My next destination was the Lalgarh Palace and Museum, Bikaner. Before embarking on the journey, upon my request,
the cab driver took me to a good Rajasthani restaurant. Hungry and tired, I ate to my heart’s content and was at the palace around half past two.
The palace is now a luxurious hotel and some members of the royal family still stay in parts of this palace. A small portion of the palace, converted into a museum, is open to the public. I had to pay a nominal entry charge to get inside the premises. Visitors could not enter the other parts of the palace, mainly because it has two hotels within the palace. However, looking at the palace from the outside, all I could do was marvel at the beauty of the structure.
The palace is a three-storey building, built entirely in red sandstone. The best thing about the palace is its architecture. It is different, in the sense that it is a mix of Rajput, Mughal and the British architecture. Nothing surprising about it- going by the fact that Sir Swinton Jacob designed the palace during the rule of Maharaja Ganga Singh!
Since I could not go inside the palace, I proceeded to the museum. Here, I could see several artefacts, trousseau and paintings belonging to the royal family. There was a replica of the palace
inside the museum and I learnt that the palace had several drawing rooms, lounges, pavilions, guest rooms, lounges and large dining room, which could hold as many as 400 guests! What a pity that
I missed the chance to explore the inside of the palace!
There is a large library in one part of the museum and it is the fourth largest library in the world. There is also an artefact of the train bogies, used by the royal families. Documents relating to the royal family were on display and the tabloids gave a detailed explanation regarding the historic significance of the rulers of those times.
The royal trousseau, well maintained, was visible through the glass shelves. The pavilions had intricate designs on it and are worth seeing. Royal days’ arms and armaments were also on display here. I could go into the garden, it had beautiful flowering plants, and I could hear the sounds of birds. Oh! That was such a relaxing experience!