Bijolai Palace – An Oasis in Jodhpur

Thursday, Apr 30, 2015, 15:30 Hrs [IST]
By NBI Bureau

 

 

B1-900x450Help of google map is a must for travelers searching of this Oasis in desert at the outskirts of Sun City Jodhpur. Just type the name, ‘Bijolai Palace’ and the beautiful voice of an unknown woman will guide you to the heaven.

A right turn from Chopasani Road on a spiraling rural road along the Kayalana lake in the middle of night can be a bit scary; but ride is enjoyable for sure. The wild boars still roam around in the area and you can easily make out why royals of Jodhpur chose this place for their summer palace and no wonder one can easily see scores of pictures of hunt and pig sticking in records of erstwhile Jodhpur State.
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But surprise hits you in the morning on your way back to the city, when you find out that lady guiding you on the phone missed the right turn from Akhey Singh Circle to reach the Bijolai palace more conveniently through a wider and better road.

Anyways, reaching in the middle of night has one advantage that you can see the opulence of the well-lit Bijolai palace, otherwise one may miss. Built in Red Sandstone the building is one of the marvel of its kind as it is water self-sustainable palace with its traditional harvesting system still working and the Bijolai lake built by Maharaja Takht Singh.

Currently, Tree House Palace Hotel is running this property with 30 elegant rooms. The dining hall with lake view and open terrace overlooking the Bijolai lake and temple atop the rocky hill across the lake gives it all perfect ingredient of creating royal ambiance in rustic settings.
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Afternoon spent looking at the ducks and resident cormorant fishing out their food from the Bijolai lake is a view worth spending hours especially with beautiful company and tinkling wine glasses while the torch lit terrace atop the dining hall gives a perfect setting for a gala dinner.

This Summer Palace was built by Maharaja Takht Singh (1819-73) of Jodhpur. Maharaja Takht Singh ascended to the throne of Jodhpur on October 29, 1843 through adoption from Ahmednagar; and married 30 wives in his life time. He was succeeded by his son Maharaja Jaswant Singh II.

Third son of Maharaja Takht Singh – Sir Pratap, Maharaja of Idar had an illustrious career in British Army and was considered close of ‘Queen Victoria’. Sir Pratap served four Maharaja of Jodhpur and been regent for two of them.
With Pig Sticking on the horse back being the favorite past time of Royals of Jodhpur including Sir Pratap, the Summer Palace at Bijolai, for sure, has heard many evening talks on hunt and horses in company of wine and women. The friend list of Sir Pratap includes Lord Curzon, then Governor General of India, himself.

Open terrace, lush green garden and old style carved arches make this opulent palace, in the midst of wilderness, make Bijolai Palace irresistible.
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The water conscious design of the palace provides year round supply of fresh water using its water harvesting system built with traditional know-how. Rebuilt under the close and personal supervision of Maharaja Gaj Singh of Jodhpur and Maharani Hemlata Raje, the input and advice from famous hotelier in Rajasthan Gaj Singh of Alsisar is imprinted everywhere in resurrecting the old summer palace into a World Water Retreat and headquarters of Jal Bhagirathi foundation.

Jal Bhagirathi foundation is a trust founded on January 15, 2002 by Maharaj Gaj Singh of Jodhpur to provide enabling environment in which communities have access to safe drinking water through use of tradition knowledge and appropriate new age technology.

Alsisar expertise in planning and restoration of heritage structure and his hotel chain use to run the guest house of Jal Bhagirathi Foundation at Bijolai Palace before the Tree House Hotel took it over.

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The mystery that lives on .. in Jodhpur

Mehrangarh Fort
Mehrangarh fort – Photo Source: Commons.wikipedia.org

In the land of mystery

2015 AD

 

Drought archaically means ‘thirst’. Google calls it “a prolonged period of abnormally low rainfall, leading to shortage of water”.

Drought strikes Marwar (Jodhpur) time and again. People living here don’t have enough water to drink leave alone to bathe and take care of their sanitary needs. They live in extreme conditions. It is a disheartening spectacle.

It in indeed unfortunate for me to touch upon this rather melancholic topic, however heart-wrenching it may be, it is somewhat imperative for all of us to be aware of the environment around us and to give back to it whenever and wherever possible.

Besides what Science and Geography can explain, let me narrate a much believed anecdote that seems to have landed this land of Marwar into so much trouble. This story is interesting when you relate it to the events of drought that this place has borne for hundreds of years!

The mystery lives on…

“In 1459, Roa Jodha, the founder of Jodhpur (Also named after him), a Rajput chief of the Rathore clan decided to build the utterly famous and unassailable Mehrangarh fort, endeavouring to define the prowess of the dry, arid land of Jodhpur. As the labourers began work on the supposed 400 Mt. high cliff called Bhaurcheeria (the mountain of Birds) to build the great fort, the supposed quiet and secluded place was suddenly flooded with a lot of noise disturbing the meditation of the Hermit, Cheeria Nath Ji, the sole human occupant of the hill. Unaware of the Chief’s plans, the hermit was rather annoyed with the trespassers’ derision of Serenity and pronounced drought. Thereafter the region came to be known as Marwar”

Several hundred years after this supposed anecdote, people of Marwar continue to stare at the sky mouth agape, hoping and praying for some merciful rain, but in vain.

The Story continues…

PS: Well, even today the fort is home to thousands of birds, particularly the Cheel or Kite, the sacred bird of the Rathore clan.

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Marwar Paintings – The Royal Art!

India Travel Blog Jodhpur
The Maharaja and his many Romances!

“A Painting is immortal, it lives through generations, it lives through battles, it lives through glory and grief, and it lives forever!”

Well-built valiant men adorning prominent whiskers and funnel shaped turbans, dainty yet lavishly & colorfully draped women by their side are perhaps one of the most fascinating paintings that are admired by an art lover. These are the collective paintings of Marwar that are preserved and displayed by the Royal family of Jodhpur at the Mehrangarh fort. The skilful use of colour is exuberant, the strokes are delicately impressive and the finishes of the Marwari paintings epitomize royalty.

Rajasthan is a true wonderland. Though most of us are so tempted to think of a dry arid desert when we think of Rajasthan, perhaps what we miss out is that this land is the land of the grandest Kings & Queens who have made our history much beyond a set of recorded facts. They have added Grandeur and a larger than life spectrum to the Historic landscape. Their stories are bound to interest people from all demographics and lifestyle.

How did the Maharajas live? What did they adorn? What did they eat? How did they fight wars? How did they look when they rode fearlessly across territories and difficult terrain? How did they Romance with their wives and many mistresses? How did the women folk look like? Were they physically gratifying to look at? Did they wear bright colours? What jewelry did they adorn? How did the Maharajas entertain themselves with Music and Dance? How did they command their court-men? How did the Mughal Sultanate influence the style of these paintings? Did the original Rajput art fight back its existence?

How passionately did they get their most talented artists to capture all of these mesmerizing moments so that those moments could surpass space and time and become immortal?

This post is a mere teaser brought to you by Bijolai Palace, A Treehouse Palace Hotel in Jodhpur. We know how valuable these paintings rather how invaluable. You will find photographs of a few of this fabulous work of art displayed all around the Palace. We made extensive efforts to seek special permission from the curator of Mehrangarh Fort to display the immortal.

Now it is your turn to witness the beauty and finesse of the Marwar Artists at Jodhpur.

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The Royal Entertainment
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The Sirohi Influence of Maharaja Jaswant Singh I on accord of his Sirohi Princess
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Royal Polo Match

 

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