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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 a 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. Junagarh Fort also hosts attractively designed pavilions. There are some fine Hindu and Jain temples in Junagarh Fort dating from 16th century. 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 the different periods the fort has seen, such as Rajputana, Gujrati, Mughal and British.

 

Another attractive site in Bikaner is 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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Quick Reference

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.

 

Destination Grade: B (What is this?)
Rating: 6/10
Population: 723982
5 Star Hotels: Bikaner Palace, Gaj Kesari
Luxury Hotels: Basant Vihar Palace, Bhairon Vilas.
Airport: Jodhpur Airport
Railway Station: Bikaner Junction.
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.
Speciality(Famous for): Fort, Palace, Camel Safari, colorful fairs and festivals
Food speciality: Rasgullas, Sweets and Snacks
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Rating:
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Total Reviews : 13
 
 
Reviews by users : (13)
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Truly Beautiful Bikaner - by Naveen Sarda  Dated : 2011-03-18
The Gajner palace has jharokas and magnificent lattice work. The palace is built with Rajput architecture on the outside and with British architecture on the inside. Outside the Gajner palace is a lake and we get to spot many blackbucks and chinkaras at the lake side.

The Gajner palace also has a Dargah of a pir and it is believed that if we tie a dhaga in this Dargah and pray sincerely, then our prayers get answered. There is a fair in the Dargah, once in a year and the fair is held in September. Many people offer a chadar in the Dargah during the fair.

The Junagarh fort, situated in Bikaner, is a wonderful fort and as we enter the fort, it keeps getting better. There is a palace inside the Junagarh fort and the palace is quite big. There are many rooms in the palace. There is a throne room, an airplane and many weapons on display in the palace.

I spent around an hour in the fort, but you can easily spend some hours in this fort. The fort is well preserved.

There in a museum in the Junagarh fort. The museum is not all that great, but the admission fee of the museum is less. The museum opens 1 hour prior to the rest of the fort, so it is a good way to start the day.

The more you explore Bikaner, the better it will get. So go ahead and enjoy the city to the fullest.
Bikaner, an Interesting City - by Bharat Joglekar  Dated : 2011-03-17
I had gone to Bikaner with my friends and we all visited the Junagarh fort. The tour guide in Junagarh fort was informative. After the tour was over, all my friends were of the opinion that although the weapons in the fort were not impressive the architectural details of the fort were indeed very interesting. The tour was worth the money we had spent on it.

There are 2 temples in Bikaner, called the Raj ratan bihari temple and the Rasik shriomani temple. These 2 temples are areas of interest for the religiously inclined people. These temples were built by Ratan Singuji and Sardar Singuji in the early 19th century. These temples were built with red sandstone in a mansion-like style.

Bhandshah temple is a Jain temple located 5 kilometres away from Bikaner. This temple was built in the 16th century and is dedicated to the Jain gods, Adinath and Parasvanath.
The camel research farm is located 6 kilometres away from Bikaner. This camel farm is managed by the government and is one of its kinds in Asia. It is a camel research and breeding farm. Camel research farm also carries out training of camels.

Bikaner also has the Gajner palace, which is like an oasis in the Thar desert. Gajner has animals like blackbuck, chinkara, neelgai and fox. In the past it was a hunting ground for the maharajas of Bikaner.

Gajner palace was built with red sandstone and it was designed by a British person.
Bikaner, a Fascinating City - by Umed Bajaj  Dated : 2011-03-17
The Lalgarh palace in Bikaner was built by Maharaja Ganga Singh in the memory of his father. The Lalgarh palace was designed by Sir Swinton Jacob. The palace is an imposing structure, with its balconies and impressive latticework.

There are peacocks and bogenvilla plants in the garden of the Lalgarh palace, which make the visitors, feel welcome. A part of the Lalgarh fort has been converted into a hotel. This has been done by the Rajasthan tourism development corporation, to promote tourism in the region.

Bikaner also has the Ganga jubilee museum, which is one of the best museums in Rajasthan. There were many things on display in the museum, such as terracotta ware and weapons. Ganga jubilee museum also had miniature paintings from Bikaner and coins from the Harappan period.

There are 2 nice temples in Bikaner. These are the Raj ratan bihari temple and the Rasik Shiromani temple. These temples are located inside the Ratan bihari park.

