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Destination Covered : New Delhi – Agra – Jaipur – Bikaner – Jaisalmer – Jodhpur Ranakpur – Udaipur – Chittorgarh – Pushkar - Mandawa - New Delhi
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Bikaner Travel Guide
Home >> Rajasthan Cities >> Bikaner Travel Guide

Bikaner Fact File

Location:

Northern Rajasthan, India
325 Kms. from Jaipur and 250 Kms. from Jodhpur.

Major Attractions:

Karni Mata Temple, Junagarh Fort, Lallgarh Palace and Camel Breeding Farm

Must Experience:

Visiting Junagarh Fort, Bhandasar Jain Temples and Deshnoke Temple – Temple of Rats and enjoying Camel Ride at Camel Breeding Farm.

Popular for: 

Bikaneri Bhujias, Sweets and Snacks

Shopping:

Shopping areas include inside Kot Gate, King Edwaed Memorial Road, Khadi Industries Institute, Station Road, Urmil Trust at Junagarh Fort.

STD Code:

0151

Best Time to Visit:

November to February

Language:

Hindi, English and Marwari

Getting there:

Air: The nearest airports are Jodhpur 235 Kms. and Jaipur (320 Kms.)
Train: Bikaner is well connected with Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Bhatinda, kalka and Howarh (Culcutta).
Road: Bikaner is well connected with metallic roads with major cities of Rajasthan.

About Bikaner:
Bikaner was founded by Rao Bikaji, second of the 16 sons of Rao Jodha, the founder of Jodhpur in 1488. Bikaner is located in the northern part of Rajasthan. Still retaining its old world charm, Bikaner is one place in India that is known all through the world for having the best camels for riding. Bikaner is famous for its imposing palaces and forts and are a must visit if you are traveling to Rajasthan.

Bikaner also has a camel-breeding farm, which is considered to be the largest in the world. The Camel is an essential part of the lifestyle of people in Bikaner and Rajasthan. It is a very useful animal that does heavy manual work and also serves as a means of transportation in the desert. Travel to Bikaner in Rajasthan and know more about this beautiful place that is also known as the "camel country”. The captivating desert scenery with all the majesty of its sand dunes, hard, rocky soil and thorny shrubs growing here and there, makes Bikaner endearing to nature lovers. The forts and red sandstone construction are the chief attractions of the city. It is a royal city surrounded by a mammoth fortification wall, more than 5 km in circumference and about 5 to 9m high.

Lying on the northern tip of the desert tourist triangle, Bikaner was a one of the significant staging post of the silk route in the days when businessmen used to travel mostly on camel caravans. Bikaner was founded in 1486 A.D. and was named after its founder, Rao Bikaji.

The Camel Breeding Farm in Bikaner is only one of its kinds in whole Asia and so is the illustrious Camel Festival. Bikaner is bright and alive and colorful with its traditional costumes, vivacious fairs and festivals, paintings and murals and electrifying wares and hoards of artistic skills that have been there for centuries.

Bikaner is well known for its Karni Mata Temple fair that is held every year. The temple is a famous tourist attraction and is definitely visited by anyone coming to Rajasthan. Every year in January the state Government organizes a camel fair that attracts people form not just all over Rajasthan but also tourists from near and far.

Shop in Bikaner for items made out of camel hide such as belts, wallets, bags, and jootis (footwear) and many more. Carpets made of camel and sheep wool are a specialty. These days colorful carpets with intricate designs made with a blend of Bikaner wool and New Zealand wool are gaining popularity. Unique Kundan jewellery and setting uncut stones, usually diamonds, into gold to decorate the swords to sweet boxes, and using enamel ornamentation to enhance their splendor in the "raised field" technique are quite a craze. 'Nokha Quilts', known for lightweight and good insulation, cotton fabrics with sanganeri prints, tie and dyes, paintings, embroidered shoes also attract attention of the tourists. In Bikaner, Kote Gate (King Edward Memorial Road) and Junagarh Fort are the main shopping areas.

Bikaner in Rajasthan, India is still preserving the medieval magnificence that was once the hallmark of the state. Along with the amazing structures of the city, it is the cheerful people that further enhance the attractiveness of the city. Apart from that the Bikaner fairs also attracts a number of tourists. A trip to Bikaner will leave you mesmerized with the grandeur of the city.

History of Bikaner:
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 3000 villages.

The history of Bikaner is the history of cultural splendor, arts, handicrafts, folk traditions and more.  Lying 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.

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.

