Founded in 1486 by Rao Bika, a descendent of Jodha Ji, the founder of Jodhpur, Bikaner was the capital of the princely state of Bikaner. Since then it has been a long road to the growing Bikaner of today. One of the many jewels in the crow of Rajasthan, Bikaner is glutted with several attractions that include monuments, palaces and temples.
Capital of the princely state of Bikaner founded by Rao Bika, a Rajput chieftain of the Rathor clan, Bikaner is named after its founder. The area that constitutes the present day Bikaner was once a barren land called “jungledesh”. It is to the credit of the rulers of Bikaner that the city has today developed into one of the most impressive cities of Rajasthan. After his death in 1504, Bika was succeeded by many rulers who were on friendly terms with the rulers of Mughal Empire.
After the weakening of the Mughal Empire following the death of Aurangzeb, Bikaner and the princely state of Jodhpur indulged in battle. At the time of its integration with the state of Rajasthan in 1949, the princely state of Bikaner controlled an area of more than (60,000 square km).
Among the most impressive forts of Rajasthan that have survived through the centuries is Junagarh Fort in Bikaner. Built by Raja Rai Singhji, the sixth ruler of Bikaner, this is one of the oldest forts in Rajasthan is worth going out of your way to see.
An ostentatious jewel in the crown of the rulers of Bikaner, the Laxmi Niwas Palace is a wonderful showpiece of Indo-Saracenic architecture. Designed by the British architect, Sir Samuel Swinton Jacob this magnificent structure once served the residential palace of the princely rulers of Bikaner. Toady the palace, made of red sandstone, has been turned into a luxury hotel run by Golden Triangle Fort & Palace P. Ltd. The magnificent structure in red sandstone is one of the most popular destinations for tourists in Bikaner.
Bhandasar is a beautiful Jain shrine whose pillars depict scenes from the lives of the 24 tirthankars (ford makers) of Jainism. Dedicated to the fifth tirthankar, Sumtinath, the three-storey temple was built in 1514. Tirthankars were the twenty-four teachers of Jainism.
One of the most famous museums of Bikaner, Ganga Government Museum is home to interesting exhibits including the Gupta era terracotta ware and medieval musical instruments. It is also known as Ganga Golden Jubilee Government Museum .
Dedicated to a local deity, "Karni Mata", an incarnation of Goddess Durga, the Deshnok temple is famous for thousands of little rats that infest the temple. Their presence is however considered auspicious by the devotees. The temple is located 30 km south from Bikaner on the way to Jodhpur.
Bikaner is home to the National Research Centre on Camel which is famous for breeding the best camels and also conducts research related to the camels.
Bikaner is also known for camel safari. Bikaner offers the following camel safaris:
32 km from Bikaner, Gajner Palace and Wildlife Sanctuary is visited by wildlife lovers who come here to spot chinkara, nilgai, black buck, imperial sand grouse and wild boar. Within the confines of the sanctuary is situated the Gajner Palace, a summer resort of the rulers of Bikaner, now converted into a hotel.
50km southwest of Bikaner on the way to Jaisalmer, Kolayat is a sacred place home to lake with 52 ghats. The main temple is dedicated to the ancient Vedic sage Kapil Muni, the proponent of the Sankhya school of philosophy. Sankhya is the oldest of the six systems of salvation. The oldest surviving text of the Sankhya system is Sankhyakarita written by Ishvarakrasha in the fourth century AD. The system is known for fundamental atheism and rigid dualism. The Kapil Muni Mela (fair) is held here in the Hindu month of Kartik (October /November).
78 km from Bikaner is located the holy place for the Bishnoi sect. Here the remains of the founder of the Bishnoi community are buried.
205 km from Bikaner, Kalibanga is a must-visit for archeological buffs. Located on the southern bank of Ghaggar river, Kalibanga is home to remains of the pre-Harappan and Harappan civilization. Like most of the Harappan cities Kalibanga is divided into two parts. Kalibanga is located in the Ganganagar district of Rajasthan near the Pakistan border.
How to reach Bikaner The nearest airport is at Jodhpur which is 253 km away from Bikaner.
Rail: Bikaner is a railhead connected with all the major cites and places in India.
Road: Motorable roads connect Bikaner with different cities and places in Rajasthan and India. Some of the important cities and places connected with Bikaner by road are Ajmer (234 km), Pushkar (246 km), Jodhpur (256 km), Jaisalmer (335 km) and Delhi (456 km).
Bikaner brims with a large number of heritage hotels, top-end hotels, budget hotels catering to the needs of everyone.
Hotel Bhanwar Niwas , Lallgarh Palace Hotel , Bharat Palace, Basant Vihar Palace, Bhairon Vilas, Heritage Resort, Hotel Jaswant Bhavan, Karni Bhawan Palace, Laxmi Niwas Palace, Hotel Sagar, Hotel Maharaja Ganga Mahal Palace, Hotel Babu Heritage, Hotel Shivas Regency, Hotel Raj Vilas Palace, Meghsar Castle, Palace View Hotel, Hotel Johi, Hotel Centre Point, Deluxe Hotel, Green Hotel, Harasar Haveli, Hotel Lalji, Hotel Maharaja, Hotel Marudhar, Shanti Niwas, Shri Ram Hotel and Hotel Dhola Maru are some of the well-known hotels in Bikaner.