in the north of the desert state, the city is dotted with scores of sand
dunes. Bikaner retains the medieval grandeur that permeates the city's lifestyle.
More readily called the camel country, the city is distinguished for the
best riding camels in the world and hence boasts of having one of the largest
Camel research and breeading farm in the world. The ship of the desert is
an inseparable part of life here. A camel besides doing transportation duties,
also works on wells.
These are built on high plinths with slender minarets on each of the four
corners and can be noticed even from a distance. The history of Bikaner
dates back to 1488 when a Rathore prince, Rao Bikaji founded his kingdom.
Bikaji was one the five sons of Rao Jodhaji the illustrious founder of Jodhpur.
But Rao Bikaji was the most adventurous of them. It is said that an insensitive
remark from his father about his whispering in the Durbar provoked Bikaji
to set up his own kingdom towards the north of Jodhpur.
The barren wilderness called Jangladesh became his focus point and he transformed
it to an impressive city. He accomplished his task with 100 cavalry horses
and 500 soldiers, and established his kingdom on 84 villages abandoned by
the 'Shankhlas'. When Bikaji died in 1504 his rule had extended to over
Modern Bikaner is the result of the foresight of its most eminent ruler
Maharaja Ganga Singh (1887 1943) whose reformative zeal set the pace for
Bikaner transformation from a principality to a premier princely state.
The strategic location of Bikaner on the ancient caravan routes that came
from West/Central Asia made it a prime trade centre in those times.
Bikaner stands on a slightly raised ground and is circumscribed by a seven
km long embattled wall with five gates. The magnificent forts and palaces,
created with delicacy in reddish-pink sandstone, bear testimony to its rich
historical and architectural legacy. Surging lanes, colourful bazaars with
bright and cheerful folks make Bikaner an interesting experience to explore.
Places to See :
Forts & Palaces in Bikaner
It is an unassailable fortress, which has never been conquered. Built in
1593 A.D. by Raja Rai Singh, one of the most distinguished generals in the
army of Emperor Akbar, the fort is a formidable structure encircled by a
This grand palace is an architectural masterwork in red sandstone, and was
built by Maharaja Ganga Singh Ji in the memory of his father Maharaja Lal
Singh Ji in 1902. Sir Swinton Jacob designed this oriental fantasy. This
architecture is a fusion of Rajput, Mughal and European architecture. The
exterior contrasts dramatically with the oriental interiors and amenities.
The palace has beautiful latticework and filigree work, which are hallmarks
of a great craftsmanship.
Havelis are ancient mansions of dwelling of the noble and wealthy. They
are known for their opulent life style and intricate carvings and craftsmanship
along with sprawling courtyards. Bikaner is full of such havelis and the
notable amongst them belong to Kotharis, Rampurias, Vaids and Dagas. To
view these havelis the suggested route is Gogagate, Daddhon Ka Chowk, Rangari
Chowk, Assanion Ka Chowk, Mohta Chowk, Binnanion Ka Chowk Daga Chowk, BK
School and Jassuar Gate.
Bhandeswari Jain Temple
It is a fifteenth century temple and is the oldest monument of Bikaner.
The temple is decorated with rich mirror work, frescoes and gold leaf paintings.
Excursions in Bikaner :
Camel Research Farm (8 km)
Spend a day with the indispensable ship of the desert at their camel research
and breeding centres which is only one of its kinds in Asia. The farm extends
over 2000 acres of semi arid land and is managed by the Central Government.
These camels are sold in the cattle fairs of Bikaner and Jaisalmer where
they are decorated in all their fineries which are colorful and attractive,
complementing the brown terrains of the desert.
Gajner is an incomparable Jewel in the Thar. Built by the great Maharaja
Ganga Singhji of Bikaner on the embankment of a lake with a generous dose
of flora and fauna. Basically a hunting and relaxing lodge, the maharaja
and the family shared their passion with their exclusive guests and hosted
exotic holidays for them. Around the palace is a thick forestation that
attracts the guests to take up a simple walk around admiring the migratory
birds in winters like imperial sand goose,antelopes, black bucks and the
animal species that wander around in the form of Nilgais, chinkaras, deers
etc. The hotel is spread in a large area, and the ambiance around is as
raw and authentic as it was before.
It is located 50 kilometres from Bikaner. It is a temple complex of Kolyat
and a holy place of pilgrimage for Hindus. The legend has it that Kapil
Muni the advocate of Shankya yoga of the Hindu philosophy while journeying
towards northwest was struck by the tranquility and peace of this place
and chose to perform tapasya (penance) here for the redemption of the world.
This place has since acquired great sanctity. The complex has several temples,
pavilions and bathing ghats. A dip in the holy waters of the lake especially
on Kartik Poornima (November) is considered very auspicious.
Katariasar Village (45 kms from Bikaner)
It is located on the Jaipur Road and is rich in ethnic rural and cultural
life. A walk on the sand dunes is enjoyable and viewing the sun set with
a desert landscape is heavenly. The main inhabitant of this village are
Jasnathjis, who are the fire dancers and their main life style is dairy
farming for milk. Herds of chinkaras, desert fox, rabbits, peacocks, parrots
and partridges are found in abundance in this area.
