Bikaner is a desert built on an
elevation and surrounded by a long embattled wall pierced by five
gates. A magnificient fort built betwen 1588 & 1593 by Raja Raj
Singh dominates the city.
Sheer beauty in the desert is the royal fortified city of Bikaner.
Lying at the northern tip of the famous triangle of the desert
cities, Bikaner is a beautiful medival town. The genesis of
Bikaner dates back to 1488, when a Rathore prince, Rao Bikaji, son
of Rao Jodhaji of Jodhpur, chose a barren wilderness called
’Jangladesh’ and transformed it to a charming city called
’Bikaner’, after the founder’s name. Its location on the ancient
caravan routes, which linked Central Asia and North India with the
Gujarat seaports, made Bikaner a bustling trade centre in the
times of yore.
Bikaner’s Forts, Palaces and Temples - magnificent creations
in red and yellow sandstone, are living manifestations of its rich
historical and architectural legacy. One can feel the medieval
aura pervading the city’s lifestyle. Not only do the traditions
come alive here in colourful bazaars and havelis, but Bikaner is
also famous for the best riding camels in the world. One can
witness gaily caparisoned camels at the spectacular Camel Festival
at Bikaner, held annually.
Major Attractions of Bikaner
in the architectural splendour, as you take an intimate look at
this imposing fort, built by Akbar’s contemporary Raja Rai Singh.
Within the fort are thirty seven palaces and pavilions. Suraj Pol
or the Sun Gate is the main entrance to the fort. The most
beautiful palaces in the complex are the Chandra Mahal, Phool
Mahal and Karan Mahal. The palaces, exquisitely built in red
sandstone and marble are ornate with mirror work, carvings and
paintings. An array of kiosks and balconies embellish the fort at
intervals, breaking the monotony. A museum with valuable miniature
paintings and rare antiques is also located in the Junagarh Fort.
Karni Mata temple (Rat Temple)
is situated 30 km from Bikaner. The temple is dedicated to an
early 15th century mystic, considered to be a reincarnation of
Ganga Singh, the former ruler of Bikaner, got the temple
constructed totally of marble. Karni Mata temple, Rajasthan has
silver and gold domes. Even the mandap and the panels above the
image are made up of gold. The main gate of the Deshnok Rat
temple, Bikaner has been intricately worked upon.
The Rat Temple is also called ‘Karni Mata’, named after a woman,
who was born in the 14th century. She was an incarnation of Durga,
the goddess of power and victory. During her lifetime she
performed many miracles.
It is regarded auspicious, if a rat (kaba) runs across one’s feet.
Even, a glimpse of kaba (white rat) is considered promising and
fruitful. Twice a year, a festival is celebrated in the honor of
Karni Mata. A grand fair is organized during this time and people
come here to seek the blessings of the Goddess.
The magnificent fort in red sandstone, a fascinating juxtaposition
of the Oriental style and European luxury that leaves you truly
mesmerised. Designed by Sir Swinton Jacob for Maharaja Ganga Singh
almost -90 years ago, this is an extraordinary monument. The
palace has a billiards room, a library, a cards room and a smoking
room. Belgian chandeliers, cut - glass ornaments, oil paintings
and lamps, all adding to its charm.
Held in the month of January every
year on the full moon night, the festival is dedicated to the
indispensable ship of the desert. A fascinating spectacle of camel
performances. Camel races, camel dances and camel rides, along
with the joy, colour and vigour unique to Rajasthan, make this a
Gajner Wildlife Sanctuary and Palace
Watch flocks of imperial sand grouse, as you wander through the
lush foliage of woods located on the Jaisalmer road. Gajner is
also home to nilgai, chinkara, wild boar and black buck. Gajner
Palace, a summer resort of kings built on the beautiful lake along
the sanctuary, is a spot worth visiting.
How to Get there
Air Nearest Airport is Jodhpur 240 kms.
Rail Bikaner is connected by rail with Delhi, Jaipur and Jodhpur.
Road Bikaner to Delhi 949 km,Jaipur 316 km,Jodhpur 240 km &
Jaisalmer 330 km