The main attraction of Bikaner is the Junagarh fort, which was built in 1580. Junagarh fort is defined by a red sandstone wall and the fort is beautiful in the inside.

You cannot enter the Junagarh fort without taking a tour. The tour takes around 30 minutes. When I went to Bikaner with my friends, we took a tour and we soon realized that most of the people who visited the fort were people from the nearby villages.
Bikaner, a Nice City - by Harsh Bagla  Dated : 2011-03-17
The Junagarh fort was built by Raja Rai Singh Rathore around 1588 AD. Bikaner is indeed a fascinating city with its monuments, temples, havelis and multi-hued markets. Bikaner lies to the north of Rajasthan and the desert also has sand dunes.

Bikaner has still maintained its ethnicity. The city has an old age charm, which it can boast about.

Camels are an inseparable part of the city of Bikaner, as again it has maintained it medieval charm. Camels are used not only for transportation, but also for working on wells. The wells are built on high platforms and have minarets at all the 4 corners and can be seen even from a distance.

The Karni mata temple has a shrine of Karni mata as goddess Durga. There are bowls of corn meal and milk placed at various locations in the temple, which are meant for the holy rats in the temple. The devotees add bread and bananas to these bowls and the rats seem to like the bananas. There are several holes made in the walls of the temple, where the rats can stay.

The floor of the Karin mata temple is chequered and black and white in colour. If a rat runs across you are feet, it is believed to be lucky. Also if you spot a white mouse, it is considered to be lucky. If you have some of the cornmeal offered in bowls to the rats, it is considered to be a blessing.
Bikaner, a Religious City - by Viraj Desai  Dated : 2011-03-17
There is a Karni mata temple, very close to Bikaner. The Karni mata fair is held twice a year in Deshnoke. The fair is held during the navratras in April or May and October or November.
It is believed that Karni mata had decided that no one from her tribe would be taken away by Yama, the god of death. It is also believed that Karni mata had said that anyone from the tribe, who dies, would inhabit the body of a rat, before he or she was reborn into the tribe.

Presently, there are many rats in the Karni mata temple and it is also believed that there rats are reincarnated people of the tribe, before being reborn into the tribe. Thus the rats in the temple are worshipped.

The rats in the Karni mata temple are worshipped by the devotees. The devotees also feed them and make sure that they don’t stamp on them.

The Junagarh fort is an amalgamation of old culture and modernization. Rao Bika realized that he is not going to inherit his father’s property and thus decided to form an army of young warriors. His army was powerful in the Thar desert.

Rao Bika sought the blessings of Karni mata, who was a social reformer and thus visited the Karni mata temple to get her blessing. Karni mata blessed him and thus Rao Bika defeated his opponent and established the city of Bikaner in 1488 AD.
From Delhi to Bikaner - by Jenny Sarbock  Dated : 2011-03-16
I and Lily had a great time visiting Delhi and from there we left for Bikaner, Rajasthan. We spent six good ours in the car with our driver Jai, a total entertainer, he told us so many stories of his childhood and how horses were given as gifts to the in laws of the girl after she got married. The drive did not strain us mentally but physically we were very tired. We reached this place called Mandwa, a small stop over where we had our lunch, powered ourselves up for another 4 hours of drive to Bikaner.

Bikaner is a cool place as compared to Mandawa. The centre of attraction in Bikaner is the Junagarh fort. We went to visit the fort the next day, since we had already crossed our plan budget; we just hired one single travel guide. I must say he was not very informative. We mostly explored the fort ourselves, not bothering the presence of the dumb guide. it was a great experience to see the towering fort, take stupid photographs and pose as if the fort belonged to us.

Later then we went to a place which we eager to see, the Lalgarh Palace. This palace is very beautiful and the architecture of this place is really incomparable. This royal building was built by Sir Swinton Jacob and has a mix of Italian style and British style of architecture.

Other worth visiting place in Bikaner is the Lakshmi Nivas Palace. This was the royal residence of King Ganga, the then ruler of Bikaner. It is made in red sandstone and looks really magnificent exteriorly. It is now converted into a heritage hotel. Those who wish to get a lot of royal treatment must check into this hotel, it is there to please. The state of Rajasthan has rich cultural heritage.

