Tuesday 17 January 2017

Day 5 -- Hanumangarh to Bikaner via Kalibangan

We had plans of starting early so that we can reach Bikaner early after visiting Kalibangan. Unfortunately, the area around Hanumangarh and Kalibangan was fogged out with zero visibility.

We waited till almost 9 AM and then slowly started moving. The visibility was still almost zero meters.
We took little more than one hour to drive a distance of  35 kilometers because of bad visibility due to fog. As we arrived at Kalibangan, it was another disappointment. Most of the artifacts from excavations were removed into the museum, and the excavation site was covered with polyethylene, and there was literally nothing there to see.
The museum on its own was closed for long duration for renovations. We walked around the site for some time and then headed towards Bikaner.

Kalibangan  Excavation  Site

Kalibangan Excavation Site

11:30 AM We crossed Suratgarh
1:40 PM We were in Bikaner. While searching the internet, we had found that the fort closes quite early, 4 PM, I think. So we decided to first visit Fort and then go and check into our hotel.
We did not know that the Fort has facilities to park inside the premises, so we parked near the court parking and then walked to the place. Actually, there is sufficient parking within the fort premises so one can safely park there.

Rao Bikaji, the son of Rao Jodhaji, established the kingdom of Bikaner. He founded the city of Bikaner in 1488 AD. He constructed his fort at Rattighati, now known as Bikaji Ki Tekari and brought the heirlooms of the Rathore Dynasty from Jodhpur to Bikaner, giving up the claim to the Jodhpur throne.
Foundation of this magnificent and imposing fort was laid by Maharaja Rai Singhji, the sixth ruler of Bikaner in 1589 AD. The fort has been the residence of 20 rulers of Bikaner till 1902 AD. Many important places were added to the original by various rulers.

    • Karan Mahal : Built by Maharaja Gaj Singhji, the 14th ruler (1745 AD to 1787 AD)
    • Anoop Mahal: Built by Maharaja Surat Singhji, the 17th ruler (1766 to 1828 AD)
    • Gaj Mandir: Built by Maharaja Gaj Singhji, the 14th ruler (1745 to 1787 AD)
    • Phul Mahal: Built by Maharaja Gaj Singhji, the 14th ruler (1745 to 1787 AD)
    • Chattar Mahal: Built by Maharaja Dungar Singhji, the 20th ruler (1872 to 1887 AD)
  • Maharaja Anoop Singhji, the 10th ruler of Bikaner brought statues of various Gods and Goddesses from the Deccan during his campaigns with Aurangzeb and also brought Sanskrit manuscripts and other valuable books.
  • During the tenure of Maharaja Ganga Singhji, Ganga Niwas Durbar Hall was built by the Regency Council in 1896 AD. The Vikram Vilas Durbar Hall was built by Maharaja Ganga Singhji in the year 1935. The Silver Jublee Durbar of Maharaja Ganga Singji's reign was held in Ganga Niwas Durbar Hall in the year 1937.
  • Maharaja Ganga Singhji continued to live at Junagarh fort till 1902 at which time to Regency Council commissioned dSir Samuel Swinton Jacobs to construct the Lalgarh Palace. The window of Maharaja Dungar Singhji, Rajmata Mahtab Kanwarji continued to reside at Dalel Niwas till her demise on 19th November 1959.
  • Maharaja Dr. Karni Singhji, the 23rd ruler, out of his benevolent nature created Maharaja Rai Singhji Trust in 1963 and donated the Junagarh Fort to the trust. Since then the fort has been open to visitors from all over the world.
  • Junagarh Fort has seen many battles and nobody has been able to conquer the fort.

Gallops Restaurant
We finally finished with the fort and crossed the road to grab a bite. We went to Gallops Restaurant and Coffeehouse for a late lunch. Here is my review of the restaurant.

Hotel Laxmi Vilas Palace 

Hotel Laxmi Vilas Palace

Dance Performance
We finally reached our hotel. We were booked for the night in Hotel Laxmi Vilas Palace. Here is my review of the place.

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