Magazine of Hospitality,Aviation,Travel & Tourism

 

[ Founder: Late Mr. L.K.Bakhshi ]

Vol.18-Issue-06Registration No.RNI-69312/98

Alwar Bagh

Alwar Bagh resort is equipped with 32- air-conditioned luxury rooms, clustered in Villas and Haveli, Multi cuisine restaurant, swimming pools located amidst lush green gardens offering a panoramic view of the natural surroundings, amusement park for children and a conference hall. Rajasthani folk dances and songs are organized every evening. The banqueting facilities are extended on a defined area for wedding functions, parties and picnics. Spa facilities include Body Therapies, Hand & Foot Care and Face Vitality & Body Polishes which bring a sense of well-being and relaxation.

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Guest Column

 

Bikaner -The Desert Town

 

 

 

 

 

          

 

    By: Sapana Sharma               

 

  

 Bikaner-the desert town in the north of  Rajasthan was founded by Rao Bika. Bika  was the son of Rao Jodha, the founder  of Jodhpur. Being stronger and able  amongst his brothers, Bika was  perceived as a threat to them. Rao  Jodha gave his son Bika a small army and  sent him away to establish his own  kingdom. Bika chose this arid land which  later came to be known as Bikaner, after  his name.
The imposing Junagarh Fort in Bikaner was built by Raja Rai Singh, a contemporary of Akber. The foundation of the fort was laid in 1588 and the work was completed in 1594. The fort having circumference of 986 meters, houses 37 palaces, temples and pavilions in its precincts. Unlike many other forts built on the hilltop for security and vigil, Junagargh fort is on the ground level. A moat was constructed around the fort as a security cordon. The fort is one of its kinds, which remained unconquered. The main entrance to the fort is through Suraj Pol.

The fort complex that houses palaces  built by successive rulers is an  architectural marvel. The places within  the fort are on southern side. An array
of kiosks and balconies embellish the  fort. The important feature of this fort is  magnificent stone carving. The fort is  adorned with gigantic columns, arches  and graceful screens. Exquisitely built in  red sandstone and marble, the palaces  are ornate with impressive mirror work,  carving and beautiful paintings. Among  the magnificent palaces are Anup Mahal, Phool Mahal, Rang Mahal and Ganga Niwas. Anup Mahal recreates the pietra dura inlay preferred by the Mughals at less expense by simply creating the look without the actual use of expensive marble or semi precious stones. The large door of Anup Mahal has fine orientation. Frescoes on the walls still have the originality of design. Phool Mahal is elaborately decorated with inset mirror work. Har Mandir is the majestic chapel where royal family worshipped the gods and goddesses. Royal weddings and birth were celebrated here. There is a 500 years old idol of Radha and Lord Krishna. A huge gold plated swing dedicated to Lord Krishna and bearing idols of Gopies decorates the palace. It was so machinated that when the swing was in operation, the metallic idols of Gopies revolved around signifying their dance with Lord Krishna. A part of the fort has been converted into a museum. The museum houses invaluable miniature paintings and collection of Rajput weapons. An old WWI biplane presented to Maharaja Ganga Singh by the British has been kept in the museum. This is believed to be one of the two models in the world.

 Three kilometres north of the city  centre is Lalgarh. Built in red sandstone,  the palace was built by Maharaja Ganga  Singh in memory of his father Maharaja  Lal Singh. The palace was designed by  Sir.Swinton Jacob. Lalgarh Palace now a  heritage hotel is said to be one of the  most exquisite of Rajput Palaces. No  account of Bikaner is complete without  the mention of illustrious ruler of  Maharaja Ganga Singh. He was astute administrator and most enlightened ruler of his time. He transformed the topography of Bikaner with the Gang Canal, which brought the water of Sutlej River to Ganga Nagar. Gajner by the side of a lake is another beautiful palace.

Not only are the palaces inside the fort are decorated but even the sanctum of Karni Mata, the presiding deity of the house of Bikaner has been lavished with the same beauty. The temple of Karni Mata is located at Deshnok, 32 kms on Bikaner-Jodhpur Road. The temple offers protection to mice for the popularly held belief that those who serve Karni Mata are born in her refuge as mice. There are thousands of holy mice seen around in the temple and one does not sense any kind of smell. It is also believed that if you happen to spot a white mouse, any wish taken is fulfilled. Devotees feed rats here and seek the blessings of Karni Mata.

Bikaner's fort, palaces, temples, bazaars and havelis are a living manifestations of its cultiral hertage. Some of these palaces have been converted into finest hotels that give you experience of royal comfort and lifestyle The spectacular Camel Festival in January every year makes Bikaner famous for the best riding camels in the world. Camel races and camel dances are the part of the celebration. Gangaur Festival in April is dedicated to Goddess Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva. Grand processions of the deity accompanied by dancing women are a part of eighteen-day celebration.

The turbaned men with proud moustaches and veiled beauties, ancient relics of glorious past and the melodies that drift in the air, takes you to the magnificence of a bygone era. Bikaner is one of the stone-sculpted cities of Rajasthan where romance of the desert overwhelms. Junagarh Fort is an added attraction to the city, which invites foreign

Sapana Sharma is a freelance writer

 
 


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