Jewel in the desert – Gaj Kesri in Bikaner, Rajasthan

Always wanted to visit Bikaner in Rajasthan and recently had an opportunity to make my dream come true. Thanks to the new airport operations in Bikaner airport, there are direct flights now from Delhi and Jaipur daily and they are pretty reasonably priced too. I would say around Rs.2000 per ticket if you book a little in advance. Once we arrived in Bikaner, we arrived at the “Jewel in the desert” which is the Gaj Kesri hotel on the outskirts of the town.

Built in the palace style of Rajputana in the Bikaneri vernacular, Gaj Kesri is a tribute to the skills and meticulous craftsmanship of the artisans and masons of Bikaner and nearby villages. Surrounded by verdant grounds and lawns, the hotel offers traditional grandeur with arty and chic interiors. The hotel is built by architect Mr. Sunil Rampuria who is also the 5th generation of the Rampuria’s who own the famous Rampuria Havelis.

Gaj Kesri is home to a superb and unparalleled collection of contemporary Usta Work – the glorious art form of Bikaner all created in their own workshop. That makes the hotel a museum of sorts. Mr. Sunil Rampuria, the owner has been passionately involved for the last 35 years in keeping this lovely art form alive and it was great pleasure seeing the masterpieces created by the brothers Asghar, Iqbal, Ayyub and Ameen adorning the spaces inside the main building.

Rooms are designed aesthetically well and give you a royal feeling of staying in a palace. All the amenities like mini bar with cold drinks, electric kettle for coffee and some locally made desserts welcome you into the room after a long journey. Room rates are just Rs.6000 plus taxes, which is a really affordable for the amazing royal stay.

I liked the way artifacts were displayed across the room showcasing to us how the royals live. The lighting was sufficient and provided a warm feel to the room. The walk in wardrobe and the palatial bathrooms were a perfect fit to this regal room.

We enjoyed swimming in the open air pool in the Gaj Kesri grounds. You can have a nice cold beer with some amazing veg spring rolls as you take a dip in this beautiful swimming pool. It is also a nice place to have a romantic dinner in the evening enjoying the cool breeze in the air.

The owners Mr. Sunil Rampuria and his charming wife Mrs. Anju Rampuria played perfect hosts to us as they regaled us with their royal stories and how they built this beautiful jewel in the middle of the desert. Mr. Sunil created the blueprint for this resort on his own after leaving his job in Vizag and coming back here. Mrs. Anju had a wonderful jewelry collection which she showed us which tell countless tales of the royal families.

The multi cuisine restaurant serves only vegetarian food but you won’t be disappointed even if you are a non-vegetarian as the food is very healthy and prepared very fresh. The restaurant itself is very aesthetically decorated which reminds you of royal dining.

My 6 year old son Reyansh had a wonderful time at Gaj Kesri as he had so many activities to do. His favorite activity was swimming in the pool and enjoying some delicious vegetarian spring rolls along with some hot milk. He was pampered by the entire staff and he enjoyed being in the open air with less screen time.

The lawns are great to arrange big marriage functions or family celebrations. It is also great for kids to enjoy playing some outdoor games or just lazing around on a beautiful winter morning or evening. 

Reyansh loved the decor of Gaj Kesri which looked to him like a palace. He enjoyed learning about the different artifacts and the meaning behind them from the owners of Gaj Kesri itself. Children of all ages can have a wonderful time at Gaj Kesri without feeling bored. 

Gaj Kesri offers traditional grandeur with arty and chic interiors which definitely makes us feel royal. The Rajasthani thali served by Gaj Kesri is really exceptional but they also serve some mouth watering dishes from Indian, Continental and Chinese cuisines.

It was great to have dinner with Mr. Sunil Rampuria and other travel bloggers from across India. We also enjoyed some live band performance by Raja and his team who sang wonderful Bollywood and Indi pop numbers. Wine and liquor was flowing nicely as we enjoyed the music with some delectable vegetable starters.

In a nutshell, Gaj Kesri provides an amazing stay in Bikaner as you discover the city and various attractions it has to offer. Builton 25 acres of land, Gaj Kesri is a sprawling property with 41 rooms–31 Art Guest Rooms and 10 Standard Rooms.

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