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