Laxmi Nivas Palace - royal indulgence in Bikaner!

So how does it feel like living in a real Palace? I was intrigued by this question, and it became even more pertinent after a chance visit to the Laxmi Nivas Palace dinner on a cold winter night.

So once my stay at Narendra Bhawan got over, I decided to extend my stay in city and moved to this heritage hotel, which was once the home to the King of Bikaner. The last few days in the city had been magical for me, I could feel Bikaner become my muse while I painted her naked beauty through the canvas of my pictures (read: Rampuria havelis of Bikaner). The transition was smooth, as I was already in love with the place and spending the last few days in a palace seemed like a fitting end this is desert sojourn.

review laxmi nivas palace bikaner
Sunset at Laxmi Nivas Palace, Bikaner

review blog laxmi nivas palace bikaner
Laxmi Nivas Palace from the front lawn

The fact that King George V and Queen Mary of Great Britain had been here, among a host of many other kings and queens, made this stay even more interesting. This is what their reporter had to say about the their stay here.

"The Laxmi Niwas Palace is the most perfect modern building in the Indo-Saracenic style in India - an entirely graceful pile of carved red sandstone, nobly proportioned and harmonising entirely with its environment. Their Royal Highnesses have not been more splendidly housed since they landed in Bombay".

I had a ground floor room, which opened on one side to the central courtyard and on the other side to the front lawn. I could enter and exit the hotel without even going through the lobby - made me feel like a celebrity with quite a bit of privacy.

review blog laxmi nivas palace bikaner
One side of my room

review blog laxmi nivas palace bikaner
The other side which gave me even more privacy :)

What I loved at Laxmi Nivas Palace

The room was surprisingly simple for a place, but it had its own charm. The ceiling was hand painted with local motifs, and they had remained unchanged from the time the palace was inaugurated in the early 20th century during the reign of Maharaja Ganga Singhji. The bathroom was huge, almost as big as the bedroom, and looked straight out of a European mansion.

The most interesting part of the palace is the central courtyard, which is also the hub of all activities. You ca eat all your meals here, sit in the winter sun and warm yourself up, and in the evening enjoy the cultural dance performances, which take place everyday. All the restaurants, bar, as well as the billiards room are around the courtyard.

review blog laxmi nivas palace bikaner
The central courtyard - the hub of all activities

review blog laxmi nivas palace bikaner
A hallway in the lovely afternoon light

Sunset on terrace

On the left edge of the courtyard is another relic from the past - a lift from a bygone era, which still runs and takes you up on the second floor. There are mirrors as well as seats, just like the royal old days - absolutely charming.

review blog laxmi nivas palace bikaner
That's me at the terrace :)

The best part of the palace, however, is located on the terrace on top. This is where you need to be, if you want to enjoy the sunset of your life. I went one step further, and climbed up the chattri right above the entrance (not accessible to guests), and for the next couple of hours I was in a magical land, away from all distractions of life.

In fact I loved the sunset there so much that I ended up making a video about it as well. Enjoy :)



Food

Though I simply loved the Rajasthani thali for lunch, I had little else at the hotel, as I was busy exploring the local Bikaneri food in the city.

Though it's unfair, I can't help but compare the food here with Narendra Bhawan, and the latter is a clear winner. However, if you are a guest at Laxmi Nivas Palace, you can easily go for meals to Narendra Bhawan as well as both the properties are owned by the same person - the dynamic Manvendra Singh.

Senile indulgence

In my opinion, the opulence of a real old palace is simply unmatched, no matter what you build now. When there is silence around, you can actually feel the walls talk to you (no, I am not senile, yet), and when you lie down on the bed and look up at the ceiling, you know you are looking at the exact same thing that another king did, when he was resting here. Something connects.

review blog laxmi nivas palace bikaner
On the way up...exploring all nooks and corners of the place :)

review blog laxmi nivas palace bikaner
Catching some pigeons in flight

My stay here was pure indulgence. I had no reason to be here, in fact I had self invited myself just because of my love for all things old. From back-to-back four cups of delicious cups of ginger tea, to special meals prepared purely to fulfil my royal fantasies, to getting access to inaccessible areas under the pretence of photography (I am being a bit harsh on myself here), I did it all and loved it all. The fact that I was alone was a great opportunity to meet new people and make new friends, as I usually do, but this time I didn't do much of that. I lived like a decadent king, sans the decadence.

