My Stay Experience at Narendra Bhawan, Bikaner

Rajasthan means Land of Kings so obviously this translates to Rajasthan is a Land of Palaces! And last weekend I was lucky to experience the lavishness of one such palace. It belonged to the last reigning Maharaja of Bikaner, His Highness Narendra Singhji.

As I stepped in through the arched frames I was welcomed with sights which were a creative mix of traditional antiques and modern curios. The Hotel’s décor reflects the traveler cum nationalist personality of Maharaja of Bikaner, His Highness Narendra Singh. Nothing was matchy matchy yet the coordination of latest and antiques seemed so smooth. While at one end was the bright red piano ‘Edith’ at the other side you will find framed Benarasi prints. Nothing there seemed to fall out of place and the ambiance kind of embraced me very warmly. The beautiful interiors made me wish to live there forever!

Red sand stone facade of Narendra Bhawan

Red sand stone facade of Narendra Bhawan

 

Interiors of Narendra Bhawan

The artifacts and furniture collected over a period of time and none seemed to match or have any similarity just like residences are.

dogs-of-narendra-bhawan-1

History of Bikaner

A little bit of history of city of Bikaner where this majestic hotel Narendra Bahwan is located. This region of Bikaner was earlier known as Jangladesh. Rao Bika, son of Rao Jodha, was the founder of Bikaner. A small family tiff and Rao Bika left his father, the King of Jodhpur to form his own kingdom. With blessings of Karni Mata and under the guidance of his uncle Rawat Kandhal, Rao Bika carved out this kingdom inhabited by Jat clan. The kingdom adopted the name Bikaner after its founder Rao Bika.

After him there have been several upheavals, wars, mutinies, peace treaties through several generations of kings of Bikaner. Most notable among these kings was Maharaja Ganga Singh. During his reign, Bikaner had great socio-political and economic development in every sphere of life. Education, health, sanitation, water supply, power generation and electricity, irrigation, post and telegraph, roads and railways, trade and commerce all flourished. He died in 1943 and in 1947 after the independence of India Sadul Singh acceded Bikaner to India. His son Rao Karni Singh was Member of Parliament 1952 to 1971.

Maharaja Narendra Singh

Narendra Singh, son of Maharaja Karni Singh, was a man of different interests. He left the royal family to live like a commoner and that is why he built this house. He was an animal lover and his house Narendra Bhawan sheltered several cows (500 approx.) in its royal cowshed, the Goshala. He used to call cows by name and they used to come to him. He loved dogs too, yes 86 of them! And the statues of several kinds of dogs in the hotel lobby are a reminder of that. Narendra Singh died at a young age of 57 due to several ailments (1948 – 2003).

Portrait of Young Prince Narendra Singh

Portrait of Young Prince Narendra Singh

My Stay Experience at Narendra Bhawan – The Hotel

We were introduced to various parts of hotel by none other than Manvendra Singh the hotel owner. He explained to us the fine details and different trivia surrounding the life of Maharaja.

Exterior looks grand with red sandstone jaali (Indian lattice work) facades and little balconies with greens. Exteriors are Rajasthani but interior is a different world! They focus is more in the interiors. The foundation of the original building has been left untouched. They built a retaining wall all around the original residence.

Stay Experience at Narendra Bhawan

What was once a Gaushala (cowshed) is now converted to a happening entertainment spot for guests. They have plans to celebrate evenings with Rasa Leela in play (the courtship dance of Lord Krishna) utterly romantic and engaging. An enticing menu of petite collations and beguiling cocktails are presented; designed to flatter the evening, the mood, and you that makes a wonderful stay experience at Narendra Bhawan.

Diwali Chowk

diwali-chowk

The terrace of the original house is the floor of the courtyard, the Diwali Chowk. Courtyards are the major features of most houses of Rajasthan, suits well from both environmental point of view and also social context. Rest of the hotel came up around the original structure without disturbing it. This courtyard is dotted with canopies, fruit trees and low Indian style seating. Here you will be treated to Bikaner Badakhana and Marwari cuisine with the pomp and circumstance that is emblematic of a Royal Bikaner!