Monuments and Places to Visit in Bikaner:
Junagarh Fort - 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 moat. The main entrance to the fort is Karan Pol [gate] that is east facing. Next to it is the Suraj Pol meaning the sun gate. The fort situates in it some very magnificent palaces like Anup Mahal, Ganga Niwas and Rang Mahal or palace of pleasure. The Har Mandir is the majestic chapel for the royal family for worshipping their gods and goddesses. These palaces, constructed in red sandstone and marble, make a picturesque ensemble of courtyards, balconies, kiosks and windows dotted all over the structure. The premises also houses a museum which is an array of a rich collection.
Lalgarh Palace - 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. The Palace has an amazing collection of well-maintained paintings and hunting trophies. Sprawling lawns with blooming bougainvillea and dancing peacocks make a visual extravagance.
Jain Haveli - 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 Temples - 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.
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.

Sadul Museum: This museum is maintained in the first floor of the Lalghar Palace. It has a wide array of Georgian paintings and rare artifacts in its collection. A visit to the museum reveals the Maharaja's profound interest in art. It also houses a collection of the former Maharaja's personal possessions - which include an electric toothbrush, golf clubs, camera, passport etc.

Prachina Museum: 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: Shiv Bari Temple is 06 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: 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 Temple: 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 Temple, 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.

The specialty of the temple is that it is inhabited by legions of brown rats which scurry around the complex without any fear. The rats are believed to be respositories of the souls of dead charans, the traditional bards. Devotees offer milk, grains and sweets to these rats during the time to aarti. There are so many rats on the floor that people have to watch where they step. Sighting a while mouse is considered auspicious. It is believed that the Maharaja of Bikaner had a vision in which the goddess asked him to protect the rats and for this reason, there is bronze wire mesh across the temple.

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. The elaborate works on the main gate of the temple is a tribute to the fine craftsmanship of the artisans of those days. On the occasion of Navratri, this temple hosts a fair which attracts hordes of pilgrims from places far the near.

Wildlife in Bikaner:

Gajner Wildlife Sanctuary: Gajner Wildlife Sanctuary is 32 Kms. from Bikaner. 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.

Excursions:

Camel Research Farm: 08 kms. from Bikaner, Camel Research Farm is considered to be the largest Camel breeding Farm in the world. 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 Palace: Gajner Palace is a spectacular architectural edifice in the Thar Desert built on the embankment of a lake. Built by H.H. Maharaja Sir Ganga Singhji of Bikaner, this Grand Heritage property is spread over 6000 acres. Gajner Palace served as a hunting resort by the former Maharajas and visiting British dignitaries during the days of the Raj. During the reign of Maharaja Ganga Singhji, this palace was used for grand shoots and lavish entertainment. Christmas season was often celebrated with prearranged duck and Imperial Sand Grouse hunting. Royalty, both, National and International, Viceroys and other dignitaries were invited on this grand occasion.

The Palace now has a private wildlife sanctuary, which is home to endangered antelopes like the chinkara, black buck, neelgai and other animals. During winter months, the lake becomes home to more than a hundred species of migratory birds, including the Imperial Sand Grouse. While at Gajner Palace, one can see the photographs of the days of the Raj which have been meticulously arranged in the corridors. Each suite has been carefully restored to its original grandeur; right from the furniture to the wall paper, every little detail has been recreated.

During the stay at Gajner Palace, one should try a camel, horse or a jeep safari into the wildlife sanctuary. The wildlife is plentiful and the best time for the safari is the early morning or the evenings when the wildlife flocks to the lake to drink water.

Kolyatji:
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, Katariasar Village 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 inhabitants 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.

Climate:
Typically a desert climate, the days in Bikaner are hot and nights are chilly. In summers the temperatures range between 28ºC to 41.8ºC while, in winters, temperatures range from 23.2ºC to 5ºC.

How to reach Bikaner:

Air: - Bikaner does not have an official airport. Nal Airport, 17 kms from the city, which normally serves as India Air Force airfield, remains open to civilian flights to and from Bikaner from November to March. The nearest international airports to Bikaner are Jodhpur and Jaipur.

Train: - Bikaner is well connected with all the major cities by the network of trains such as New Delhi, Jaipur, Mumbai, Kolkata, Agra, Churu and many more. From New Delhi, there are day and night trains that take about 12 hours to make the km trip to Bikaner. The Railway Station is situated in the heart of the city. Some important train connections are: Kalka Express (Bikaner - Jodhpur); Bikaner Express (Delhi Sarai Rohilla - Bikaner), Chetak Express (Delhi - Sarai Rohila) and Bikaner Mail (Delhi Sarai Rohila - Bikaner).

Road: - Rajasthan tourism and private operators run luxury coaches, which include Rajasthan Roadway Deluxe, Super deluxe and air-conditioned buses, linking Bikaner to all the major cities such as New Delhi, Udaipur, Ajmer and Agra. The intercity bus station is centrally located opposite the Lallgarh Palace. Some important distances are: Delhi 456 Kms, Jaipur 334 Kms, and Jaisalmer 333 Kms.

Local: - Cycle - rickshaws and Taxis are available.

For more details kindly enquire now for the above proposed tour.

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