We had a great time visiting Bikaner; it is one of my favorite tourist destinations. The sweets and namkin that we had purchased from Bikaner was loved back home and we were really lucky to have visited Bikaner at ease and without any problems.
Bikaner, a Complete Experience - by Dinesh Tapdia Dated : 2011-03-16
There are gorgeous forts and palaces in Bikaner, which are built with red sandstone. These forts and palaces lend a lot of importance to the cultural heritage of Bikaner. Bikaner is also called the camel country, as it offers some of the best riding camels in the world.

As Bikaner is a tourist destination, there are auto rickshaws, tongas and un-metered taxis available, to commute within the city.

The camel festival is a renowned festival of Bikaner. Various camel contests are held during this festival and the festival brings the small desert town of Bikaner to life. The people participate in the festival with full zest and enthusiasm. The desert life is on display during the camel festival.

The Karni mata temple is a temple which has holy rats. All these holy rats are well-fed and well-behaved. The temple is in Deshnoke, which is located to the south of Bikaner. It takes less than an hour to reach Deshnoke from Bikaner.

Karni mata is believed to be an incarnation of goddess Durga. During her lifetime, Karni mata had dedicated her life to serve the poor.

There is a fable, which says that Karni mata had tried to bring back a storyteller’s dead child back to life, but she could not do so, as Yama, the god of death, had already taken it away. This angered Karni mata and she said that she won’t let any of the people of her tribe to be taken away by Yama.
Bikaner, as Exciting City - by Abhay Kataria  Dated : 2011-03-16
There are various places, which we can visit in Bikaner. For example, we can visit lakes, deserts, havelis, temples, forts, palaces, wood fossil park and deer parks. Thus, as you can see, Bikaner is an all in one experience and in spite of all this; it is still a very calm and quiet place.

Some the restaurants in Bikaner, offer very good and freshly made home food. The local bazaar is quite reasonable and I suggest that you should bargain to get a good deal.

Bikaner offers one of the best camel safaris and jeep safaris. This is a holiday destination, where one can let his hair down and relax.

You should beware of the various people who will advertise a lot of places to you, such as hotels, restaurants and shops. You should avoid such people, as they get a high commission for getting customers to various places.

Although Bikaner is a small place, it offers good facilities for its tourist and this is because it is a tourist destination. Many hotels will provide a car and a driver to pick you up from the railway station or the bus station. This facility is free of cost.

Bikaner is also a place in India, where you can visit many heritage places. Bikaner stands on a slightly raised ground and is defined by a wall, which is 7 kilometres long. This wall has 5 gates.
Bikaner, an Interesting City - by Vijay Pawar  Dated : 2011-03-16
There is a rat temple in Bikaner which is one of a kind. Bikaner is also very famous for the namkeen that we get there. All the bhujiyawalas can be found on the KEM road. Ghewar is a Rajasthani dish, which you ought to taste while in Bikaner. There is also a camel breeding farm in Bikaner.

The restaurants near the railway station offer very good food. Some of the lodging and boarding hotels in hotels in Bikaner have restaurants and the food we get there is also very good.

Some of the places which should not be missed when in Bikaner are the Junagarh fort and camel research centre. The Lalgarh fort is not all that good.

You can also shop at the KEM road, which is near the railway station. During you visit to Bikaner, you may allot some time to visit the Gajner palace.

There are good roads from various places to Bikaner. Bikaner is 500 kilometres away from Delhi, by road. Let me also tell you how many kilometres away Bikaner is, by road, from some more places. Bikaner is 300 kilometres away from Jaipur, 240 kilometres away from Jaislamer and 231 kilometres away from Pushkar. If you are going from Jaisalmer to Bikaner, I would suggest that you should travel during day time as you will get to see a lot of animals and birds on the way. You will spot deers, peacocks and neel gai.
Bikaner - A Great City - by Ravi Joshi Dated : 2011-03-10
The main attraction of Bikaner city is the Junagarh Fort. It is also called as Chintamani Fort and is one of the major forts of Rajasthan. The fort has many palaces and seven gates. The pavilions of the fort are really beautiful; I took so many photographs of them. I and my brother had a great time roaming around the fort. My guide gave me valuable information about the fort.

