Lallgarh Palace

By Sanjeev Nayyar esamskriti@suryaconsulting.net | 2013

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Ever since I saw the movie Band Baja Barat (Yash Chopra Films) had this dream of visiting Lallgarh Palace where the movie was shot. Like the Umaid Bhawan it is huge but different in many ways, both have a grandeur of their own. The palace has 3 parts. One is the residence of the Maharaja of Bikaner. 2 is Lallgarh Palace Hotel i.e. run by a Trust. 3 is Lakshmi Vilas Hotel. U see front view of Lallgarh Palace Hotel with lush green lawns.

Front view of Lakshmi Vilas Hotel. Looks magnificent. Has a huge lawn in front. This collection focuses on Lallgarh Palace. The palace is made in red-sandstone. It was built by Maharaja Ganga Singhji in the memory of his father, Maharaj Sri Lall Singhji in 1902.

A side view of the Lakshmi Vilas Hotel. To its left is entrance to Lallgarh Palace. It is essentially one palace divided into many parts. The Palace was designed by Col Swinton Jacobs, an Engineer who worked with Jaipur State. He mixed Rajput, Mughal and European styles of architecture to produce a palace i.e. dignified and pleasing to the eye.

Just outside the Lallgarh Palace entrance that you saw in pic 1 is a Yagyashala. It was constructed in 1920-21 for the performance of religious ceremonies by the Royal Family of Bikaner. Read more in pic.

On completion of 50 years of rule Maharaja Ganga Singhji was weighed in gold that was used for public charities. U see the structure in which the Yagyashala took place. There seems to be a science and reason for its shape and design. Wish someone could enlighten.

Did trip in February 2013. Reached about 7.30ish, was still hazy then. You see the eastern side of the palace. This was the traditional entrance of the palace as we shall see later. In this collection tried to cover palace exterior, interior, rooms, corridors etc. This side is covered with trees thus not a clear view. Best time to click pics of eastern side is between say 9 to 10.30 am in winters.

On top of the main entrance are two chhatris (correct if wrong) as seen in previous pic. This is the second one against the rising sun. Through the gaps you can see other parts of the palace. Climbed to the second floor thru numerous stairs to reach here. Gave a great view of the entire palace complex.

At many ends of the palace u see Jharokhas like this. The intricately dexterous carvings on red stone are the hallmark of great local craftsmen. This palace is an unmatched jewel in the Thar Desert.

A view of the top part of the palace. Left of pic below is a huge garden that you shall see later. Right of pic behind that is the main entrance to the Lallgarh Palace that you saw in pic no 1. In front is fort like design. Incorporated Rajput and European styles seamlessly.

Another view of the palace. White door that you see on left of pic takes you to rooms, in front is a open courtyard.

Close up of a jharoka (correct if wrong). Garden that you see behind is what you saw in pic 1. Pink structure in the background is the Sri Sardul Museum where royal costumes and a salon of Bikaner State Railway are displayed.

Next two pics are on eastern side of palace, intent is to give you a peep into design.

A window on first floor of palace. Note the design, intricate work, how it allows wind to pass through thus keeps the palace cool.

This is main entrance to the palace from eastern side. Hotel staff told me in earlier days that Maharaja would sit on an elephant and walk thru this gate.

When the Maharaja entered thru gate he had to cross one more gate before he entered a huge garden called Marble Chowk. Left of pic is impressive Durbar Hall that you shall see later. Note the intricate work and design of entrance, arches and above gate.

An early morning view of the splendid Marble Chowk. Structure right in front is back side of Lakshi Niwas Palace Hotel, left side is house of current Maharaja, other sides are Lallgarh Palace. On four sides of the Marble Chowk is a provision for water fountains. At night fountains must look WOW.

In centre is marble chowk with very well laid out and maintained garden on all sides. In front is east side entrance that you saw two pics ago, clicked this pic from western end of palace. Hotel staff said peacocks move around freely in palace lawns although I was not fortunate to see them that day. God is kind, saw them in Jaisalmer.

A close up of the eastern side entrance that opens out into Marble Chowk. Note the design and architecture. Can only admire Indian craftsmen, makes me feel proud of India. As a nation, every Indian needs to market the country better so that more tourists, local and foreigners, enjoy the beauty that Rajasthan/India offers.

Southern side houses the current Maharaja''s family. Pic against rising sun so not come as well as I would like.

Along with exterior we also present close ups of palace exteriors as you see in this pic.

Close up of Northern side structure. U walk into marble chowk from this entrance because current day entrance is from Northern side that you saw in pic 1.

Early morning sun''s rays on the northern side entrance to Marble Chowk. Impact of rising or setting sun on red sandstone gives it a different, lovely color.

Intricate work on western side part of the palace. Note the fort design above. To my mind Bikaner is an under promoted destination. Friends living in Jodhpur have visited Bikaner many times but never visited the o/s Junagarh Fort. After seeing pics of fort say will surely visit. To see pics of Junagarh Fort Click here

Some more intricate work on palace exterior.

Main entrance to Lallgarh Palace, what you saw in pic 1 was a side view.

We enter the palace now. At entrance is this brass image of Lord Ganesha. Note the mirror behind.

U walk into a corridor and then enter this courtyard which has got some beautiful paintings on its walls, that you shall see later.

Paintings that adorn corridor wall. Loved the long corridor with arches, spotlessly clean.

A close up of arch with royal emblem of the State of Bikaner in the centre.

Another painting.

Open and long corridors that run the length of the halls and rooms.

This corridor is on the first floor. Covered corridors as this one are mounted with hunting Trophies, do see the corridor that leads to the Durbar Hall, very impressive.

One of the suites on the first floor. Did not feel like leaving this room. Spent a few minutes trying to visualize how it must have been when occupied by the Maharaja esp. before India got independence! WOW.

Deer mounted on corridor that leads you to the Durbar Hall. Had tiger skins as well. 30 odd kms from Bikaner is the famous and one of its type Karni Mata Mandir. It is the only temple in the world where rats are worshipped. To see pics of temple Click here

This is another room. Rooms combine old world charm with modern amenities. Saw many many rooms to click pics, must say all very well maintained. Old city of Bikaner has some lovely havelis. Was told they are closed since owners live elsewhere. Do give it a look, was short of time so missed.

Durbar Hall is a huge wall with hunting Trophies mounted on the walls, tigers and deers. Palace exterior is Rajput style but interior is completely European. To see pics of Durbar Hall in Junagarh Fort and arms on display there Click here

Tigers and deer trophies mounted on walls of Durbar Hall. The hotel has a swimming pool which was under renovation when I went. Also visit the one of its type Camel Breeding Farm and Research Institute, some 8 kms from the town.

Close up of tiger. Observe the face closely, looks live to me. eSamskriti has not accepted any fees or hospitality to showcase Lallgarh Palace which is a heritage hotel today. Our aim is to showcase India, promote tourism. More tourists means more economic activity, employment for local population and sale of local handicrafts etc.

Another painting n vase that adorns the corridors of the lovely Lallgarh Palace. To know more about Lallgarh Palace visit Click here

A close up of the Lakshmi Vilas Hotel entrance. Loved the palace architecture, design, intricate work. Do visit Bikaner lovely place. Also visit Sri Sardul Museum that is part of the Lallgarh Palace complex to see royal salon of Bikaner State Railway and costumes Click here