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Old 15th January 2013, 09:46 AM   #1
Emanuel
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Default A visit to Bikaner, Rajasthan

Hi everyone,

Last November I had the chance to do a very quick 5-night tour of Rajasthan, passing through some of the major fort cities. Among Jaipur, the "Pink City", Jaisalmer the "Golden City", and Jodphur the "Blue City" I got to see Bikaner.

I won't get into any history or background of this fine Rajput city, it's all a Google or Wiki click away. I will share some pretty pictures though. If you liked the Chowmahalla Palace arms collection you'll love this one

The Bikaner palace fortress is the only one of Rajasthan major forts not built on a hill. It's a lovely mix of impressive fortifications, delicate stonework, kattars, gorgeous artwork, magnificent architecture, an armoury that includes an airplane, kattars, elephant-mounted guns, swords of all kinds, kattars, camel-mounted guns, kattars, monkey-mounted guns, and some kattars as well.

Warning, this is a photo-intensive thread. Grab a coffee, drink, go make a sandwitch, while this loads
Apologies for some of the bad quality shots. The rooms were not always well lit and I was in a bit of a hurry.

E
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Old 15th January 2013, 09:49 AM   #2
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P2

By the way, the two swords of Maharaja Padam Singh Ji are enormous. The basket-hilt tulwar on the right with lotus-bulb pommel has an extremely thick guard and a 1-inch-wide blade. The audio tour mentioned something about him having been freakishly strong...
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Old 15th January 2013, 09:54 AM   #3
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P3

The arms room proper...
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Old 15th January 2013, 09:57 AM   #4
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P4
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Old 15th January 2013, 09:59 AM   #5
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P5
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Old 15th January 2013, 10:05 AM   #6
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P6
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Old 15th January 2013, 10:07 AM   #7
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P7 - last one
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Old 15th January 2013, 10:09 AM   #8
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Outstanding!!!

Thank you!!!!

Gavin
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Old 15th January 2013, 10:20 AM   #9
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What Bikaner has in raw, practicality, Jaipur has in sheer bling and luxury. The weapon rooms at the Jaipur palace are an Ali Baba's cave of armed delight. Pictures are unfortunately not allowed, but that collection has everything in the books. The loveliest examples of every Indo-Persian weapon imaginable, decorated with every known permutation of precious metal and stone and...wootz...the stuff is literally blinding!

All the pieces are very well maintained and well etched. Supposedly the Maharaja's trust is working on a catalog of the collection, to be released sometime soon.

The part of the collection open to visitors spanned 3-4 large rooms, but behind a little closed glassed door could be glimpsed "the private stuff" and what I could see is simply indescribable.

Anyway, put Rajasthan on your bucket list. Take a good two weeks at least and take a look at this "Land of Kings" it's worth it!!
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Old 15th January 2013, 12:14 PM   #10
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Wow thanks Emanuel! One day you will come to visit Raja Abdul's palace in Kuwait and take such photos (a man can dream :-) )
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Old 15th January 2013, 02:01 PM   #11
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Emanuel, thank you very much for sharing your photos with us.
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Old 15th January 2013, 03:03 PM   #12
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Hi Emanuel
this is not my field, but I was taken by the magic of this nice photos

but for those interested, it's a very nice compilation
for a chance to authenticate an edged weapons from that country

the vast range of appearance for the blades, in a same family of knives is impressive

thanks for this virtual, and very attractive trip

all the best

+

Dom
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Old 15th January 2013, 03:13 PM   #13
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Amazing, they have an astonishing collection there, and I particularly like the arrangements.

Shame some of the swords are obscured, but I expect they've had some thefts in that's a necessary security measure.

There are a few weapons types that I can't readily identify, especially in the below section. Could some kind soul be good enough to enlighten me?
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Old 15th January 2013, 04:27 PM   #14
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Hi Emanuel,

Thank you for showing these pictures, they are very interesting, and show a very big range, when it comes to shapes and quality but that is how it is, and how it should be.

The big diversity in quality shows us, that weapons of almost all shapes and quality were used, but knowing, as we do, that every armoury had weapons from other parts of India, in a bigger or smaller number looted or bought we also know, that weapons found in any armoury/museum may come from quite another place than where they are now.

When I see one of the chiselled katars I always wonder how much it would cost, to have one made today in such a quality likely the ransom of a king maybe a smaller one, but still. At the same time I ask myself what the price would have been then, compared to their standard of living. I know that you can't compare this, but it is an interesting experiment of thought.

Jens
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Old 15th January 2013, 09:30 PM   #15
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Hi Emanuel,
lucky you .....I'm not really jealous

Fantastic, thanks for sharing

All the best
David
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Old 15th January 2013, 09:58 PM   #16
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Hello Emanuel,
Absolutely fantastic, thank you very much for sharing these great photos.

Regards,
Robert
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Old 15th January 2013, 11:15 PM   #17
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Thanks so much for sharing these!!! What a testament to the infinity of the Indian arsenal!!
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Old 16th January 2013, 12:21 AM   #18
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Thank you Emanuel.

