The White Palace of Marghazar (Sufed Mahal) was built in 1940 by the first king of Swat, Miangul Abdul Wadud in the small town of Marghazar. The Sufed Mahal is located more than 7,000 feet above sea level on Marghazar Hill, about fourteen kilometers away from the small city of Saidu Sharif. Marghazar was declared as the summer capital of the Swat valley state.
Presently, Sufed Mahal is serving as a hotel. Miangul Jehanzaib who was the wali of Swat often spends their summertime at the White Palace of Marghazar Swat valley. Therefore, with the passage of time, the palace was converted into a tourist resort.
History of Sufed Mahal
Miangul Abdul Wadud the king of Swat likes the green spot, so the majestic greenish area attracts him. So, historical sacredness, and above all, he decided to build a summer resort at Marghazar in 1935.
There are twenty-four active capacious ornamented rooms and the Royal Suite (ex-King’s bedroom) where Queen of England Elizabeth II and Duke of Edinburgh Prince Philip stayed for three days in 1961.
The magnificent white marble adding the beauty to Royal White Palace and hence name was given to the palace. The Badshah Sahib (King) Miangul Abdul Wadud was a fan of imported marbles, so he decided to bring marble from Agra, bronze from Belgium.
Turkish artisans designed and constructed the palace, completing it in 1941. The first name was Swati Taj Mahal, later on, it was called Motti Mahal and now Sufed Mahal (White Palace). Therefore, different fauna and flora enriched the place and made it a mini zoo as well as a mini botanical garden.
Structure of White Palace
The White Palace has two ample conference halls where King Abdul Wadood used to hold cabinet meetings along with a lobby to have a beautiful view of the garden lawn. Moreover, on the right side, there is a beautiful airy veranda to have a sight of a swirling stream of water.
Thus, on the left side of the building, a six-roomed Lord’s Block for the residence of advisors and ministers. On the upper portion of the palace, there is the eight-roomed Prince Block; it is an enclave in trees and shrubs. If you go further upstairs, there is a 12 roomed Queen’s block.
The raw material of the White Palace was imported from Jaypure India, the same quarry that supplied marble to the Taj Mahal Agra. Moreover, lime (white Chuna) is used as a binding material in place of cement. It is so compact to be drilled. The height of the ceiling is 30 to 35 ft to give extra strength and ward off heat. Amazingly, ceiling fans were imported and installed in 1941 and are still working.
Badshah Sahab had two wives so he built this block in a way that each wife got 3 rooms, 3 servant rooms, and a separate lawn in her share. The counterpart portion of the second wife is a replica of the first one. In front of the lawn, there is a single balcony with marble benches and a table with engraved paintings of grapes.
Miangul Asfandyar Amir Zeb became the owner after the death of King Miangul Wadood. These days Miangul Shahriyar Amir Zeb is the owner of the White Palace. There is also a 200-year-old colossal chinar tree, serving as a canopy for visitors.
Visitors relish the pleasant weather in summer. They go in huge numbers to enjoy the cold water springs, peaches, apricots, ripe persimmons, and lush green high rise mountains peaks. However, in the winter season, the valley attracts visitors for its unending white snow sheet.
The White Palace is now converted into a hotel and has become a visitor attraction in summer. There are a number of beautiful shops offering multiple items to visitors. The onsite eating place offers an extensive selection of both traditional and non-traditional food. Whenever you go to Swat, it is a highly recommended place to visit. Moreover, you will also enjoy zigzag roads turning into a lush green valley.