The city was founded in 1486 AD by the Rathore prince,
Rao Bikaji, hence the name Bikaner. Bikaji was son of
Rao Jodhaji who had asked his son to establish a kingdom
of his own. The challenge was accepted and Bikaji choose
the wild country 'Jangaldesh' as his territory and thus
the city of Bikaner came into existence.
A seven-kilometres wall with five entrances was built to
protect the city from vagaries of the desert and any
external aggression. The city flourished as an important
trade centre between Gujarat seaports and West Asian
countries. The unbroken line of descendants of Bikaji
ruled Bikaner till India got Independence. Bikaner is
known for good breed of riding camels, which are among
the best in the world. The Camel Festival held every
year is famous all over the globe. Bikaner has many
magnificent buildings made of Reddish Pink sandstone
that transcends the surrounding barren wilderness.
Unlike other cities of Rajasthan, Bikaner has been able
to preserve its traditional aura of the medieval era,
which makes a visitor come here year after year.
FORTS AND PALACES
Junagarh Fort: One of the most imposing forts of
northern India-- Junagarh Fort-- has remained
unconquered till date. This fort was built in 15th
one of the most able and trusted generals of Akbar, Raja Rai Singh.
The Ganga Golden Jubilee Museum: This small museum has a
large collection of pre-Harappan, Gupta and Kushan
pottery. The rich collection of pottery, carpets,
paintings, armoury and coins make this museum one of the
best in Rajasthan. The Bikaneri miniatures, which are
displayed in a sepetrate section for local arts, makes
visit to the museum a must.
Lalgadh Palace: Designed by a Britisher for Maharaja
Ganga Singh, this palace displays a magnificient blend
of Oriental and European style.
Bhandeshwar & Sandeshwar Temples: Five kms from the
city, these temples are the oldest surviving monuments
of aesthetic heritage. These were built by two brothers
and the temples carry their names. The mirror work and
the gold leaf paintings in the temple are noteworthy.
The temples are dedicated to 23rd Jain teerthankar,
Gajner Wild Life Sanctuary: 32 kms on the Jaisalmer Road
is located the Gajner Wildlife Sanctuary. Wooded hills
and lakes surround the lush green forest. One can easily
spot a Blue Bull, Chinkara, Black Buck or flocks of Sand
Grouse and Wild Boar living in the sanctuary.
Kalibanga: One of the major archaeology sites of the
Harappan civilisation. This place houses immense
treasure of our past and is of particular interest to
Kolayat: 54-km from Bikaner, it is a picnic spot.
Camel Breeding Farms: Take a ride on one or watch
the calves gambolling, or submit to a Raika or a Rebari
from traditional camel breeder, over a cup of camel's
milk at the camel breeding farms just eight kms away
from the city. This farm is the only of its kind in
Devi Kund: This is the royal crematorium with a
number of cenotaphs. The 'chhatri' of Maharaja Surat
Singh is most imposing. One cannot miss the spectacular
Rajput paintings on the ceilings. 8 kms from Bikaner.
HOW TO GET THERE
Air: The nearest airport is Jodhpur 240 kms.
Rail: The Indian Railways connects Bikaner with cities
like Delhi, Calcutta, Agra, Jaipur, Allahabad etc. The
gorgeous 'Palace on wheels' also covers Bikaner in its
eight-day tour of Rajasthan.
Road: Though the unfriendly desert sands surround
Bikaner but the city is well connected by roads. There
are local and inter-state bus services for Bikaner.
PLACES TO STAY
Bikaner is counted among one of the major cities of the
Rajasthan state and is well equipped with varied hotel
options, which include luxurious and budget hotels as
well as tourist lodges.
FAIRS & FESTIVALS
Camel Festival: In the festival, one can see the 'Ship
of the Desert' at its sporting best. The festival is
held in January every year.
Karni Mata Fair: Held twice in a year--April/ May and
October/ November-- the fair is celebrated on the ninth
day of the Navratri. Devotees throng the temple to
worship Goddess Durga and her incarnations on this day.
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. There are Palace hotels like
the Bhanwar Niwas, Karni Bhawan, Gajner Palace Hotel.
Also, available are the small but cosy comfortable
private hotels. The government approved Paying Guest
system is very popular among the visitors.
Bikaner has got extreme desert type of climate with high
temperature difference and low rainfall. The best season
to visit Bikaner between October and March