In the widespread Thar Desert, a hostile and barren land, Bikaner is one of the respites. A land that was once called Jungladesh or Jangaladesh, meaning a land of wilderness, is today a thriving locality hosting some marvelous architectural sites, mainly the well-known Junagarh Fort and two astonishing palaces, Laxmi Nivas Palace and Lalgarh Palace. Notably, Bikaner is also famous for sweets and namkin (a savory snack) throughout the country.
The remarkable city of Bikaner came to exist out of an adventure that took place more than five centuries ago. In the late 15th century, Rao Bika, the second son of the ruler of Jodhpur, Rao Jodha, decided to move in search of his own realm, as the claim to the throne of Jodhpur rightfully belonged to his elder brother. Ambitious and independent Bika traveled with his followers to this desert-land and decided to establish his town at a place which was then under the rule of resilient Jat Clans. It is believed that the leader of Jats agreed to let go of his land only if Rao Bika would keep his name alive forever. Hence, Rao Bika post-fixed the name of the Jat leader, Nera with his own name and Bikaner came into existence. Over the next centuries, during the Mughal rule, Bikaner became the capital of Bikaner region and blossomed as a rich and thriving territory under the rule of further descendants.
The most famous landmark of Bikaner, Junagarh Fort was, built by Raja Rai Singh. Under his rule, Bikaner started blossoming in the real sense. After he won the territories of Marwar, he was granted regions in Burhanpur and Gujrat by the Mughal rulers. He built the Junagarh Fort, originally named Chintamani, from the hefty income he received from the territories he had won. The Junagarh Fort of Bikaner is one of the major forts of Rajasthan. Junagarh Fort is one of the rare Rajasthani forts built on the plains. A very large fort, it has seven gates and many palaces. It also hosts attractively designed pavilions. There are some fine Hindu and Jain temples dating from 16th century in this fort. In the same fashion as other Fort Complexes in Rajasthan, Junagarh Fort also has been developed over multiple centuries. Hence, the style in which the different areas of the fort have been built reflects different periods the fort has seen, such as Rajputana, Gujrati, Mughal and British.
Another attractive site in Bikaner is the Laxmi Nivas Palace. Built in 1902, Laxmi Nivas Palace was the former residence of Raja Ganga Singh, the king of the earlier Bikaner State. Made in red sandstone, this magnificent palace was designed by a British Architect. It is today a heritage hotel.
Lalgarh Palace is another architectural attraction in Bikaner. Designed by Sir Swinton Jacob, the same architect who designed the Laxmi Nivas Palace, this wonderful palace demonstrates British and Italian architectural styles. A portion of Lalgarh Palace, too, has been converted into a heritage hotel. Another portion is the private residence of the royal family. There is an interesting museum in the palace possessing some important Sanskrit manuscripts and a Sanskrit library.
Apart from the palaces, there is an old Vaishnav temple in Bikaner named Moolnayakji. This was where Shri Rattoji Vyas, the first of the Bhagvat Katha Vacchaks, read Bhagvat Upadesh for Rao Bika. This custom is still being carried in Bikaner. The Moolnayakji temple was built in the late 15th century.
Located to the North of Rajasthan, Bikaner is one of the important cities of the state, the fourth largest. One should visit Bikaner to get an experience of Junagarh Fort and the palaces blended with famous Bikaneri sweets that are enjoyed all over the country. Two to three days should be sufficient to visit Bikaner, although the major attractions can be covered in a day.
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Bikaner, a town settled in Thar Desert, is popular throughout India for its sweets and snack items. The most popular landmark of Bikaner is Junagarh Fort, the major tourist attraction. Another attractive site in Bikaner is Laxmi Niwas Palace, now converted into a heritage hotel. Lalgarh Palace is also popular. There is also an old Vaishnav Temple here named Moolnayakji, built in 15th century.
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|5 Star Hotels:
||Bikaner Palace, Gaj Kesari
||Basant Vihar Palace, Bhairon Vilas.
|Nearest Major City(s):
||Jodhpur (194 km), Ajmer (218 km)
|How to reach:
||Bikaner has very good network of road that connects with major cities like Jaipur and Delhi.
|Major Tourist Attraction:
||Junagarh Fort, Lalgadh Palace, Laxmi Niwas Palace, Bhandasar Jain Temple, Ganga Government Museum, Camel breeding farm.
||Fort, Palace, Camel Safari, colorful fairs and festivals
||Rasgullas, Sweets and Snacks
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