Taxi Service in BikanerThe origins of Bikaner can be traced back to 1488 when a Rathore prince, Rao Bikaji, founded the kingdom. Legend has it that Bikaji, one of Rao Jodhaji’s five sons, left his father’s Durbar in annoyance after an insensitive remark from his father, the illustrious founder of Jodhpur. Bikaji travelled far and when he came upon the wilderness called Jangladesh, he decided to set up his own kingdom and transformed it into an impressive city.
Bikaner is home to one of the only two models of the biplane used by the British during World War I. They were presented by the British to Maharaja Ganga Singh, then ruler of the city. Another unique aspect about Bikaner are the sand dunes that are scattered throughout the district, especially from the north-east down to the southern area. Bikaner is situated in the northern region of Rajasthan. One of the earlier established cities, Bikaner still displays its ancient opulence through palaces and forts, built of red sandstone, that have withstood the passage of time. The city boasts of some of the world’s best riding camels and is aptly nicknamed ‘camel country’. It is also home to one of the world’s largest camel research and breeding farms; as well as being known for having its own unique temple dedicated to Karni Mata at Deshnok, called the Rats Temple.
Junagarh FortJunagarh is an impregnable bastion that holds the distinction of having never been captured. It was constructed in 1588 AD by Raja Rai Singh, one of Emperor Akbar’s most distinguished generals.
The fort complex houses some magnificent palaces constructed in red sandstone and marble and visitors can feast their eyes on an attractive assortment of courtyards, balconies, kiosks and windows.
Rampuria HaveliBikaner has several havelis (aristocratic homes), the most famous cluster being the Rampuria Group of Havelis. Built of dulmera (red) stone, every aspect of the havelis – jharokhas (casements), entrances, latticed windows, divankhanas, gumaharias or basements – is simply exotic. Leaves and flowers decorate every jharokha, lending it a pleasant touch. These massive havelis are decorated with golden work of the highest quality.
Their dankhanas (drawing room) take one back to the Mughal and Rajput era. One can notice an abundance of Victorian influence in their design as well. The wood carvings in Rampuria Havelies are extremely exquisite. Spaced close to each other, the havelis are truly a sight to behold.
Devi Kund8 kilometres from Bikaner is the royal crematorium. It has several exquisite chhatris (cenotaphs), each dedicated to the memory of a ruler of the Bikaji dynasty and situated on the exact spot where each of them was cremated.
The chhatri of Maharaj Surat Singh is a fine example of the architecture of that era. Devi Kund also has cenotaphs of 22 female members of the royal family prior to Maharaja Gaj Sigh Ji, who committed sati.
There is also one cenotaph of a Sata (male sati) of a ruler. Maharaja Surat Singh's Chhatri is built entirely in white marble with spectacular Rajput paintings on its ceiling.
KolayatKolayat is an important pilgrimage place for Hindus. Locals as well as devotees from distant places visit this temple complex every year. History tells the story of Kapil Muni, the advocate of Shankya yoga, who was so mesmerised by the serenity of this place that he interrupted his journey to the northwest and stopped here to carry out a ‘tapasya’ (penance) for the redemption of the world.
The main attractions of the town are its several temples, ghats, the sacred lake and the town market. Kolayat is about 50 kilometres from Bikaner.
Horse EcotourismThe National Research Centre on equines, Bikaner Campus has recently taken an initiative to conserve and propagate equines through ecotourism. The Campus has now been opened for the Indian and Foreign tourists. The ambience of thecampus in itself is a big attraction. However, the campus has initiated Horse Riding, Pony Riding, Tonga Riding and Buggy Riding in the lush green zones of the campus to give nature-talking environment on one hand and a Desert Point with a traditional hut for the fragrance of the state, the Rajasthan, on the other hand.
The elite Marwari horses, the Pride of Rajasthan; Kathiawari horses, the Elegance of Gujarat; Zanskari horses, the Ponies of Ladakh and Manipuri horses, the Famous Polo Ponies along with the French Poitou donkey and White Gujarati donkeys constitutes other major attractions.
Shiv Bari TempleLocated just 6 kilometres from Bikaner, this Shiva temple is fortified by a high wall. It was commissioned and built by Maharaja Doongar Singh in the 19th century to commemorate his father Maharaja Lal Singh.
The highlights of this red stone temple are beautiful wall paintings, the four-faced black marble Shiva statue and a bronze Nandi statue facing the Shiva-Lingam. The temple also houses two large reservoirs of water known as bawaris.
SHIV BARI TEMPLE
GAJNER PALACE AND LAKE
Gajner Palace And LakeGajner is an incomparable jewel of the Thar. The Gajner Palace was founded by Maharaja Gaj Singh ji of Bikaner in the year 1784, and then completed by the great Maharaja Ganga Singh of Bikaner on the banks of the lake.
It was meant to serve as a hunting and relaxing lodge for the royal family as well as for visiting guests. It has now been converted into a hotel.
JorbeedBikaner in Rajasthan is one of the best places for birders if they want to spot some vultures. But, drive for about 12 km from the city, and you reach Jorbeed. If you are a birder, then Jorbeed is your ‘spot of opportunities’. Jorbeed is one of the best placesto look at raptors. Birds like the Steppe Eagles, Griffon Vultures, and Egyptian Vultures are as common as crows in this region.
A place you’ll certainly have to come to terms with, you will hardly see a single tree here without some or the other raptor resting on it.A visit to Jorbeed is all about seeing the largest congregation of eagles and vultures in Asia, and if you are lucky, you might even spot the rare yellow-eyed pigeon here as well. With thousands of magnificent raptors dotting the landscape, Jorbeed is truly a birder’s paradise.
HOW TO REACH BIKANERBy Road: The bus stand is north of the city centre. There are frequent express buses to Agra, Ahmedabad, Ajmer, Barmer, Delhi, Jaipur, Jaisalmer, Jhunjhunu, Jodhpur, Kota and Udaipur.
By Air: The nearest airport is Civil Airport at Jodhpur which is 253 kilometres away.
By Rail: Bikaner has railway connections to several destinations in India including Jaipur, Jaisalmer, Churu, Jodhpur, Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Guwahati etc.