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Disclaimer: I stayed at Laxmi Nivas Palace as their guest. However, all views expressed are my own and based on my own personal experiences.

Comments

  1. Amazing Palace.
    Beautiful photos.

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  2. There's something about staying in a place where you know kings and queens slept! What an awesome place. Aside from the great photos you got, you also have the memory of staying in a palace that holds so much history and stories of its own.

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    1. Absolutely Laura! It's quite a feeling to stay in a room used by Kings and Queens more than hundred years back :)

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  3. Hi Siddhartha,
    Doing good obviously (Travelling around the world ) and exploring new place always fascinates some people (including me) and they often forgetting the hard work behind it.So I really appreciate your work . This is the best property in Bikaner I ever been. Giving the exact felling of belongs to royal family. Keep sharing and posting .
    Regards

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    1. It's indeed a lovely property and certainly quite a majestic one too!

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  4. Turning a heritage building, especially as marvelous as Laxmi Nivas Palace, into a hotel usually guarantees its preservation -- provided the management runs the hotel with the emphasize of its old charm. In Indonesia I sense that more and more people are becoming more aware of this, hence the growing appreciation toward heritage hotels.

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    1. That's so true Bama...I am also all for it. In fact for many places this is the only way to survive and I really wish the dying havelis in the old town Bikaner could also adopt this model, at least as heritage home-stays.

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  5. Hi Siddhartha!
    First of all I would like to thank you for sharing such a wonderful blog on Bikaner which is one of the beautiful city popular for it's heritage, Desert and also Karni Mata temple. And yes Laxmi Nivas Palace is really very beautiful palace with it's architecture. It is must visit place in Bikaner.

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  6. My heart leapt into my mouth for a moment - the hotel shares some of its name plus the historical Indian palace aspect with a place I once stayed many years ago, and was one of the most awfully run places I'd ever stayed. Very happy to discover on reading that this is not at all the same place, but one that is located in a similarly historic and beautiful palace but in this case managed and run so much more professionally! Looks just my kind of place too!

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  7. Holy cow!!!! India looks breathtaking but a real palace?! So beyond stunning!

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  8. Laxmi Nivas is indeed a vintage and royal place to stay in Bikaner. The walls of the palace seem to whisper the stories of the royal family. It must indeed have been a thrilling experience to stay in a place where once the King stayed. Loved the terrace and the video too.

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  9. This was a wonderfully written post and you managed to capture the beauty of the setting really well with your shots, and really, that sunrise is incredible. Certainly, India has some of the most spectacular and reasonably price hotels I've ever seen. I loved the notion that you were looking at the same spot a king did many decades ago. Thoroughly enjoyed

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  10. Enjoyed reading your blog and it had been memorable experience of yours stayed at the palace where kings and queens lived many years ago. Beautiful Palace photos as well.

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  11. That architecture is magnificent. I had never heard of this palace before, and the photos you took make it look absolutely gorgeous. Luxurious too, quite a destination.

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  12. The Palace looks so charming, love the architecture! The terrace is serene, those beautiful arches are just amazing, but when I've seen that courtyard with tables and a fountain, I was definitely hooked. By the way, great photos! :)

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  13. I cannot believe you stayed here!! The architecture is amazing. I cannot believe that Queen Mary stayed here. I love staying places where historical figures once were. I think it's so cool.

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  14. Today many tourists want to enjoy luxurious services during holiday. They want to feel Royal heritage culture according history of Rajasthan. There are many hotels which are providing luxury facilities with Royal welcome in Bikaner.
    Luxury Hotels in Bikaner

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  15. Nice Blog
    Thank you for sharing valuable information
    The Park Paradise Hotel is among the best Luxury Hotel in Bikaner that will provide you the unique luxury experience in Bikaner, India.

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  16. Hey Sid,
    It seems like you had a lot of fun at Laxmi Niwas. I haven't been there yet but got a chance to visit Narendra Bhawan. With some research I got to know that Laxmi Niwas and Narendra Bhawan are deeply related. I am looking forward to visit there too. Thank you so much for these insights.

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