Founded in 1488, Bikaner is a desert built on an elevation and surrounded by a long embattled wall pierced by five gates. A magnificient fort built betwen 1588 & 1593 by Raja Raj Singh dominates the city.
Sheer beauty in the desert is the royal fortified city of Bikaner. Lying at the northern tip of the famous triangle of the desert cities, Bikaner is a beautiful medival town. The genesis of Bikaner dates back to 1488, when a Rathore prince, Rao Bikaji, son of Rao Jodhaji of Jodhpur, chose a barren wilderness called 'Jangladesh' and transformed it to a charming city called 'Bikaner', after the founder's name. Its location on the ancient caravan routes, which linked Central Asia and North India with the Gujarat seaports, made Bikaner a bustling trade centre in the times of yore.
Bikaner's Forts, Palaces and Temples - magnificent creations in red and yellow sandstone, are living manifestations of its rich historical and architectural legacy. One can feel the medieval aura pervading the city's lifestyle. Not only do the traditions come alive here in colourful bazaars and havelis, but Bikaner is also famous for the best riding camels in the world. One can witness gaily caparisoned camels at the spectacular Camel Festival at Bikaner, held annually.
Bharatpur, an impregnable fortified city is today famous for the nearby Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary. Once the shooting preserve of royalty, it is perhaps the most spectacular water-bird sanctuary in India..
Deeg was the summer residence of the royals. It's beautiful buildings are set around a formal garden, on the edge of a large lake. In mid monsoon, there is a large fair, during which time the large network of fountains in the gardens and palaces are opened up for the public pleasure.
Major Attractions of Bikaner
Junagarh Fort : Revel in the architectural splendour, as you take an intimate look at this imposing fort, built by Akbar's contemporary Raja Rai Singh. Within the fort are thirty seven palaces and pavilions. Suraj Pol or the Sun Gate is the main entrance to the fort. The most beautiful palaces in the complex are the Chandra Mahal, Phool Mahal and Karan Mahal. The palaces, exquisitely built in red sandstone and marble are ornate with mirror work, carvings and paintings. An array of kiosks and balconies embellish the fort at intervals, breaking the monotony. A museum with valuable miniature paintings and rare antiques is also located in the Junagarh Fort.
Lalgarh Palace : The magnificent fort in red sandstone, a fascinating juxtaposition of the Oriental style and European luxury that leaves you truly mesmerised. Designed by Sir Swinton Jacob for Maharaja Ganga Singh almost -90 years ago, this is an extraordinary monument. The palace has a billiards room, a library, a cards room and a smoking room. Belgian chandeliers, cut - glass ornaments, oil paintings and lamps, all adding to its charm.
Ganga Museum: The Rajasthani museum houses some of the richest collections of teracotta ware, weapons, miniature paintings of Bikaner and coins of different ages are to be found. The collections in the museum show the splendid masterpieces of the Harappan civilisation, the Gupta and Kushan era as well as scriptures of the classical period. The museum also has a separate section displaying exclusive arts and crafts of the region.
Bhandeshwar Jain Temples : Beautiful 16th century Jain temples, dedicated to the 23rd Tirthankar Parshvanathji. Other important temples of Bikaner include the Lakshminathji, Ratan Bihariji, Shiv Bari, and Nagnechiji temple. The Bhaironji Temple at Kodamdesar, about 40 kms from Bikaner, is another noteworthy temple.
Gajner Wildlife Sanctuary And Palace : Watch flocks of imperial sand grouse, as you wander through the lush foliage of woods located on the Jaisalmer road. Gajner is also home to nilgai, chinkara, wild boar and black buck. Gajner Palace, a summer resort of kings built on the beautiful lake along the sanctuary, is a spot worth visiting.
Devi Kund : The royal crematorium with a number of cenotaphs is situated 8 km east of Bikaner city. The 'chhatri' of Maharaja Surat Singh of the Bika dynasty is the most striking one amongst them. The spectacular Rajput paintings on the ceilings and the Dome of the Kund is extraordinary to watch out for.
Places to Stay in Bikaner
Bikaner has a number of hotels and lodges to accommodate its guests. The price range varies noticeably to meet the demand for various levels of tourists. Most tourists plan daylong trips to Bharatpur. However, there is good accommodation available at the Bharatpur Forest Lodge, Forest Guesthouse and Saras Tourist Bungalow. All the three have multi-cuisine restaurants. Accommodation is also available at the Circuit House, Hotel Golbagh Palace, Shanti Kutir, and the Tourist Lodge near the sanctuary's Mathura gate.
Climate in Bikaner
Bikaner has got extreme desert type of climate with high temperature difference and low rainfall.
Shopping in Bikaner
A stroll down the King Edward Memorial road and inside Kote Gate will reveal the shopping pleasure in Bikaner. The purses, slippers made from the camel hide are worth a bargain. The camel skin also ends up as cushions and lacquered lampshades. The local carpets and the woodwork are very popular among the tourists. And who can forget the world famous Bikaneri Bhujias and sweets. Wide range of accomodation facilites are available to meet the requirements of tourists.
How to Get there
Air : Nearest Airport is Jodhpur 240 kms.
Rail : Bikaner is connected by rail with Delhi, Jaipur and Jodhpur.
Road : Bikaner to Delhi 949 km,Jaipur 316 km,Jodhpur 240 km & Jaisalmer 330 km..
Best time to visit Bikaner
The temperature ranges from 38°C to a maximum of 45°C during the summer which spreads from from April to June. In the winters, after Christmas, temperature start falling below 10°C. The place can be visited all round the year.