essential for the Heritage Resort.

The primary challenge faced was to ensure a landscape concept that would reflect the aristocratic lifestyle along with their social, religious and moral values. While designing the landscape, we attempted to preserve the sanctity of the Palace Gardens as they used to be previously. The paving patterns for the pedestrian areas were designed in Dholpur stone so that they are reminiscent of a former era and complement the Palace exteriors.

The main aim of the landscape intervention was to preserve the sanctity of the Palace Gardens as per the previous era, followed by a transition zone of semi-formal gardens and finally ending with a dense forested landscape. A lot of activities associated with the Royal family's lifestyle were introduced, or rather re-vitalized, to recreate the lively and multi-activity surrounds of the Palace. The landscape attempts to make the populace rich cultural heritage & traditional handicraft of Sandur.


The Bani Mantappa where the king would seek blessings before going to war was preserved as a Formal Garden. To minimize maintenance, it was decided to use local and hardy species of trees. A few flowering trees were also planted to add colour to the landscape. A cluster of Neem trees where local villagers come to pray was demarcated and preserved. The Palace Gardens were followed by a transition zone of semi-formal gardens and then an area of dense forest. A detailed lighting plan was worked out to ensure that the resort could be appreciated at night as well. Landscape light fixtures complementing the traditional architectural style of the Palace were put in place and Water Bodies were lit up for dramatic effect.

A chip-and-putt course with a few natural obstacles has been developed in the northern direction of the Palace. It was decided to use the rear flank of the Palace for aqua activities and banqueting requirements of the hotel. A rectangular swimming pool was designed keeping in mind the clean architectural lines of the Palace. Changing rooms were camouflaged behind a screen wall. The children's play area was developed using only natural waste materials like logs, ropes, tyres etc.

The abandoned shooting range was revitalized for the entertainment of guests inclined towards honing their marksmanship skills. A dirt track has been made along the periphery of the palace gardens for jogging, elephant rides, biking etc. To provide pause points in the jungle safari walk, local-style thatch roof structures were made using locally available wild grass and bamboo. Living willow structures handcrafted by local artisans of the Sandur Kala Kendra would be incorporated in the landscape. To ensure self- sufficiency in water, it was proposed that the lowest point of the site be excavated and created into a water reservoir. This would become the marsh gardens of the compound and the high water table would ensure perennial water supply. A bore well next to it would take care of the water needs of the resort.