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Anupriya Bedi Mar 31 2014

Can you tell me about some offbeat attractions in Bikaner?

Benazir Khan Mar 31 2014
1 person found this answer useful Useful ?Yes
The Junagarh Fort Museum is entirely taken up by royal clan memorabilia and
consists of everything from a World War I fighter aircraft to more personal
artefacts (including their original sandalwood throne). The Sadul Singh Museum within Lallgarh is almost bare in comparison, with only some utensils and miniature paintings of note. However, it does serve as an archive of all correspondence and publications by Bikaner’s First Family.

◆Fort and museum entry fee for Indians = INR 20, foreigners = INR 100 Camera Still INR 30, video INR 100. Timings 10 am-4.30 pm.

◆Sadul Singh Museum entry fee for Indians = INR 20, foreigners = INR 40 Cameras Still INR 50, video INR 100.

A photo of Junagarh Fort (by User:Flicka)

At the government managed Golden Jubilee Museum, Bikaner’s history is more neatly packaged under one roof. Here are large oils by the German artist Mueller, sculptures from the Gupta and Kushan periods (a Saraswati, in particular, is of sterling worth), remnants from pre-Harappan archaeological finds in Kalibangan as well as armour, coins, pottery and carpets of more recent vintage.

◆Entry Rs 3 Timings 10 am-4.30 pm, Sundays closed.

Anup Sanskrit Library at Lallgarh is one of the largest private collections of manuscripts in the country — many are originals, a number of these being in Sanskrit. The initial collection was put together by Maharaja Anup Singh, who ruled from 1669 to 1698, during his Golconda campaign (on behalf of Aurangzeb) to save them from possible destruction by the Mughals.

A photo of Lallgarh Palace by night (by Madelon van de Water Noledam)

There’s a family tussle over the property so scholars need to get permission from the warring parties. Among the temples, most popular with the masses is Shivbari, set within its own fortified walls and dedicated to Shiva. However, for the visitor driven less by faith and more by curiosity, visits are recommended to the temples of Ratan Bihari and Rasik Shiromani located within Ratan Bihari Park. These
mansion-style structures have handsome façades of sandstone and marble.
Also noteworthy is the 16th-century Bhandeshwar Jain Temple, particularly
its mirrors and gold-leafed paintings.

The picturesque Devikundsagar Chhatris are definitely worth a visit. Made of lime-based plaster and marble, these are memorials to members of the royal family. For those interested in symbolism, memorials carved with suns and lotuses mark the final resting places of princes and princesses respectively. Bikaner’s camel breeding farm is a unique institution devoted to improving indigenous species by cross breeding.

A photo of Bhandeshwar Jain Temple (by Goving 54549)

As a result, it is not unusual to find breeds of camel from far West Asia here. For rides into the dunes, get in touch with local operators, who arrange camel safaris into the desert as day trips or longer excursions. But be warned: though camel safaris sound glamorous, they can prove a bumpy ride.

◆Camera fee Rs 10 Timings 3-5 pm, Sundays closed.

The main shopping area is the market running the length of Mahatma Gandhi Road. Right at the end of the street is Katla at Kote Gate where you can find jooties. They can also be made to order in 24 hours (though they aren’t as comfortable as those of Jodhpur). Other typical buys include handprinted cotton textiles and tie-dyed saris and light quilts.

For miniature paintings in the Bikaner style, try Swami Art at Kirti Stambh, Lallgarh Palace Road. They also do paintings on order. Another art peculiar to Bikaner, that of gesso work on buffed camel-hide, has been recently revived and adapted to painting with 24-carat gold on wood. Opulent, if expensive.

A photo of the desert landscape that is Bikaner (by rajkumar1220)

You’re most likely to find examples of these at stores on MG Road or your hotel showrooms. But ask to meet the artisan directly should you wish to splurge on good art (a standard wooden mirror frame would cost between INR 4,000 and INR 10,000). However, it is the bhujia and related savouries that could well be the most
interesting buys. Visitors will also find the range of papads and baris tremendous buys.

Among the favourite shops are Bikaner Bhujia Bhandar, Haldiram’s (yes, the original!) and Chotu Motu Joshi, as well as a host of small shops on Station Road.

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