Lalgarh Palace

Lalgarh Palace

Lalgarh Palace is a palace in Bikaner in the Indian state of Rajasthan.

The palace was built between 1902 and 1926 according to Rajput, Mughal and European architectural styles. The building was commissioned by the British controlled regency [Patnaik, pages 27 and 58.] for Maharaja Ganga Singh (1881 - 1942) while he was still in his minority as they considered the existing Junagarh palace unsuitable for a modern monarch. Ganga Singh decided that the palace should be named in memory of his father Maharaja Lall Singh [Crites, page 94.]

The complex was designed by the British architect, Sir Samual Swinton Jacob. After a ritual blessing ceremony construction commenced in 1896 on empty land 5 miles [Crites, page 94.] from the existing Junagarh Palace on what is now Dr. Karni Singhji Road. The palace was arranged around two courtyards with the first and most impressive wing, Laxmi Niwas completed in 1902 [Crites, page 94.] . The remaining three wings were completed in stages with final completion of the complex accomplished in 1926. [Crites, page 98.] Lord Curzon was the palace's first notable guest. Ganga Singh was legendary for his shikars (hunts) at his hunting preserve at Gajner, in particular his Imperial Sand Grouse hunts at Christmas. [Patnaik, pages 67.] As a result the palace hosted many guests including Georges Clemenceau in 1920, Queen Mary, King George V, Lord Harding and Lord Irwin.

The palace was originally designed to cost 100,000 rupees [ Retrieved 12 April 2008] due to the planned use of cheaper materials including the suggestion of using stucco instead of carved stone in the construction. Soon however all cost cutting was abandoned and by time of the completion of the first wing the cost had increased to 1 million rupees [ Retrieved 12 April 2008] due to the use of the finest materials including the widespread employment of finely carved stonework.

The three storey complex is coated in red sandstone quarried from the Thar Desert. The complex contains the features considered essental for a late 19th century palace; drawing rooms, smoking rooms, guest suites, several grand halls, lounges, cupolas, pavilions, including a dining room which could seat 400 diners. The complex features magnificent pillars, elaborate fire places, Italian colonnades and intricate latticework and filigree work. The Karni Niwas [Crites, page 98.] wing houses the darbar hall and an art deco indoor swimming pool.

In 1972 the Maharaja of Bikaner, Dr. Karni Singh, established the Ganga Singhji Charitable Trust. He endowed a part of Lalgarh Palace to be used in service of the trust. Two wings were converted into independent hotels with the income from the Lallgarh hotel used to support the trust.

At present the palace houses the following:
* The Shri Sadul Museum [Crites, page 98.] which is located in the west wing which also contains the fourth largest private library in the world. The museum is open from 10:00AM to 5:00PM on all weekdays except on Sunday.
* In one wing the private home of the Bikaner Royal Family.
* The Lallgarh Palace Hotel. This is a luxury hotel operated by the WelcomHeritage Group.
* The Laxmi Niwas Palace. This is a luxury hotel, owned by Golden Triangle Fort & Palace P. Ltd.



*cite book|author=Crump, Vivien; Toh, Irene| title= Rajasthan| location=London| publisher=Everyman Guides|origdate=1996| format = hardback| id = ISBN 1-85715-887-3| pages = 400 pages
*cite book|author=Michell, George; Martinelli, Antonio| title=The Palaces of Rajasthan| origdate = 2005| publisher=Frances Lincoln| location=London| id = ISBN 978-0711225053| pages = 271 pages
*cite book|author= Crites, Mitchell Shelby; Nanji, Ameeta|title= India Sublime – Princely Palace Hotels of Rajasthan| location=New York| publisher=Rizzoli| origdate=2007|format = hardback| id = ISBN-13 978-0-8478-2979-9| pages = 272 pages
*cite book|author=Patnaik, Naveen|title= A Desert Kingdom – The Rajputs of Bikaner|location=London|publisher=Weidenfeld and Nicolson|origdate=1990|format = hardback| id = No known ISBN| pages = 120 pages

External links

* [] Homepage of the Lallgarh Palace Hotel.
* [] Homepage of the Laxmi Niwas Palace Hotel.

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