Bikaner was founded in 1488 by a descendant of the founder of Jodhpur named Rao Bhikaji. The city is encircled by high fortifications comprising a 7 km long wall which bounds the old city and has 5 entrances. All these were established in the 18th century. Bikaner, the sprawling desert city of Rajasthan is an interesting site of traditional Rajasthani attractions, well-fed camels and citadels. This camel country is also famous for its exotic camel safaris, its gorgeous forts and the worship of thousands of holy rats at Mata Kali temple.
Places to see in Bikaner:
• Junagarh Fort
Junagarh Fort was constructed between 1588 and 1593 by Raja Rai Singh, a general in the army of Mughal emperor Akbar, with embellishments in the form of palaces and Luxurious suites added by subsequent Maharajas. This fort has a 986m-long wall with 37 bastions, a moat and two entrances. The Surajpol or the 'Sun Gate' is the main entrance. The palaces within the fort are on the southern side and make a picturesque ensemble of courtyards, balconies, kiosks, towers and windows. A major feature of fort and palaces is the superb quality of stone carving.
• Devi Kund
Ayoyal crematorium with several ornamented cenotaphs or "chhatris' built in the memory of the Bika dynasty rulers. Maharaja Suraj Singh chhatri is the most impressive of all creative entirely in white marble with spectacular Rajput painting on the ceiling.
• Lalgarh Palace
The Lalgarh Palace built by Maharaja Ganga Singh in the memory of his father is an architectural splendor in red sandstone. It is situated 3 kms north of Bikaner city. Designed by Sir Swinton Jacob, it has beautiful latticework and filigree work in sandstone. The palace is quite entirely imposing with overhanging balconies and delicate latticework. The gardens with wandering peacocks and blooming bougainvillea welcome the visitors to the palace.
• Camel Research Farm
Spend a day with indispensable ship of the desert at their camel research and breeding centre-one of its kind in Asia. Timing 15.00hrs to 17.00hrs (Closed on Sundays and government holidays) Photography prohibited. The farm extends over 2000 acres of semiarid land is managed by the central Government. The camel crops of Bikaner were a famous fighting force during the Raj and are still an important part of the desert warfare and defence through the border security Force (BSF).
• Deshnok's Karni Mata Temple
The famous 600 year old temple on the Jodhpur road dedicated to Karni Mata, an incarnation of Goddess Durga. The temple has huge intricately carved silver gates, which were donated by Maharaja Ganga Singh The most interesting thing about the temple are the rats who scamper freely within the sanctum sanctorum of the temple.
The name Kalibanga itself does not say much but to a student of history it is immediately recognized as one of the important sites of the Indus Valley Civilization that flourished around 3000 to 5000 years BC. Kalibanga is a major site of the IVC-a monument. Due to years of negligence the precious evidence so painstakingly excavated has crumbled into unrecognizable rubble.
Excursion of Bikaner:
Gajner Palace a summer resort of Bikaner Maharajas -has often been described as ' an incomparable jewel in the Thar desert'. Built by Maharaja Ganga Singh ji of Bikaner, palace stands on the embankment of a lake .The palace was used by Maharaja for grand shoots and lavish entertainment. Royalty, Indian as well as international, Viceroys and other dignitaries have been entertained at this grand palace. The architecture of Gajner palace is truly outstanding.
45 kms from the city on Jaipur Road, the village is rich in ethnic rural and cultural life. View sunset with typical desert landscape around, walk on a range of sand dunes and enjoy desert lifestyle. Villagers main profession is cattle rearing and milk production. The founder of Jasnathi sect of fire dancers- Jasnathji hail from this very place. Herds of chinkara, desert fox, rabbit, peacock, parrot and pat ridges are found in plenty around the village.
Devi Kund Sagar
The Royal crematorium has several exquisite cenotaphs which were built in memory of the deceased members of the ruling family of Bikaner. The Chhatries (Cenotaphs) of the early rulers were made of red sandstone, ornamentation on which resembles very much with carving work on some of the buildings of Fatehpur Sikri.
How to Reach Bikaner:
Jodhpur is the nearest Airport. Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan is well connected by Regular flights from all the metros cities of India--. Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai.
A good rail network with cities connects Bikaner like Delhi, Kolkata, Jaipur and Allahabad. The "Palace on Wheels" luxury train also covers Bikaner in its eight-day tour of Rajasthan.
Bikaner is connected by road with the major cities in India. National and State Highways link Bikaner with the other major cities and metros in India. Delhi is 456km, Jaipur 334km and Jaisalmer 333km from Bikaner.