We tend to go back to the places that we love. After our visit to Narendra Bhawan more than one year ago, we were leaving for Bikaner again, to another visit to this beautiful place, to be with the life and memories of Narendra Singh Ji and, and to experience some royalty during an otherwise hectic February.
A scion of the Rathore Dynasty that ruled over Bikaner since the 15th Century, Shri Narendra Singh Ji was a maverick in many ways. He renounced the royal lifestyle and spent his life living as a common man, with a great interest in travel, philanthropy, and had a great love for animals. In fact, before his residence was sold to the current owners, he wanted to convert it into a veterinary hospital. Narendra Bhawan is not a palace; it is the erstwhile residence of a royal and a living memoire of his life and travels, and a testimony of how he would have preferred to live had he been around today.
The feel of Narendra Bhawan is more like a house than what a rather impersonal palace would be. The lobby is a veranda with curios from various corners of the world. Each corner is aesthetically done with artefacts that the residents brought from their travels abroad. At every corner, there is a book shelf and a well-lit couch to enjoy a book at leisure. This feeling of homely cosiness never is omnipresent.
The rooms are designed keeping in mind different phases of Narendra Singh Ji’s life and relate to the grand essentials of life – the things we do, we take pleasure in, we love, and hope for. These are the four fundamentals around which our lives revolve, be it relationships, work, or anything else. Each room of Narendra Bhawan is based on one of these aspects.
The Prince Rooms – To Take Pleasure In
The Prince rooms talk about the adolescent years of the King, when he is a prince. Spacious interiors with nice floral touch in the ambience give a happy character to these rooms. They are simple yet comfortable, and will everything that the prince would take pleasure in.
The Regimental Rooms – To Do One’s Duty
The Regimental rooms are a representation of the King’s day in the war, of the royal military camp and its rather astute surroundings. These rooms are more luxurious and have just the right dash of masculinity about them. They remind us of the lives of the Military Generals of the Colonial era and the ambience is more suited to the sensibilities of a Gentleman Officer.
India Room – To Love
The India rooms signify that phase in the King’s life when the love for his country awakened, making him renounce his royal status and return to India at the call for freedom of the nation. The room has a symbolic charkha and uses a lot of indigenous fabrics and designs to reflect our struggle for freedom.
Republic Suites – To Hope For
With the birth of the Indian republic, the ageing king now looked forward to a new India, much different and forward looking than what he left behind in the British Raj. This resurgent nation was making leaps towards industrialization and stood for equality and strength in its new-found identity.
The republic suits signify the new world order and a new hope. The deigns are modern with a touch of contemporary design with straight lines and assertiveness in the feel. There are two rooms, an ante room which acts like the living space and a bedroom with a walk-in closet and a lavish bath. The decor, furniture and overall ambience in greyer hues are much more modern.
The new hope is also signified with the vision for Rajasthan, one of which was to get water to this otherwise a dry land. Indira Canal, the longest of India, supplies water to eat and every household in Bikaner and is a symbol of the progress that took place after Independence. The picnic by the canal was pleasant experience. The bright tent within the trees overlooking the shining water made a pretty sight. We enjoyed a lazy afternoon with finger food, barbecue sliders along with drinks and games.
Narendra Bhawan is famous for its curated experiences and one of them being the 7 course museum dinner. This is a recreation of a brunch menu that Maharaja Ganga Sign had planned for esteemed guests over a century ago. The royal setting and the delicacies crafted by the head chef along with exotics wines are simply outstanding.
Another such experience celebrating the love for India is the dance and drinks by the pool side. We enjoyed the graceful folk dance performance by Manasi. Few drinks down we joined her as well 🙂 The evening ended with a lavish Crescent Dinner under the moon.
Luxury blended with finer sensibilities has its own charm. The curated experiences wowed up as much as the beautiful interiors of the hotel. So whenever you are in Bikaner next or simply wish to experience royalty, do visit this wonderland – Narendra Bhawan.
Experience the royal luxury through our short tour of Narendra Bhawan. Do show us some love!
Note: Our travel and stay at Bikaner were hosted by Narendra Bhawan. However, as always, the opinions mentioned in this article are our own, based on our own experience there.