Bikaner Travel Information

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Introduction

Bikaner is located in the northern part of Rajasthan. It was founded by a descendent of the founder of Jodhpur whose name was Rao Bhikaji. Bikaner, like Jaisalmer, was an important town on the great trade route in the medieval period. The city is surrounded by high fortifications comprising a seven-kilometre long wall, which encircles the old city and has five entrances-all constructed in the 18th century.

Bikaner has seen many upheavals in its long and eventful history. Due to its proximity with Delhi, the capital of Mughal India, Bikaner bore the burnt of Mughal attacks several times. According to the legends, Rao Bhikaji sought the blessings of Goddess Karni at Deshnoke before embarking on his campaigns. Karni Mata Temple is still being patronized by the erstwhile ruling family of Bikaner. Hundreds of pilgrims throng the temple every day throughout the year to seek the blessings of the Goddess, considered as an incarnation of Goddess Durga. Bikaner is also the birthplace of world renowned Bikaneri Bhujia and namkeen (a salted snack made of lentils). Bikaner is renowned for being the place where one can get the best riding camels for camel safaris. Welcome to the Camel Country…
Rao Bhikaji was the sixth son of Rao Jodha, the founder of Bikaner. He left the kingdom of his father when he realized that his fortunes lay somewhere else. He founded Bikaner after pastoral Jats of Northern Rajasthan submitted to his authority in AD 1488.

According to the legends, Rao Bhikaji sought the blessings of Goddess Karni at Deshnoke before embarking on his campaigns. Karni Mata Temple is still being patronized by the erstwhile ruling family of Bikaner. Hundreds of pilgrims throng the temple every day throughout the year to seek the blessings of the Goddess, considered as an incarnation of Goddess Durga. An unusual feature of the temple is the innumerable rats that have made this temple their home. Rats of this temple are considered as the future incarnations of some mystic child of the temple deity.

Merchant banking and other trading activities were the major source of income for Bikaner till the British time. The city, together with Jaisalmer and Jodhpur was the part of a great inland trade route to Central and West Asia. Bikaner bore the burnt of Mughal attacks several times and earned reverence among its fellow Rajput states when it repulsed the onslaught of the Mughal army under emperor Aurangzeb.

After the decline of mighty Mughals in the nineteenth century, widespread anarchy came in India. Many princely kingdomsIn the nineteenth century, alarmed by the widespread anarchy brought about by the decline of the Mughals, many princely kingdoms turned to the English East India Company for security. Bikaner signed the instrument of agreement with the Company in AD 1818, along with other princely states in Rajasthan. Bikaner proved a true ally at the time of the AD 1857 revolt, Afghan War, and the Anglo Sikh Wars.

Climate: Being a desertscape, the summers are very hot in Bikaner. It is situated on a slightly higher altitude and has an arid climate most of the year. The best time to visit this place is in winters when the weather remains cool and tolerable.

Location : Bikaner is located in the northern part of Rajasthan. If you are looking for Bikaner on the map, you will find it in the Western India lying on latitude 28°01' north and longitude 73°22' east. Bikaner is the fourth largest city of Rajasthan and surrounded by great walls like Jodhpur. To the north of the city, you will find Sriganganagar and Hanumannagar while Churu is located to its east. In the south of Bikaner are located Nagaur, Jodhpur and Jaisalmer while to the south of it is neighboring country of Pakistan. Bikaner was one of the most important trade centers for the traders of west-central Asia.

Best time to visit: An extensive green cover ensures a pleasant season during spring and early winter. The best season to visit the city though remains between October and March.

Places of interest

Junagarh Fort


This tourist attraction of Bikaner was built by a Mughal army general, Raja Rai Singh, in 1593. The courtyard of the fort along with the balcony, kiosks and windows are perfect examples of the artisanship of that time. The beautiful cutworks and dots on the red stones and the marbles are fascinating. The various parts of the palace-the Dewan-iI-khas, the Phool Mahal, Hawa Mahal, Badal Mahal and Anup Mahal-reflect the glorious architecture of Bikaner.

Lalgarh Palace

Built by Maharaja Ganaga Singh in memory of his father, this tourist attraction of Bikaner is situated 3 km north of Bikaner city. The Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation as part of their tourism promotion program has converted some portions of the palace to tourist hotels. Other parts of the palace have been converted into a museum named as the Sadul Museum to preserve the glory of the yesteryears of Rajasthan in general and Bikaner in particular.

Ganga Golden Jubilee Museum

This must visit tourist place of Bikaner is one of the best museums of Rajasthan. While in Bikaner do visit the Ganaga Golden Jubilee Museum that has some fabulous collection of antiques and artilleries.


The Bhandasar Jain Temple

The Bhandasar Jain Temple of Bikaner has been dedicated to the 23rd Jain tirthankara. Besides being a major religious spot it is a must visit tourist place in Bikaner.


The Camel Research Farm

The Camel Research Farm is a major tourist attraction that is renowned for breeding and training of camels. Camel in Bikaner and Rajasthan was used in the wars as the fighting force and as a medium of transportation.

Places of interest

Camel Fairs : The Camel Festival is an event organised in Bikaner by the Department of Tourism, Art and Culture, Government of Rajasthan, every year in the month of January. Desert region's Folk dances and Music, add on to what is otherwise an exclusive camel affair. A festival when the ships of the desert are seen at their best. Camels fascinate tourists from all over the world with their movements, charm and grace. A spectacle of unusual camel performances: camel races, camel dances, and the bumpy, neck shaking camel rides.

Activities

The festival starts with the procession of beautifully decorated camels. The procession heads towards the open sand grounds. Here, the festivities begin in earnest. The Camel Pageant is held on the first day wherein the camel owners show off their Camels' decorations and jewellery. Camel dance performances are also held. A competition for best decorated camel, fur cutting design, camel milking and the best camel hair cut is organised. The camels display amazing foot-work, dancing gracefully to the slightest direction of their drivers. Colourful bridles, bejewelled necks, jingling anklets and long, lanky camel shadows on dusky sands, cast a magical spell.

In this festival tea and sweets prepared by camel milk are made available to the visitors interested in enjoying them.

On the second day, the fleetest camels of the region take part in the camel races. The competition is fierce as the best camels vie for the honours. Thousands of excited tourists and locals cheer the favourites.

On both days, the evening ends with a rendezvous with the renowned folk artists of Rajasthan. The jubilant, skirt swirling dances, the awe inspiring fire dances and many other equally interesting performances entertain the visitors. The grand finale is a magnificent display of fireworks which illuminates the desert city of Bikaner.

Map of Rajasthan | Fairs & Festivals in Rajasthan
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