This city lies on the northern point of the triangle of desert cities. Bikaner is another royal walled city dating back to 1486 AD. It was, however, a major trade centre as it stood on the ancient caravan route which linked central Asia and North India with the Gujarat seaports. While other cities of Rajasthan are rich in lakes and pleasure pavilions, Bikaner seems quite bare in that respect. Given its severe climatic conditions, the wealth of its architectural heritage lies in its forts, palaces and temples. This desert town in the north of the state was founded on 1488 by Rao Bika, a descendant of Jodha, the founder of Jodhpur.
It is an unassailable fortress, which has never been conquered. Built in 1593 A.D. by Raja Rai Singh, one of the most distinguished generals in the army of Emperor Akbar, the fort is a formidable structure encircled by a moat.Junagarh FortMajor Attractions:
Lalgadh PalaceThe architectural masterpiece in red sandstone, built by Maharaja Ganga Singh (1881 AD-1942 AD) in memory of his father Maharaja Lall Singh between 1902 -1926.This magnificent palace is an example of pure Rajput martial architecture. Designed by Sir Swinton Jacob, this palace has several grand halls, lounges, cupolas and pavilions. The exotic palace has magnificent pillars, richly carved fire mantles , Italian colonnades and motif of lotus in full bloom , adding to the magic of this jewel of the desert.Preferred Timings: 10:00AM to 5:00PM on all weekdays except on Sunday
The Ganga Golden Jubilee MuseumIt is the best Rajasthan museum, having one of the richest collections of terra-cotta ware, weapons, miniature paintings of Bikaner school and coins. The exhibits are splendid masterpieces of Harappan civilization, Gupta and Kushan era and sculptures of the late classical time.The museum has a separate section displaying exclusive arts and crafts of the region. Gardens and Parks Ganga Public Park with a Zoo, Ratan Bihari Temple Park and Tessitory Park are some of the lovely parks in the city. Surely worth a visit
Deshnoke TempleKarni Mata Temple, 30 miles south of Bikaner in Deshnoke, is one of the strangest holy spots in India. We left Bikaner and were on route to Jodhpur when Bela asked us if we wanted to stop at the "Rat Temple" which was on our way. We had read about the temple in our guide books and the thought of rats running around made us a little squeamish. However, we agreed to stop and found the rats quite small and harmlessMajor Attractions:
The Gajner Wildlife SanctuaryGajner Wildlife Sanctuary (32 km) The lush foliage of woods on the Jaisalmer road are a haven to nilgai, chinkara, black buck, wild boar , flocks of imperial sand grouse and many more migratory birds that houses the sprawling forest in the winters. It can be visited by jeeps with the forest officers as the guides.
Camel Breeding FarmDedicated to the indispensable ship of the desert, the festival starts off with a magnificent procession of bedecked camels. It is a colourful spectacle of the beautifully decorated camels that fascinates the onlookers with their charm and grace. Several competitions are held, marked with typical Rajasthani colour, joyous music and lilting rhythms and gay festivities.
Saawan Teej FestivalTeej is the festival of swings. It marks the advent of the monsoon month of Sawan (August). The monsoon rains fall on the parched land and the pleasing scent of the wet soil rises into the air. Swings are hung from trees and decorated with flowers. Young girls and women dressed in green clothes sing songs in celebration of the advent of the monsoon. This festival is dedicated to the Goddess Parvati, commemorating her union with Lord Shiva. Goddess Parvati is worshipped by seekers of conjugal bliss and happiness. An elaborate procession is taken out in Jaipur for two consecutive days on the festive occasion which is watched by people in large numbers. The teej idol is richly decorated with ornaments and gaudy dresses. The Teej idol is covered with a canopy whereas the Gangaur idol is open
Camel FestivalThe Camel Festival is an event organized 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.
Kolayat FestivalCelebrated on a full moon kartik poornima in November every year, the Kolayat festival is a reminder of the living traditions of ancient India. Also known as the Kapil Muni fair, the Kolayat festival is a festive event of great religious significance for the Hindus.
Gangaur FestivalThe Gangaur festival is the most important local festival of Rajasthan and is observed throughout the state with great fervour and devotion by womenfolk who worship Gauri, the consort of lord Shiva. Gan is a synonym for Shiva and Gauri which stands for Gauri or Parvati who symbolizes saubhagya (Marital Bliss). Gauri is the embodiment of perfection and conjugal love which is why the unmarried women worship her for being blessed with good husbands, while married women do so for welfare, health and long life of their spouses and a happy married life.