Newer portion of the hotel is infused with tastes and choices of Maharaja Narendra Singh. The tiles at the entrance in verandah (indoor-outdoor easy lounging area) have a geometric pattern with rich colors, imported Richmond tiles. The artifacts and furniture collected over a period of time and none seemed to match or have any similarity just like residences are.

Manvendra Singh explaining the hotel to his guests.

Manvendra Singh explaining the hotel to his guests.

According to Manvendra Singh this is the picture that defines the hotel: “A coat, the painting reminds me of travel by someone with eclectic taste! That is what this hotel is all about.”

Narendra Bhawan Paintings

According to Manvendra Singh this is the picture that defines the hotel: “A coat, the painting reminds me of travel by someone with eclectic taste! That is what this hotel is all about.”

Mad Hatter – The Bake House of Narendra Bhawan

The Bake House presents traditional confectionery and baked goods. Familiar and utterly comfort giving, Puddings and Pies sit right beside Toffees and Rum Balls and Fudges of all sorts. You will get Indian Estate Coffees and Teas Cold Press Coffee Towers and deeply decadent Hot Chocolate, all across the same table.

coffee-at-narendra-bhawan-1

 

P&C – The Dining Room

One of the most elegant dining tables I have seen! This definitely deserves a dedicated post in my blog. Chef Sachit Jha and his team have meticulously searched out menu items that were once served to Royals of Bikaner. Add to that his team members who kept serving several dishes one after another till we burst. Like I mentioned in previous posts on Rajasthan their hospitality is beyond comparison. They left no stone (read plate) unturned to give us a memorable stay experience at Narendra Bhawan. We the team of bloggers, spent many happy over satiating moments here.

pc-dining-in-narendra-bhawan

The Pool

Very well located in the terrace of the hotel! The view from here is mesmerizing especially in the twilight hours. Ideally positioned to offer great vantage views of the city, both the old and the new. One of our dinners was hosted by this pool side.

pool-in-narendra-bhawan

Accommodation at Narendra Bhawan

In my opinion each and every room would offer a grand stay experience at Narendra Bhawan. There are 5 room categories at Narendra Bhawan.

  1. 53 Residence Rooms – 330 Sq. Ft. “are a tribute to the eclectic tastes of the household. Elaborate ceiling details, Bikaner terrazzo floors and traditional crafts sit in harmony with Portuguese tiles and a distinctly English colour palette.” my-stay-experience-at-narendra-bhawan
  2. 18 Prince Rooms with – 530 Sq. Ft. “reflect his growing leanings towards a western lifestyle. Featuring Luxe velvets, English prints, glittering mirrors and mosaic, the PRINCE ROOMS reflect a youthful exuberance that beget glamorous living quarters”
  3. 3 Regimental Rooms – 634 Sq. Ft. “these reflect a ceremonial order that appealed to the military man who was king. Elements of army regalia are sensitively interspersed with modern conveniences adding uniformity and symmetry”3rd-floor-of-narendra-bhawan
  4. 4 India Rooms – 530 Sq. Ft. “Here, strokes from pastoral India sit comfortably with the modernity of a contemporary India. Curated primarily in Indigo – the symbolic colour of India”
  5. Republic Suites – 730 Sq. Ft. “dramatic rooms where strong confident lines and a colour palette in steely blue and concrete grey suggests a very contemporary conclusion. Chic to the core, this is an architects’ room”

Stay Experience at Narendra Bhawan

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56 Responses

  1. Great to read. Beautiful place.

  2. It truly looks like a dream. What a wonderful experience it must have been. Thank you for sharing.

    – Lisa

  3. Niranjan says:

    That’s a lovely place to stay.

  4. A very beautiful place. Nice write up.

  5. This is such a beautiful hotel, so posh but still retaining a sense of history. I especially love the decorative latte and the pool, though I’m not sure I could tear myself away from the fudge, pudding, and pies long enough to have a soak. 🙂

  6. I love a pool with a view! Looks very high class and relaxing. Those bedrooms though are fit for a king. I love all the decor and ohhhh the Mad Hatter would be my favorite!

  7. Narendra Bhawan hotel looks absolutely amazing! Love the courtyard and the pool. Such a great view.
    And I’ve never seen a coffee with a face :p

  8. Experiencing some serious hotel envy right now, they have some beautiful rooms. What really sold me was that rooftop pool at twilight. I bet you get some amazing views from there.

