Located in the north of Rajasthan, Bikaner is home to a spectacular fort containing intricately carved palaces and temples. On your vacation tour to Bikaner you can visit the old city dotted with havelis and surrounded by 7 km of high walls. Added to this it has a certain un-spoilt charm, retaining the medieval splendor.
While on vacation tour to Bikaner you can enjoy a camel ride, as the city offers you the best riding camels in the world and hence boasts of having one of the largest camel research and breeding farms in the world. The commercial city of Bikaner was founded in 1486 by Bika, one of five sons of Rao Jodha, the Rathore king who established Jodhpur as the capital of the state of Marwar. The Junagarh Fort was built during the reign of Rai Singh who succeeded to the throne in 1573. He entered into matrimonial alliance with the Mughals giving his daughter in marriage to one of Akbar’s sons.
The next most important king of the line was Ganga Singh whose fifty-six-year reign (1887-1943) witnessed a rapid advance in agriculture, irrigation, town planning and the construction of a rail link with Delhi. This resulted in Bikaner’s economic growth. Since then the town has come a long way in coming out of the confines of the city wall, which is reflected in the rapid growth of population to about half a million.
Today, Bikaner with its splendid forts and palaces, colorful bazaars, is an irresistible travel destination. It is also famous for its skilled lacquer work and handicrafts and hand-woven woolen shawls and blankets.
Your vacation tour to Bikaner becomes more flexible and easy with the city being well connected with several destinations including Jaipur, Churu, Jodhpur and Delhi by rail. There are frequent express buses to the following destinations: Delhi, Agra, Ahemdabad, Jodhpur, Ajmer, Jaipur, Jaisalmer, Barmer, Jhunjhunu, Kota and Udaipur.
Vacation Tour to Bikaner and Sightseeing
The Junagarh fort was built between 1587 and 1593 by Raja Rai Singh, one of the most distinguished generals in the Mughal army. Unassailable, the fort has the unique distinction of being unconquered all through the period. It can be approached by the Karan Pol (gate), which is its main entrance. Next to it is the Suraj Pol meaning the sun gate. The fort contains some very splendid palaces like Ganga Niwas, Anup Mahal, and Rang Mahal or palace of pleasure.
Of these the Anup Mahal is the grandest construction, with wooden ceilings inlaid with mirrors, Italian tiles and delicate latticework on the windows and balconies. The Har Mandir is the magnificent temple. These palaces are made of red sandstone and marble and present a wonderful ensemble of courtyards, balconies, kiosks and windows dotted all over the structure. Within the compound of the fort is a housed a museum which is home to a fine collection of antiques.
Lal Garh Palace
Built by Maharaja Ganga Singh in the memory of his father Maharaja Lal Singh in 1902, Lal Garh Palace is an architectural marvel in red sandstone. A fine synthesis of Rajput, Mughal and European architecture, the palace has now been converted into a hotel. The palace has some beautiful latticework, detailed carvings and filigree work, which are hallmarks of a great craftsmanship.
Ganga Singh Museum
Arguably the best museum in Rajasthan, the Ganga Golden Jubilee Museum (daily except Fri 10 AM – 4.30 PM; Rs 3) is home to a fine collection of archaeological discoveries from prehistoric Harrapan. On display are arts and crafts, costumes, weapons, ornaments, carpets, ancient statues and paintings, one of which depicts the signing of the Versailles Treaty by Ganga Singh. Other exhibits include terracottas from the Gupta period dating back to the fourth and fifth centuries AD.
Bikaner’s old city can be approached through Kote Gate, the main entrance. It houses great attractions, which include some extraordinary havelis such as Rampuriya Haveli, and Bhanwar Niwas Haveli.
Located 32 km south of Bikaner on the Jodhpur Road, Deshnok is famous for its Karni Mata Temple. Legend has it that Karni Mata, an incarnation of Mother Goddess Durga, used to stay here and so this temple has been dedicated to her. The temple is also famous for teeming hordes of free-roaming rats, which are considered holy by the devotees and are thus worshiped and fed by them.