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Explore the history and culture of Rajputana in Bikaner.
This guest post is written by Rudy of the travel blog, Travel India Travel. He writes travel tips and guides to some of the best destinations in India and has travelled extensively across all the major states there. He loves to walk around cities, spend time in museums, explore forests and try out new vegetarian cuisines wherever he travels. Follow Rudy on Facebook and Twitter.
Bikaner is one of the most popular locations in the state of Rajasthan, widely known for its beautiful palaces and famous Bikaneri sweets. The city is adorned with rich cultural heritage sites, palaces and forts with excellent architectural designs, glorifying the royal Rajput culture of the ancient era.
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The town is also famous for its vibrant golden sand dunes of the Thar Desert. You can admire the picturesque scenic beauty of the entire city. If you want to feel the royalty of the Rajput era away from the crowded life, Bikaner is the place for you. Let’s check out the five best places to visit in Bikaner that attract thousands of visitors every year.
Junagarh Fort is an important tourist attraction, making it one of the best things to see in Bikaner. Maharaja Rao Bika built the fort in 1478. It was initially a simple stone structure. Later, it was inaugurated on 17th February 1589 and given a grand structure through the contributions of Raja Rai Singh and Karan Singh.
The architecture of the Fort is an epitome of creativity and excellence. First, the earlier style is in the style of traditional Rajput architecture. Then, the next part follows a semi-western style, and the final section of the fort revives Rajput structures from the period of Maharaja Ganga Singh.
The artistic windows, balconies, gates, kiosks, and courtyards of the Fort are definitely a treat for the eyes for all visitors. The exquisite stonework of red and golden sandstone, along with the Zenana quarters, mirror work, liquor work, and frescoes are simply stunning. It consists of seven gates with temples, a museum inside its complex, and marvelous palaces like Karan Mahal, Phool Mahal, Anup Mahal, Ganga Mahal, Chandra Mahal, Badal Mahal, and the Bikaneri Havelis. Visiting here is one of the top things to do in Bikaner and not to be missed.
Gajner Palace of Bikaner is a magnificent architecture in the Thar Desert about 20km from Bikaner. Maharaja Ganga Singh constructed this beautiful palace along the shores of a lake. This fascinating beauty sprawls across a total area of 6000 acres.
It’s truly one of the best places to spend time away from the crowded city life as you’ll be surrounded by vast natural beauty. Visitors can enjoy long nature walks here accompanied by boat rides in the lake, a sanctuary dinner, and desert safari rides. Gajner Palace is divided into separate sections like Dungar Niwas, Mandir Chowk, Gulab Niwas, and Champa Niwas.
Each of the divisions holds amazing architectural work and is well maintained. The uniquely built terraces and balconies of the palace are very captivating, reflecting the ancient Rajput era. The palace was turned into a heritage hotel in 1976, with 13 suites preserving the ancient architecture right down to details like furniture, windows, four-poster beds and wallpapers. It is one of the best accommodations to relive the historic Rajput era in the present world. Making a trip to the palace and spending the night makes it one of the most memorable places to visit in Bikaner.
This is another popular tourist attraction of Bikaner, constructed in the early 20th century by Maharaja Ganga Singh. The palace is a glorifying example of rich Rajput culture, showcasing its history and wealth. The palace is beautifully crafted. It has an elaborate wing with huge corridors decorated with historical paintings, as well as other astonishing artifacts that revives the history of the location.
The palace follows the traditional Rajput architecture with the eye-catching interior decors. It houses a museum in its Ganga Niwas, showcasing the miniature paintings of the Bikaner School of Art, armors, and terracotta wares. Its library contains a vast collection of Sanskrit manuscripts inscribed on parchments, as well as plaques of gold, copper, and silver. It also preserves the artifacts of Harappan civilization, the Gupta Age, and Kushan Age. The palace is now a luxury hotel for the tourists featuring a vibrant indoor swimming pool. The guests staying here receive every kind of authentic royal treatment ensuring they feel nothing less than a Rajput King.
Rampuria Haveli is one of the best places to visit in Bikaner, restoring the pride of the city. It was built during the 15th century by Baluji Chava. The royal palace reflects the wealthy lifestyle of the Rampurias. The palace is an example of exquisite craftsmanship of the ancient era.
Dulmeria red sandstone forms the base material of the entire palace. The mansion glorifies the exclusive artistic style of the 15th-century era with its inner halls and rooms decorated with aesthetic arts. The interior decors of each room and section showcase beautiful paintings and fine wood artifacts.
The Haveli embraces not only the traditional Rajput style, but it is also a perfect fusion of Victorian and Mughal style architecture. The blending of various architectural patterns makes the haveli stand out magnificently. The haveli is almost 400 years old but is still well preserved. There are various smaller sections of the haveli which are open to the visitors. It is one of the excellent design works reflecting the beauty of red sandstone architecture.
Karni Mata Temple
It is an exciting and mysterious tourist attraction of Bikaner. The temple is dedicated to Karni Mata who is believed to be an incarnation of Goddess Durga. The temple is situated in Deshnok which lies at a distance of 30km to the south of Bikaner city. It is believed that once Goddess Karni pleaded to Lord Yama to save her son’s life when he drowned. But, when Lord Yama denied her, she restored her own son’s life and declared that her descendants won’t die any longer. Instead, they would be incarnated in the form of rats. Nowadays, the temple houses more than 20,000 rats who are fed, worshipped and protected.
The temple is completely built in marble with silver doors housing the shrine of Karni Mata. The 75cm tall shrine displays Karni Mata holding a Trishul in her hands with holy things placed at her feet. She is adorned with a crown, flower garland and surrounded by lots of rats. The temple holds high religious importance and is one of the major pilgrim sites.
Best Time to Visit Bikaner
The ideal time to check out the top places to visit in Bikaner is during the winter season between the months of November to February. At this time, the temperature ranges from 4 to 23 degrees offering a cool, pleasant climate for the tourists to explore the popular destinations and sightseeing. The monsoon time (July to October) is not the best time, but you can consider travelling during these months as the region experiences an average rainfall (although it is humid). Don’t visit during the summer season (March to June) as the climate is extremely hot with soaring temperatures between 28 to 46 degrees.
How to Reach Bikaner
The nearest airport to Bikaner is Jodhpur airport at a distance of 251 km, which connects all the major cities. From Jodhpur, you’ll need to take a bus or a taxi to reach Bikaner. Then, you’ll easily see all of the best places to visit in Bikaner once you’re in the city.
Various intercity tourist buses like government, private, and deluxe buses travel to Bikaner regularly from the major cities like Agra, Jodhpur, Jaipur, Ajmer, Ahmedabad, Udaipur, and Kota.
The Bikaner and Lalgarh railway junction serves excellent rail service connecting major Indian cities like Delhi, Kolkata, Punjab, Hyderabad, Jodhpur, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, and Guwahati.
- Junagarh Fort by 123_456 (Flickr)
- Junagarh Fort by Beth (Flickr)
- Gajner Palace by simianwolverine (Flickr)
- Lalgarh Palace by simianwolverine (Flickr)
- Rampuria Haveli by Kandukuru Nagarjun (Flickr)
- Karni Mata Temple by Michael Baun (Flickr)
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