  9. Dane says:

    This place looks amazing! I don’t actually think I’ve ever stayed anywhere that nice in my life! I’m about to start a camping trip and I almost regret it looking at those beds! Also that piano looks so beautiful and I’m sure it sounds amazing!

  10. Bhushavali says:

    Wow! That’s such a gorgeous palace. 86 dogs??? I’m already in love! The Diwali chouk, the lattice work and those palatial rooms are spectacular. The roof top pool is an icing on the cake!

  11. Luca says:

    The interiors are really to die for, the exterior of the hotel is not really my cup of tea!
    It’s a strange architecture, probably the color doesn’t help, but it seems a big brick, or a fort, not a luxurious hotel at all.

  12. Marla Daye says:

    Wow. I don’t think I can say that enough. This hotel looks amazing. I can imagine myself lounging in that ornate courtyard and dipping into that pool. I have never seen a pool with such an amazing view! I would definitely stay here if I ever visited the area. So beautiful.

  13. I sincerely love the look and feel of a place. It’s far from the usual modern and contemporary design. It seems like each corner tells a story! 🙂 Would love to stay here too.

  14. Cykaniki says:

    They place is super amazing, I’m in awe, I like how they preserve the history’s architecture and the ambiance of the place is super grand, you have an extraordinary experience being in this place, the design of the hotel is unique and antique, I love the humble personality of Maharanja. The pool was my favorite spot

  15. Kris says:

    Great place to stay and felt like a royal for once. With your photos i can say that they were able to preserved the place well. It’s like turning back to time but it doesn’t feel creepy at all, instead the royaly feek of the hotel lives on. 🙂

  16. What a glamorous hotel! I like that the decor is not too matchy-matchy. And the red sandstone is beautiful. That face in your coffee is pretty impressive too!

  17. Berlin says:

    The place looks real impressive. I guess guests staying there or even on quick visit truly had a great experience. Love the elegant feel and look.

  18. Oh wow!!! His palace is stunning! And it’s cute he had 86 dogs and 500 cows! Plus calling them by name! Palace really do exist, you’re lucky to see that. Everything is so elegant.

  19. That was a lovely place. It has a nostalgic feel. Stunning and well crafted. And oh! That was quite impressive having to own such a significant number of animals! Yay!

  20. What a beautiful hotel with a rich and interesting history. Seriously – that coffee?! I wouldn’t even know where to start in creating something like that!

  21. Jenni says:

    Looks like a great place to stay I like the look of the courtyard and would love one of those coffees with the face on what a cool idea. The bed looks really comfy I might have trouble getting out of it and exploring the rest of the hotel lol

  22. I knew about the maharajahs, but not much more. You have opened my eyes to a destination I did not know existed, and an exquisitely lovely location to find historical lodging.

  23. Looks like a great place to stay. I love the little face on the coffee foam. Really nice little detail!

  24. The interior is definitely nice! And the rooms are really spacious and true to its theme. I wonder how much is the rate though. With how th comfortable the rooms looks, I would definitely have a hard time checking out. 🙂

  25. Wow, it looks like an old building, but when you started divulging what it has to offer inside, I was mike, WOW. I like how they combine the colors and the interior design is just so stunning. The painting and the small arts I’m seeing is absolutely beautiful. You have captured your photos so well.

  26. The interiors are so plush and gorgeous! Everything suggests luxury and royalty. And oh my gosh, that pool is insane! I could live there! I would want to live there!

  27. I have only heard about Bikaner a few times previously and it sure is tempting to visit the city one day. As you mention, there is a lot of history connected with the region. That is usually something we try to find when traveling, all the old castles and palaces. 🙂

  28. Indrani, I am definitely jealous after seeing so many stunning pictures of the hotel. 86 dogs and 500 cows? What happened to all of them? I liked how the picture of the coat reflects the eclectic taste of the hotel.

  29. Carol Colborn says:

    Must have really felt like you were in a palace! Love that pool area…different from the modern ones.

  30. Such a lovely read Indrani and it took me back to my own stay here. Your pics are great and I was also happy to read more about the history of the place. The most interesting bit to me is the story of King Narendra Singh – such great deeds and such humility…

  31. Elena says:

    The rooms are so beautifully decorated! Oh my, and that pool on the terrace with it’s simple, yet sophisticated style, and with those stunning views of the city… It must have been quite an experience!

