"This house is nothing less than the palace which Aladdin's wicked uncle deported into the desert by the rub of the lamp." Perceval Landon, Under the Sun
|One of the most impressive palaces constructed during the last half of the nineteenth century, the Lallgarh Place defies the bleak and rugged reality of the harsh Thar Desert around Bikaner.|
The renowned architect, Sir Swinton Jacob, was commissioned for the proposed residence of the young ruler, Maharaja Ganga Singh. Initially, the palace was proposed to be finished within a lakh of rupees and further reductions in cost were suggested to be made by substituting stucco for carved stone.
But the moment Maharaja Ganga Singh got personally involved in the building exercise, all cost cutting was banished. The Palace began in 1896 and by the time the first quadrant, Laxmi Niwas was completed in 1902, cost had already zoomed to ten lakh rupees. The idea of using cheap stucco was replaced with the finest and most intricate stone carving of all the modern palaces in India. The princely abode welcomed Lord Curzon as its first important guest. Maharaja Ganga Singh named his new residence in honour of his father, Maharaja Lall Singh.Lallgarh Palace was the most completely integrated example of Indo-Saracenic architecture, and as some hold, the most perfectly realized of Sir Samuel Jacob's creations. The sheer poetry in sandstone was further extended for the Maharaja's son, Sadul Singh, and grandson, Karni Singh.