White and Red stone Cenotaphs stands tall in the history. Known for the architectural marvel, the royal cenotaphs are a treat for historians, photographers and travellers. Soak in the beauty of paintings and carvings on the cenotaph and think of the royal life they used to live although the end is same!
Bikaner, one of the royal cities of Rajasthan, much known for the Karni Mata Temple (Rats Temple), I feel is underrated in terms of tourism. Other cities like Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Jaisalmer are very much popular in the tourist circuit.
Last year i.e in January 2019, we did a road trip from Jaipur to Bikaner and stayed there for around 4 days. You will read my experience of Bikaner in the upcoming posts. This post is dedicated to the land of dusty gem, laid back life, dazzling doorways, bhujia (savoury snack), kachori,and most of all happy people; yes, I am talking about Bikaner. Apart from Junagarh Fort, there are so many attractions like Karni Mata Temple, Gajner Palace, National Research Centre on Camels, Bhandasar Jain Temple and more.
Today in this post, I will be showing you the not much explored destination – The Devi kund Sagar Royal Cenotaphs (Bikaner Raj Parivar Vishram Grah). It is a cremation ground for the royal family of Bikaner. The three enclosures situated around Kalyansagar tank protects the Chhatris (Cenotaphs) and a number of less prominent memorials for Princes, Princesses and so on.
Did you know? The Oldest among all chhatris here is that of Rao Kalyanmalji (1539-1571 AD) who was the fifth ruler of Bikaner and the last cenotaph is of Maharaja Karni Singh (1950-88 AD).
Here stands the two groups of cenotaphs. The royal cenotaphs of early rulers of Bikaner are made in Dulmera Red Stone and marble has been used in the later cenotpahs. The Chhatri (Cenotaph) of a male has a vertical memorial slab, where as that of a female has foot marks engraved on a slab. A memorial erected for a minor is called a ‘Nada’ and it is a simple structure without a canopy.
Chhatris play an important role in Rajput as well as in Muslim Art. Here, in the chhatris of Raja Rai Singhji and Raja Sur Singhji built in local red sand stone, the style is richer and more elegant. The Chhatris of Raja Karan Singh ji (1675 AD) and Maharaja Anup Singhji (1698 AD) are the finest examples of cenotaphs with architectural exuberance and ornamentation in classic Mughal taste. The cenotaph of Maharaja Anup Singhji stands on 16 pillars and bears carvings depicting act of Lord Krishna, floral patterns, peacocks, and other birds and animals.
The tradition of painting the cenotaphs began with Maharaja Ratan Singhji and the same is evident in his cenotaph. Some of them also have epigraphic memorial stone. There is also a temple in the premises.
- Entry Fees: Rs.5 for Indian Tourists
- Rs.10 for Foreign Tourists
- Timings: 9 AM to 5 PM
- Videography is not allowed
I would suggest you to visit in the evening for some amazing light. Although, the Devi Kund Sagar is not well maintained but the cenotaphs are beauty. One can easily spend an hour or so. Lastly, I was mesmerised to see the royalty and ended my visit to the Royal Cenotaphs with a thought – “The song has ended but the melody lingers on!”