Fair & Festival of Rajasthan :
Camel Festival (January) :
A spectacular event of camel performances, camel races, camel acrobatics
dances and camel milking competition are a part of of the celebrations.
Kolayat Fair (November) :
Coincides with Pushkar fair when pilgrims take a holy dip in the Kolayat
lake on the full moon day in the month of Kartik.
Gangaur Festival (April) :
Dedicated to Goddess Parvati- the consort of Lord Shiva. Grand processions
of the deity accompanied by dancing women are a part of the eighteen day
Holi : March
Exuberant festivals beginning several days before the actual day of Holi,
make it a special and spectacular occasion.
Museums in Bikaner
Ganga Singh Museum
Popularly described as the best museum in the state, it displays a rich
array of archaeological discoveries from prehistoric Harrapan and early
Gupta period. Separate sections put on view paintings, arts and craft, terracotta,
pottery, carpets, coins and ancient Rajput weaponry.
Part of the palace has been converted into a luxury hotel and a museum known
as Shri Sadul Museum. The museum covers the entire first floor of the palace
and houses well preserved old photographs and trophies of wildlife.
It's a museum located in the great Junagarh Fort. The museum is dedicated
to royal costumes, textiles and accessories. 'Poshaks' or the ladies ensemble
displayed are perhaps the last remnants of the traditional designing styles
and workmanship. The museum also reveals a study of changing cultural settings
in its display of family portraits of the former rulers. Changes embarked
by the western influences appear strikingly. The vivid glimpses of legacy
that survived in the contemporary Bikaner are also visible.
Rajasthan State Archives
This Directorate is located in Bikaner. The archives have in their custody
some very precious administrative record of Mughal period like Persian Farmans,
Nishans, Manshurs, Akbarat, Vakil Report, Arzdasht, Khatoot and the record
created during administration of the Princely states of Rajasthan such as
Bahiat, Pattas, Parwanas, Rukkas, Chithiat etc.
Temples in Bikaner
Shiv Bari Temple (6 kms from Bikaner)
Fortified by a high wall the temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Maharaja
Doongar Singh constructed it in the ninth century in the memory of his father
Maharaj Lall Singhji. The temple has a beautiful wall panting of Nandi Bull
facing the Shiva Lingam. This is located on the way to the camel town.
Devi Kund (8 kms from Bikaner)
The royal crematorium has several exquisite cenotaphs (Chhatris). Each Chhatri
is dedicated to the memory of rulers of Bikaji dynasty and is situated on
the exact place where they were cremated. The Chhatri of Maharaj Surat Singh
is a fine example of architecture. The ceilings of the Chhatris displays
some delicate Rajput paintings.
Deshnok is a small village situated 32 km south from Bikaner city along
the Jodhpur Road. It is connected by national highway and rail. It is a
pilgrim centre of Karni Mata. Karni Mata, considered as an incarnation of
Goddess Durga lived here in the fourteenth century and performed many miracles.
Originally the village was called 'dus- nok' meaning ten corners as it was
formed by taking ten corners of ten villages.
Before the temple is a beautiful marble facade, which has solid silver doors
built by Maharaja Ganga Singh. Across the doorway are more silver doors
with panels depicting the various legends of the Goddess. The image of the
Goddess is enshrined in the inner sanctum.
Wildlife in Bikaner
Gajner Wildlife Sanctuary
(32 km): The lush foliage of woods on the Jaisalmer road are a haven to
nilgai, chinkara, black buck, wild boar , flocks of imperial sand grouse
and many more migratory birds that houses the sprawling forest in the winters.It
can be visited by jeeps with the forest officers as the guides.
To Reah Bikaner :
| Entry Fee
|| Rs 100 per head
| Fee for vehicle Entry
The nearest airport is Jodhpur 235km
Bikaner is connected with Delhi, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Bhatinda, kalka and Howarh
Some important train connection are :
Kalka Express (Bikaner-Jodhpur);
Bikaner Express (Delhi Sarai Rohilla-Bikaner),
Chetak Express (Delhi-Sarai Rohila-
Bikaner Mail (Delhi Sarai Rohila-Bikaner)
Bikaner is connected by road with the major cities of India.
Some important distance are : Delhi 456km Jaipur 334km, Jaisalmer 333 km
Bikener has its own peculiar items, typical to this region; its articles
made of camel and sheep, wool carpets and woolen items, wood and leather
products. The Bikaneri Bhujia, Rasgulla and sweets are popular all over
India. Shopping areas include inside Kot Gate, King Edwaed Memorial Road,
Khadi Industries Institute, Station Road, urmil Trust at Junagarh Fort.
Bank of Rajasthan
Central Bank of India
Central Cooperative Bank
Punjab National Bank
United Commercial Bank
State bank of Bikaner and Jaipur