An old royal abode standing near the Thar Desert, photos in Gajner Palace, Bikaner is an inspiring experience. Standing at the edge of a beautiful lake, this is a typical Rajput mansion that is ornately carved from dark red sandstone. As soon as you drive through the gates of this beautiful palace, you will be enveloped in an ambience that is reminiscent of the bygone era. One of the best-known places to visit in Bikaner, the palace perfectly showcases the magnanimous culture and many shades of history that colour the entire state of Rajasthan. Today, Gajner Palace has been transformed into a heritage hotel in Bikaner where you can book a stay to enjoy the royal hospitality or simply visit to explore the fabulous setting with nature walks, boat rides, desert safaris, and sanctuary dinners.
1. The History of Gajner Palace, Bikaner
Bestowed with architectural elegance and mesmerizing landscapes, the magnanimity of which can hardly be captured in photos, Bikaner’s Gajner Palace was built by His Highness Maharaja Sir Ganga Singh and is located a mere 30-minutes’ drive from the city of Bikaner. The Maharaja used the palace as a summer home and it was often used as a hunting lodge during Edwardian times, where the Maharaja of Bikaner would entertain his guests. According to its history, Gajner Palace has played host to the Prince of Wales, Lord Mountbatten, Lord Elwin, and many more dignitaries. Though the palace has been refurbished, major aspects are still preserved in their old-fashioned ways to offer guests and visitors an authentic palace experience.
2. The Heritage Hotel in Bikaner
The Gajner Palace has four distinct wings – Dungar Niwas, Mandir Chowk, Gulab Niwas, and Champa Niwas. It is in Dungar Niwas that 13 suites and 32 rooms have been built, preserving the grandeur of the palace. Covering an area of 600 acres, the palace is also the largest hotel in the world in terms of area. With elaborately detailed architecture and elegant furniture gracing the structure, the Gajner Palace Hotel is a popular destination for tourists from all over the world. This lakeside retreat also offers people the opportunity to go on game drives in the adjoining wildlife. Gajner Palace, Bikaner offers the perfect escape for a vacation where you can experience a slice of luxury amidst the landscapes of an erstwhile royal abode.
3. How to Reach the Palace
While you can find the remnants of a historic railway station right there in the palace, the working and operational Gajner Railway Station is actually quite nearby! Gajner Palace is located 3 kilometres away from the railway station, so you can take a taxi or auto-rickshaw which you will find easily outside the railway station. On the other hand, if you are travelling from Bikaner to Gajner Palace, you can either take a bus from Bikaner Junction or a taxi from the city centre. The bus journey, however, may take upwards of 3 hours (depending on the traffic), so it is better if you plan it out beforehand.
4. Gajner Palace Bikaner: Entry and Fees
If you do not plan to stay at the Gajner Palace Hotel as a guest, you can still visit the palace and explore the grandeur it exudes. While guests can explore the palace as they enjoy the luxury and hospitality offered at any time, the palace is open from 9 am to 8 pm on all days for visitors. To explore Bikaner’s Gajner Palace, entry fees of Rs. 100 per person is applicable.
5. The Best Time to Visit Gajner Palace, Bikaner
Rajasthan experiences extreme heat during the summers. That is one of the reasons why most of the destinations in the state are best visited during other seasons. Similarly, visiting Bikaner and the Gajner Palace during the summers may not be the best idea, as you would be unable to bask in the magnificence of the panoramic landscapes that surround the palace. However, if you find yourself able to stand the heat, you might just find some great off-season deals during the summer months. While you do have better weather during the monsoons, sudden and unpredictable showers may hamper your sightseeing plans. That being said, if you want to enjoy the beautiful surroundings and grounds of the Gajner Palace, the time from late October to early March is the most ideal.
6. Some Interesting Facts for You
- In the palace, you will find some mounted heads of the animals that the Maharaja hunted during the times when the palace was used as a hunting lodge.
- The Gajner Lake is a magnet for sandgrouse; consequently, the forest of Gajner was transformed into a famous shooting reserve when the Gajner Palace was built on the shores of the lake.
- Maharaja Sir Ganga Singh’s grandson, Maharaja Karni Singh, later converted the hunting preserve into a wildlife sanctuary, which became a haven for endangered antelope like the blackbuck, blue bull, etc.
- The Mirage restaurant, today serving delicious Indian, Mughlai, and continental dishes to guests, used to be the ballroom for the Maharaja and his guests.
- The Imperial Terrace is an extension of the Mirage and overlooks the lake and sanctuary. At the Imperial Terrace folk and tribal dance performances are regularly held for the guests.
- The Mrigtrishna Bar continues the theme of the desert, but a lesser-known fact is that the name of the bar, “Mrigtrishna” also translates to “mirage” in English.
- The Maharaja once hosted an Imperial Sandgrouse Shooting at Gajner Palace during the Christmas season. In the Indian social calendar of the time, this was the most sought-after invitation.
- In 1922, the Bikaner Palace and Gajner Palace were connected to each other by rail. It is the remnants of this railway station that can still be seen at Gajner Palace.
- There are several food stalls and craft stalls in the palace that you should not miss out on.
So, whether you are checking out the image gallery or going through the hotel’s reviews, that Gajner Palace is a destination worth exploring is a given! Experience the old-time history and immerse yourself in the opulence of Gajner Palace. Customize your Bikaner tour package to ensure that it includes some time to allow you to experience the lavish comfort of this destination.