The other worth visiting places in Bikaner is the Laxmi Nivas Palace and the Lalgarh Palace. There also an old Vaishav temple called Moolnayakji. Here the custom of reading Bhagwat Updesha is still being carried out.

The Laxmi Nivas Palace was where Ganga Singh, the former king of Bikaner resided. It is made up of red sandstone and looks very attractive. It was royal residence and now is a heritage hotel. Most of the palaces in Rajasthan have been converted into heritage hotels today as they get a good response from foreign tourists. It was built by Sir Swinton Jacob, an English architect.

The Lalgarh Palace was also built by Sir Swinton Jacob and has admirable architecture. As a budding architect, I found both the buildings inspiring and their royal charm was still making them a class apart.

Rajasthan has great cultural history and like other cities of Rajasthan Bikaner enhances its image as the traditional epitome of India. I had a great time in Bikaner, eating sweets and Namkeen.
Bikaner - Of Namkeens, Fort and Palaces. - by Deepak Mehta  Dated : 2011-03-07
The prime attraction of the city of Bikaner is the Junagarh Fort. It has beautifully carved pavilion, palaces and courtyards. Anup Mahal, Phool Mahal and Badal Mahal are amongst the few of the best palaces in this fort. I loved the carving and the way the fort has been maintained by the Government of Rajasthan. Actually, I love the Rajput architecture very much because it has a very royal and aesthetic touch. And all the palaces and forts built around Rajasthan have excellent architecture and they are worth a visit once in your life time.

The Lalgarh Palace in Bikaner is also a good spot to visit. It is entirely built in red sand stone and has a blend of Rajput, European as well as Mughal architecture. Now it has been partially converted into a heritage hotel. To have a royal feel you can book a room here and enjoy. Attached to this palace is a library where you can find old Sanskrit manuscripts.

Laxmi Nivas palace, just like the Lalgarh palace is built in red sandstone. It is also turned in to a heritage hotel and boasts of great architectural style. Being a part of Rajashthan this place also boasts of palaces and a fort and has rich heritage and history. Anyone who loves to explore places of historical importance must visit Bikaner. Also you get extremely tasty sweets and namkeen here. Not worth a miss guys! Taking lots of photographs and eating tasty food and ultimately sleeping in a comforting hotel room bed is all that I did in Bikaner. It is a great destination. :)
MountAbu - Bikaner Trip - by Sunshine Dated : 2011-02-08
I went to Bikaner last week. I had a great time in Bikaner. I saw the Junagarh Fort. It is a beautiful fort. The Junagarh Fort is very huge. I felt very happy because the weather was good there. My guide told me many things about the junagarh Fort of Bikaner.
In Bikaner there is also the Lalgarh Palace and Laxmi Niwas Palace. Both are beautiful palaces. The Lalgarh Palace is now hotel also. Bikaner food very tasty.The sweets of Bikaner are also very nice. Junagarh Fort is my favorite fort. Bikaner has very good hotels also.
An Enchanting Bikaner - by Apurva Pathak Dated : 2011-01-24
Named after the king Rao Bika and Nera, the leader of a Jat clan that once ruled this barren and wild land, Bikaner has spectacular architectural sites to offer. Situated in Northern Rajasthan it is the fourth largest city of the state. The Junagarh fort, Laxmi Nivas Palace and the Lalgarh Palace are the main attractions of Bikaner. The city is famous for sweets and namkin all over India.

The Junagarh fort originally named Chintamani was built by Raja Rai Singh. Built on a plain it has seven main gates and many palaces. It has 16th century Jain and Hindu temples and beautiful pavilions to boast of. The fort has a little Rajputana, Mughal and British touch to its architecture. The other palace, the Laxmi Nivas Palace was once the residency of Raja Ganga Singh, former king of Bikaner. Built in red sandstone, today it is a heritage hotel.

The Lalgarh Palace is a beautiful palace built with a blend of British and Italian style of architecture. Like the Laxmi Nivas Palace, Sir Swinton Jacob was the architect of this magnificient palace. Divided partly into a heritage hotel and a private royal residency, it houses a museum having important Sanskrit manuscripts and a Sanskrit library. Moolnayakji, a 15th century Vaishnav temple is also worth a wait in Bikaner. Once wild and barren, Bikaner today is a thriving city.