  32. The hotel looks magnificent. The rooms and its interiors are very tasteful and spacious with a pleasant ambiance. The pool on the terrace looks awe-inspiring with a remarkable view of the surrounding. The rooms, lobby and the dining room all have a royal feel to them, the hotel definitely looks worth considering on our next trip

  33. Joanna says:

    I think I might have dined here when I was in Bikaner. I stayed at a different hotel but I do remember going to a similar building like this one, a fancy hotel, for dinner. The rooms look really beautiful and the rooftop pool is a very nice touch.

  34. What an amazing place to stay 🙂 Love the hotel’s atmosphere and this charming terrace 🙂 I would love to sit there with a cup of coffee.

  35. Claudia says:

    This looks like a five-star hotel experience! Love the architecture and history of the property. And that pool terrace! Gorgeous.

  36. Grand and gorgeous place, good to know about the history.Pictures are amazing.

  37. Yogi Saraswat says:

    Narendra Singh, son of Maharaja Karni Singh, was a man of different interests. He left the royal family to live like a commoner and that is why he built this house. He was an animal lover and his house Narendra Bhawan sheltered several cows. Grand palace and great information . So the famous temple Karni Mata Ka Mandir is named after him ?

  38. Jenna says:

    This looks like a really cool place to stay! I love the design both inside and out. The rooms look super comfortable as well, and the design in the coffee is pretty amazing! Great find!

  39. An excellent property just like most others in Rajasthan. Hope you also had a good tour of the city and the desert nearby. Would like to see them too.

  40. The pool is excellent with a fantastic view of the city. That must have been relaxing having a meal by the pool side and watching the sun set would be perfect as well. That’s hospitable of the owner to show you around the hotel

  41. Wow! The bhawan looks so royal and historic. It must have been a luxurious experience.
    Loved the interior , room looks so cozy and clean.

  42. Jennifer says:

    This hotel looks lovely! I especially love the courtyard and the pool with that amazing view. It looks like they do some impressive latte art too.

  43. Mithun says:

    This place looks great. Will visit soon, not to mention the pictures are great.

  44. Such an amazing to place to witness the royalty of Rajasthan! It looks like this hotel has been designed to satisfy every guest’s needs! Wonder how it might have looked with 800 cows and 86 dogs around!

  45. This really does sound like a land for kings (and queens)! I love when the place you’re staying has an interesting back story. It just makes your stay all the more special and the fact that you can even sample some of the menu items were once served to royals is incredible.

  46. divsi says:

    Absolutely regal! Really befitting to be the residence of Kings! 🙂 Looks like an excellent property!

  47. Victoria says:

    I cannot believe this guy has 86 dogs! That is serious goals haha! This hotel is beyond beautiful so thanks for featuring it!

  48. Jenna says:

    Looks like a neat hotel with a cool design–love the red grand piano! The coffee art at the Bake House is great, too. Sounds like you found a really great spot to stay!

  49. Natasha says:

    I lone an article that includes a bit of history in it! Good job! Now I know Narendra Singh was a dog lover but 86 dogs? Ohh my! I find people that can make pictures on top of coffees’s like in your photo really amazing!

  50. I love historical sites. I’ve read a lot about Singh and the 86 dogs but I felt it was just exaggerations. The man would properly understand and speak the language of animals… Haha

  51. Tami says:

    It’s hard to say what makes one hotel stand out from others, but you’ve definitely found many reasons why the Narendra Bhawan Hotel is special. From the beautifully appointed rooms to the pool with a view of the city to the history and even the mood of joining old with new — it all adds up to an amazing stay!

  52. PAIGE W says:

    This looks absolutely stunning! I love seeing the history behind these things as well. The pool looks like a beautiful place to relax!

  53. Suruchi says:

    Wonderful write-up Indrani and your pictures are great too. We are planning to visit Bikaner soon. The history of the place is quite interesting. And now after seeing the place through your lens, we are pretty sure that we should stay here.

  54. Mags says:

    This looks like an incredible trip! I don’t know if I could drink coffee with a face though lol.

  55. Michelle says:

    What a beautiful building! I love learning about cultures that differ from my own and the ways that hospitality may be different. Thanks for sharing!

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