Bikaner is one of the important city in Rajasthan. It is located 330km northwest of the Jaipur. Bikaner was founded by rajput Rao Bika in 1486 and from its small origins. It has developed one of the fifth largest cities in Rajasthan.
Bikaner town, the district headquarters is surrounding by a 7km long embattled wall with five gateways. Today, it also famous for its woollen shawls, blankets, carpets and delicacies like bihujias, papads, sugar candies and rasgullas. The Camel Festival and Gangaur Festival are major attractions here.
Bikaner is situated in the middle of the Thar Desert so it has hot desert climate with very little rainfall and extreme temperatures. In summer temperatures can exceed 45 °C, and during the winter they may dip below freezing.
Bikaner is very hot when the temperatures lie in the range of 28 to 48.5 °C. In the winter, it is fairly cold when temperatures lying in the range of 5 to 23.2 °C. Annual rainfall is in the range of 260–440 millimetres.
Junagarh fort was built by Raja Rai Singh one of the most distinguished generals in the army of Emperor Akbar, the sixth ruler of Bikaner who reigned from 1571 to 1612. Rai Singh had conquered part of Marwar and had been granted territory in Gujurat and Burhanpur by the Mughal emperor Akbar as a reward for his services as military commander. This, as well as funding from Jodhpur, enabled him to build the fort. Rai Singh held high rank in the imperial courts of both Akbar and his successor, Jehangir. During his imperial service he travelled extensively, giving him an appreciation of art and architecture. These ideas have been incorporated meticulously into the architectural style of Junagarh Fort.
Laxmi Niwas Palace
The Laxmi Niwas Palace is a former residential palace built by Maharajah Ganga Singh, the ruler of the former state of Bikaner. It was designed by the British architect, Samuel Swinton Jacob in the year 1902. The style of architecture is Indo-Saracenic. It is now a luxury hotel owned by Golden Triangle Fort & Palace P. Ltd. The magnificent structure in red sandstone is one of the most popular destinations for tourists in Bikaner.
Bhandeshwar Jain Temple
Bhandeshwar Jain Temple is one of the oldest existing monuments of the 15th century shrine of Bikaner; this temple is adorned with rich mirror work, frescoes and gold leaf paintings. This temple was built by a Jain merchant, Bhanda Shah. The foundation of this temple was filled by pure ghee and dry coconuts. This temple is mainly famous for wall paintings and usta art. The temple is built of red sandstone and is divided in three floors. One can see the skyline of Bikaner by climbing to the topmost floor of this temple.
The royal crematorium has several exquisite cenotaphs (Chhatris), with delicate Rajput paintings in the ceiling. The graceful white marble Chhatri of Maharaja Surat Singh is a fine piece of architecture.
Often described as an incomparable Jewel in the Thar desert, this palace was built by the great Maharaja Ganga Singhji of Bikaner, as a hunting and relaxing lodge for royal guests. Located on the embankment of a lake, the thick forests surrounding the palace are rich in flora and fauna.
Ganga Sing Museum
One of the best museums in the state, the display includes a rich treasure of antiquities from Harappan civilization, Gupta and Kushan era.
Bikaner is known for its ornately carved red sandstone havelis (ancient mansions of the noble and wealthy). The havelis are known for their opulent lifestyle, intricate carvings and sprawling courtyards.
Prachina Museum is located in the great Junagarh Fort, this museum is dedicated to royal costumes, textiles and accessories. ‘Poshaks’ or the ladies ensembles displayed here are perhaps the last remnants of the traditional designing styles and workmanship. The museum also reveals a study of Changing cultural trends in its display of family portraits of the former rulers.
Rajasthan State Archives
Internationally acclaimed for its rich collection of administrative records of the princely states of Rajasthan during the Mughal period.
Raj Ratan Bihari & Rasik Siromani Temple
These palatial 19th century shrines within Ratan Bihari Park were built by Rattan Singhji and Sadar Singhji.
Shiv Bari Temple (6km)
This 19th century Shiva temple was built by Maharaja Doongar Singhji and is fortified with high walls and beautiful paintings.
This small town on the road to Jodhpur is known for the unique shrine goddess karni Mata. The shrine is famous for its rats, which are venerated here.
Gajner Wildlife Sanctuary (32km)
The lush foliage of woods on the Jaisalmer orad are a haven to nilgai, chinkara, black buck, wild boar, flocks of imperial sand grouse and many more migratory birds that visit the sprawling lake and forest during winter. It can be visited by jeep with forest officers as guides. Season: November to February.
The temple complex of Kolyat is a holy place of pilgrimage for Hindus and is considered a place of 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.
How to Reach There
The nearest airport is at Jodhpur (243 km). Bikaner is well connected by rail with Jodhpur, Jaipur, Dehi, Kalka, Kolkata and Mumbai. A good network of roads connects Bikaner with other parts of the state.