Interesting displays.
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Old 16th January 2013, 03:15 AM   #19
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Great that you were able to visit, see these pieces, and post them. Thank you.

Just wish the mesh was replaced by glass so that we could get a better view of some of these.
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Old 16th January 2013, 06:33 AM   #20
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The Indian arsenal is indeed quite something. The sheer variety of bladed instruments is mind-numbing. It shows the immense level of artistic expression inherent to arms and armour. While part of my education included as specialization in fine art history, I was saddened that the art and craft of weaponry was entirely disregarded. Strange that such an obvious component of fine art was ignored.

Jens I met a few fellows here in Hyderabad that collect high quality newly-made Indian weapons and the cost of a nicely chiseled pesh-kabz type of dagger with pattern-welded steel blade can run into the thousands of dollars. Basically the price of a low-mid range car. A custom-made dagger or sword in North America is also in the four digits so not accessible to anyone. In olden days these finely crafted weapons were for the elite only.

Shimmer, the swords along the bottom are better seen on one of the other pictures. Basically rapiers and narrow two-handed swords. There is a blade of a bullova axe just above them and at the top there is what I think is a signaling standard, similar to the two brass ones next to the "draco" standard. The chopper on the left is similar to Curg or Malabar types.

It's too bad I couldn't get any pictures from Jaipur. Jodhpur also had a good collection with some swords attributed to the Mughal emperor Akbar, but the rooms were undergoing renovation and the display cases were empty.

Emanuel
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Old 16th January 2013, 02:16 PM   #21
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I was at Junagarh Fort in 2007.

Here are some more images:
http://www.doorcountyforgeworks.com...25_Entry_1.html
Due to the high polish on the blades I could only see one or two that were obviously pattern-welded.

I recall a good number of Solingen blades in one case. Some with the running fox engraved in the blades.

There were some courtly paintings discovered under some black paint in the private rooms upstairs....wonderful things only recently brought to like weeks before my visit.
I am sorry to see they still have the chicken wire on the cases.

I remember the curator of the site, a retired Colonel, being a lovely person. We had dinner the day following the tour of the museum. He was the one who discovered the paintings.

I would call it a two day museum...too much to see in a single visit.

Ric
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Old 16th January 2013, 03:51 PM   #22
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Default I'm in Jaipur right now.

Have been for over three weeks already. I'm an Indian musician, so I'm having a lot of fun playing music. However there are some interesting things for sale as well. I've seen some lovely court daggers with ivory handles for sale. prices are high, and I don't really enjoy a lot of bling; I much prefer a really excellent blade and a functional dagger. When I was here last January, and I expressed interest in a dagger in the city palace collection, but had to note that it had some rust starting, I was taken to the back room where I saw some unbelievable pieces. I was handed an extremely large sword, a tegha, and had the presence of mind to look down and find the kind of cotton gloves that I have been taught to put on when handling such things. I was then shown some katars that were absolutely unbelievable. The metal inlay was easily as good as really excellent Japanese metal inlay. The details were small enough that I had to use a loupe to make out some of the animals. That's the part of the exhibition that you don't see. I certainly hope that a photo catalog is coming out soon.
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Old 16th January 2013, 08:59 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emanuel
Shimmer, the swords along the bottom are better seen on one of the other pictures. Basically rapiers and narrow two-handed swords. There is a blade of a bullova axe just above them and at the top there is what I think is a signaling standard, similar to the two brass ones next to the "draco" standard. The chopper on the left is similar to Curg or Malabar types.


Thanks for the reply Emanuel, I'll do some research now I've got names to start with.

I'm sad to hear that the object in the top left is a signaling standard, I had it pegged as a mighty frying pan of death. Ah, never mind!

Thanks again

Steve
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Old 18th January 2013, 04:09 AM   #24
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Wow! Great photos Emanuel! I'm sure it must have been even more amazing to see and study in person! It is fantastic for us all to see! One can't help but smile and feel good cheer when you see such beautiful architecture and bladed beauties displayed with care! Wonderful collection! Thank you so much for sharing!
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Old 18th January 2013, 04:28 AM   #25
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Amazing. Thank you!
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Old 18th January 2013, 04:55 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Furrer
I was at Junagarh Fort in 2007.

Here are some more images:
http://www.doorcountyforgeworks.com...25_Entry_1.html
Due to the high polish on the blades I could only see one or two that were obviously pattern-welded.

I recall a good number of Solingen blades in one case. Some with the running fox engraved in the blades.

There were some courtly paintings discovered under some black paint in the private rooms upstairs....wonderful things only recently brought to like weeks before my visit.
I am sorry to see they still have the chicken wire on the cases.

I remember the curator of the site, a retired Colonel, being a lovely person. We had dinner the day following the tour of the museum. He was the one who discovered the paintings.

I would call it a two day museum...too much to see in a single visit.

Ric


Great photos thanks Ric.

Gav
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