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Home » Most Famous Travel Cities » Bikaner Tourism

Bikaner Tourism

Bikaner Tourism Bikaner Tourism
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Bikaner was founded in 1488 AD., by Rao Bikaji, a descendant of the founder of Jodhpur, Rao Jodha is the city of the royal walled, the northern most point on the triangle of desert cities. Like Jaisalmer, in the south, it was, once, an important trade centre. The old city is bolstered, by 7 km long imposing walls, with 5 entrance gates, built in the 18th century. The fort and palace, made of the same reddish-pink sandstone, as the famous structures in Jaipur, lie outside the city walls. The influence of the outside world is minimal here, and the traditional lifestyle of yore endures.

Under Rai Singh, who came to the throne in 1573, Junagarh Fort was built and closer ties were forged with the Moghuls; Rai Singh gave his daughter in marriage to one of Akbar's sons. Later, during the fifty-six-year reign of Ganga Singh in the early 1900s, new agricultural schemes, irrigation work, town planning and the construction of a rail link with Delhi helped Bikaner's economic advance; it has long since outgrown the confines of the city wall, and the population has tripled in size since 1947 to almost half a million. Although Bikaner was intrinsically linked by blood to the rest of Rajputana, historically it charted a different course. The Rathore-Mughal friendship really flourished especially during Akbar’s reign. After the Maharaja of Jaipur and his son, Raja Rai Singh of Bikaner was the ‘highest ranked Hindu’ in Akbar’s court. Relations worsened later thanks to Aurangzeb’s bigotry, but Bikaner holds the distinction of maintaining its independence for the best part of 500 years. In a sense if Jaipur is called the pink city, Bikaner is no less with the colour a few shades deeper here, and a great deal more pervasive. Situated on elevated ground, the medieval city of Bikaner has all the romance of the Arabian nights. As you approach it, you half expect a few Rajput princes to come riding at you on their steeds, brandishing their weapons, challenging you to a duel.The fortifications of Junagarh include a 5-6 km long crenellated stone wall in rich pink sandstone.There are five gates and three sally ports, the walls varying in height from 15 feet to 30 feet.

Camel Safari in Bikaner
Camel treks are not as established in Bikaner as they are in Jaisalmer, but the growing numbers of visitors who opt for a safari from here are invariably glad they did so. This eastern part of the desert, while just as scenic as the western Thar, is not nearly as congested with fellow trekkers, with the result that local people in the villages along the route are genuinely pleased and surprised to see you. Wildlife in the area is also abundant, and during a three-day safari you can be pretty sure of spotting demoiselle cranes, black buck, nilgai , desert foxes, monitor lizards and the odd chameleon.

Places to see

Junagarh Fort
Built between 1588 and 1593 by Raja Raj Singh, a general in the army of the Mughal Emperor Akbar, the fort has a 96 metre -long wall, with 37 bastions and two entrances. The Suraj Pol, or Sun Gate, is the main entrance to the fort. The distinctive feature of this fort and its palaces, is the unparalleled quality of the stone carving. Amongst the palaces, housed within the structure,( located at the southern end), the ones worth a visit are the Chandra Mahal or Moon Palace, the Phool Mahal or Flower Palace (both decorated with mirrors and carved panels) and the Karan Mahal, which was built to commemorate a grand victory over the Mughal despot, Aurangzeb. Other places of interest, include the Durga Niwas, which is a handsomely painted courtyard, and the Ganga Niwas, another large courtyard, which sports a finely carved red sandstone front.

Bhandeshwar Jain Temples
Beautiful 16th century Jain temples, dedicated to the 23rd Tirthankar Parshvanathji. Other important shrines of Bikaner include the Lakshminathji, Ratan Biharji, Shiv Bari and Nagnechiji temple. The Bhaironji temple at Kodamesar, about 40 kms from Bikaner is another popular site.

Ganga Golden Jubilee Museum
This Museum has one of the richest collections of terracota-ware, weapons and miniature paintings of the Bikaner school.

Karni Mata Temple, Deshnoke
This 600 year old temple is dedicated to Karni Mata, a famous mystic of her times, believed to be an incarnation of goddess Durga. Legend has it, that she foretold the victory of Rao Bika. Here, rats are considered holy, owing to the belief, that the souls of the devotees of the Mata, are resident in these rats and, consequently, they must be looked after. The huge silver gates to the temple, and the marble carvings were donated by Maharaja Ganga Singh.

Gajner Wildlife Sanctuary
A wildlife sanctuary, 32 kms from Bikaner, surrounded by hillocks, and a lovely lake by the side. An old royal summer palace stands on the bank of the lake, and is often used as a hotel. Imperial sand grouse, nilgai, chinkara, wild boar and black buck are soem of the inhabitants of the sanctuary.

Lalgarh Palace
About 3 km north of the city centre, is the Lalgarh Palace or Red Fort, built by Maharaja Ganga Singh in memory of his father Maharaja Lal Singh. Designed by Sir Swinton Jacob, the palace is made of red sandstone (hence, its name), and has exquisite latticework. The palace is a successful blend of oriental facade and occidental interiors.

Bikaner - Arts & Crafts
From the 18th century onwards, the tie and dye textiles called bandhani has become an important craft of Bikaner. Tie and dye odhnis (long scarves worn around the neck or head by women) are very popular in Bikaner. If you tour the city, you’d come across dyers dipping fabrics in huge vats to make exquisite tie and dye odhnis, while in the shadow of ruined fortresses, the dyers dry hand-block printed fabrics.

Bikaner - Fairs & Festivals
Bikaner’s cultural heritage is essentially indigenous as the harsh topography and climate makes frequent cultural intercourse with neighbouring regions difficult. But, despite the hardship, the people have developed a spontaneous capacity to happily observe festive occasions. The festivals celebrated in Bikaner are Shitla Ashthmi, Gangaur, Navratri, Ram Navmi, Akshya Tritya, Sawni Teej, Bhadva Teej, Deepawali, Makar Sankranti and Holi. Kolayat fair, Shivbari fair, Jetha Bhutta fair, Ramdeoji Fair, Dusshera fair are the main melas. Most of them are celebrated all over the country, and we shall restrict ourselves to discussing those events which are exclusive to Bikaner.

How to Reach

Air
The nearest airport is Jodhpur (243 km).

Rail

Bikaner is well connected with Delhi, Jaipur, Jodhpur and Udaipur.

Road

Regular bus services link Bikaner to Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Ajmer and Kolayat.

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