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bikaner
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Once Rao Jodha, the founder of Jodhpur, scolded his brother and his son Bika for whispering in court, asking whether the two were plotting to build their own kingdom. They took the remark to heart. For 30 years, Bika led a band of freebooters all over Rajasthan till he settled down in Bikaner. Most of what was built by those warriors, the Rathores, still stands, a testimony as much to the quality of the construction as to the arid conditions in Bikaner that retard decay.
A majestic city of forts and royal palaces, Bikaner is a famous city in Rajasthan well known for its vibrancy and rich culture all across the globe. This princely state has almost every thing to attract tourist. The sweets and snacks of the city are well known for its delicious taste. This royal city of Rajasthan was founded by an audacious Rathore prince Rao Bikaji in 1486. Retaining the glory of the olden times all across the amplitude, Bikaner portrays a royal lifestyle with magnificent palaces and forts like the Junagarh Fort and Lal Garh Palace.

The city settles towards the northern Rajasthan and it features sand dunes in the vast golden desert. With the largest Camel Research and Breeding farms in the world the city offers the best camel rides. The camels are beautifully adorned with local handicrafts. Alongside these general tourist attractions the vibrant markets in Bikaner is a must visit, they offer the flourished artistry, handicrafts and delicacies of Rajasthan.

Bikaner, or ‘Bika’s fort’, is simply named for its founder Rao Bika. The city was established as a kingdom in 1489 by Rao Bika, younger son of Rao Jodha, who established Jodhpur. On the face of it, Bikaner is dusty, illkempt at the edges, vestiges of a past grandeur shining through but not quite managing to obliterate the haphazard growth. But then it’s a town known less for its architectural splendours — though these are truly marvellous — than for its savouries. Bikaneri bhujia may have become an exportable commodity in recent years; but once Bikaner’s greatest export was its international diplomacy, raised to a fine art in the course of the sandgrouse shoots arranged by Maharaja Ganga Singh (r. 1887-1943), remembered as the founder of modern Bikaner.

At least two days are required to do proper justice to Bikaner’s older heritage, however, plus at least another day in Gajner. Bikaner’s history is inextricably linked with that of its ruling family and their seat of power, Junagarh. This red sandstone fort lies at the centre of Bikaner. At first glance, it appears to be a low mass of buildings, which, though impressive, does not exactly have a majestic mien. But in an almost flat country surrounded by shifting sands, it was difficult to find a naturally imposing site. So, Raja Rai Singh (r. 1570-1612) started building Junagarh a full century after Bikaner had been founded at Rati Ghati which now lies on the outskirts of the city, with only fragments remaining of the original fort’s walls. In 1586, Rai Singh ordered the more spacious and strategically superior fortification of Junagarh, surrounded by a moat for defence.

Enter through its stone elephant-flanked gates, go past the handprints of the ranis whose lives culminated in sati, and you come to the impressive ceremonial courtyard, where you get a first glimpse of the architectural treasure of Junagarh. The most opulent of the palaces within is Anup Mahal, which includes the Raj Tilak Mahal (or Coronation Hall), that has embossed lacquer-work of striking lavishness. Badal Mahal, painted with large blue clouds (perhaps aspirational in this desert state), gives pride of place to a large portrait of Maharaja Sardar Singh (r. 1851-72), painted by a visiting Italian artist. Open courtyards, interspersing the fort, lead RAJASTHAN 306 HERITAGE HOLIDAYS IN INDIA into the different apartments. 

In one of these, durbars would be held with the maharaja seated on a marble platform rising from a pool of water. The courtyards house the family temple of Joramal, as well as Har Mandir, where royal weddings took place and royal births were celebrated. The Karan Mahal courtyard leads to Dungar Niwas, with its fine inlays reminiscent of pietra dura. The Chandra Mahal is beautifully painted and was built by Gaj Singh (r. 1746-87), along with Phul Mahal. Maharaja Ganga Singh, the last of the royals to inhabit Junagarh, gifted it a pair of grand sandstone staircases as well as its stately Durbar Hall, which has — somewhat unusual for a Rajput monument — a floor as well as ceiling made entirely of wood. 

The hall is now a museum filled with an eclectic collection of family and clan memorabilia. The entrance courtyard of the fort now also houses Prachin, a storehouse of vintage textiles and costumes, as well as a few souvenir shops. The greatest symbol of Bikaner’s aspiration to be one of the world’s modern kingdoms was the building of Lallgarh Palace (named after Maharaja Lall Singh, who spelt his name with two lls).

On the one hand, it served to advertise Ganga Singh’s endeavour to make Bikaner more robust economically (to which end he developed the state railways to exploit local coal deposits and commissioned the Ganga Canal to overcome frequent drought). On the other, it also served as a link with the continuing traditions of the past. And all this was achieved through an architectural plan drafted by Sir Swinton Jacob, the foremost architect of the early 20th century.

A huge but compact palace, Lallgarh is built — appropriately — entirely of red sandstone. Its façade is almost entirely composed of the pierced stone screens called jaalis. A prominent feature of Rajasthani architecture, the jaalis keep most of the sun out even as they let in the tiniest whiff of breeze.
Today, the palace is the sum of many confusing parts. The main building consists of the personal living quarters of several members of the royal family, some of which have been recently renovated while others still retain their past grandeur. 

There is, for instance, the section where the Rajmata or Queen Mother resides, in a section never photographed because of the large number of shikar trophies that line its walls. Though Lallgarh has several small courtyards, the two main ones now belong to two separate hotel complexes — one managed by the Maharaja Ganga Singhji Trust, the other by a private hotelier. Since part of the palace is also the Maharaja Sadul Singh Museum, visitors can enjoy looking around the handsome corridors and impressive stonecraft.



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Dec 09 2012
Looking to take back bits and pieces of Bikaner home with you? Let me tell you what to pick and where to look, to make the most of your shopping spree in the camel country! No experience of Bikaner is complete without buying the ... read more
DEC 10 2012
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Mar 31 2014
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 Lallgar ... read more
Mar 31 2014
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Bikaner traveller reviews

10 Bikaner reviews
Winter trip
Jun 30 2014
I travelled this popular city during winter.Its a groving city providing each facility and services to the citizens. Yes proper managment of light,water,education etc was available.During my trips I was feeling happy.Here weather conditions were also ...... read more
wonderfull City
Jun 26 2014
This city is just wonderfull i would say , people of this city are really awsum,funloving and helping . Food in every part of the city is too good . I just wish i could stay here forever .
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Bikaner Travel Guide


Bikaner Tourism - Get information on Bikaner tourist places and sightseeing tours. This page presents a visual Bikaner travel guide. Our friendly trip advisor from ixigo helps you plan your next tour and gives you great ideas on what to do, where to eat, where to stay and when to go there. We curate the best information from the web to give you precise, meaningful and useful travel guide for leading places to visit in india and from across the world. ixigo has curated the best travel information on Bikaner tourism spanning genres as diverse as tourist places, tourist spots, major sightseeing attractions, the best time to visit, the top places to visit in Bikaner, the must-see things to see and do, maps, restaurants, hotels, nearby tourist destinations, local public information and more. To start with check out information on how to reach Bikaner :
how to go from New Delhi to Bikaner |  how to go from Mumbai to Bikaner |  how to go from Bengaluru to Bikaner |  how to go from Chennai to Bikaner |  how to go from Hyderabad to Bikaner |  how to go from Kolkata to Bikaner