in the north of the desert state, the city is dotted with scores of sand
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
dates back to 1488 when a Rathore prince, Rao
founded his kingdom
was one the five sons of Rao Jodhaji
founder of Jodhpur
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 3000 villages.
is the result of the foresight of its most
eminent ruler Maharaja Ganga Singh
(1887 1943) whose
reformative zeal set the pace for Bikaner
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.
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
an interesting experience to explore.
Attractions of Bikaner
Situated en route to Jodhpur
, the temple
is dedicated to Karni Mata -an
incarnation of Durga
. The temple has fascinating huge silver gates
and marble carvings that were donated by Maharaja Ganga Singhji
The most attractive feature of temple
are the rodents who
scamper freely within the premises and if one touches your feet its
considered auspicious. They are regarded sacred and devotees buy prasad
(feeding) to offer to them.
A famous pilgrimage spot with a temple
(saint) is situated 50 kms from Bikaner on
highway leading to Jaisalmer
sat in meditation near lake.Muni
propounder of Sankhya Philosophy
The temple is the venue
for an annual fair held in the month of Kartik (Oct-Nov) when the thousands
of devotees gather in a large number to take a sacred dip in the holy waters
of the Kolayat lake
( Kapil Sarovar
the full moon day. Lake
is considered to have the effect
of washing off the sins of devotees. A cattle fair ,especially for the
trading of camels is a part of he festivities.The town is connected to
by road as well as rail.
The architectural masterpiece in red sandstone was built by Maharaja
Ganga Sing (1881 AD-1942 AD) in memory of his father
Maharaja Lall Singh between 1902 -1926.This magnificent palace is
an example of pure Rajput martial architecture. Designed by Sir Swinton
Jacob, this palace has several grand halls, lounges, cupolas and pavilions.
The exotic palace has magnificent pillars, richly carved fire mantles ,
Italian colonnades and motif of lotus in full bloom, adding to the magic of
this jewel of the desert. Walls of palaces are reminiscent of the past
vintage etchings, hunting trophies and old portraits.
The treasure trove where the guests can spend hours 'walking in the past'.
The palace has it's own museum and library (the fourth largest in the
world), clay pigeon trap and skeet shooting traps facilities at adjoining
ranges. Palace has wild peacocks spreading their feathers at almost every
step flowering rows of bougainvillea. Bikaner royal family
still lives in part of the palace. A portion of palace is now a hotel.
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, both Indian as well as
international, Viceroys and other dignitaries have been entertained at this
The architecture of Gajner palace is truly outstanding. Built in red
sandstone with intricately carved pillars, jharokhas and screens , the
craftsmanship here is amazing. Palace is surrounded by beautiful wooded
area, now a preserved sanctuary which provides shelter to chinkaras ,
blackbucks, blue bull (neel gai) and flocks of imperial sand grouse. A part
of palace has been transformed into hotel.
The princelly state of Bikaner was founded by Rao
Bika Ji in the year 1488 A.D. Since the foundation of Bikaner,
the rulers of Bikaner had a prominent and glorious role in
the history of India.
Keeping with the rich and glorious past of Bikaner,
daughter of present Maharaja Narendra Singh Ji recently
(Oct, 2000) opened a museum "PRACHINA". It is an
endeavor to recreate the past and highlight the pace of modernization
activated with times and a representation of regional museum as there was a
lacuna of courtly tradition and craft Museum in Bikaner.
"PRACHINA" is an effort to highlight the
aristocratic patronage which thrived and survived in Bikaner. This museum
hopes to build and develop a cultural center to revive the dying craft of
Bikaner and amalgamate it to present life.
Devi Kund Sagar (Cenotaphs)
Devi Kund Sagar is situated 8 km in the east of city. The
members of ruling family of Bikaner subsequent to
Jet Singh, the great grandson of Rao Bikaji,
have been cremated here.On the sides of reservoir of water lie the Royal
cenotaphs of rulers of Bikaner dynasty from Rao
Kalyan Singhji to last Maharaji Karni Singhji as well as those of
their wives and other important members of families.There are cenotaphs
(Chhatries) of 22 SATIES of royal family prior to Maharaja Gaj Sigh Ji
(1745-1787). There is also one cenotaph of a SATA (male sati) of a ruler.The
architecture of the cenotaphs is the prime attraction of this place.
Maharaja Surat Singh's Chhatri is built entirely in white
marble with spectacular Rajput paintings on its ceiling.
Close by is a Dargah of Rustal Ali Shah Peer which is held
in high esteem by muslim community and other people.
Shri Laxminath Temple
Lakshmi Nath Temple is one of the oldest temples of
Bikaner. The foundation of Bikaner was
laid here in the year 1488 A.D. by Rao Bikaji. It being a historical
monument has special identity. This temple was erected during the reign of
Rao Lunkaran and boasts of the superb archeological skills
of artists and artisans . It was later develpoed by Maharaja Ganga
Singh Ji. Statues of deities- Vishnu and Laxmi - have all along
received the unwavering devotion of countless people through the last four
and half centuries.
Built by Dungar Singhji in the late 19th century. The temple is surrounded
by an embattlement wall. It has four-faced black marble Shiva statue and a
bronze Nandi facing the Shiva-Lingam. There are two large reservoirs of
water known as bawaris.
This red sandstone temple attracts thousands of visitors during Shravan
(Feb) especially on mondays.
How To Get There - Bikaner
The nearest airport is Jodhpur Airport
Bikaner is connected with Delhi, Jaipur and Jodhpur and other parts of
India through rail network.
Bikaner is also accessible by roads and buses are available.