Bikaner – Known for Forts and Foods

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Introduction

Bikaner  is a city in the northwest of the state of Rajasthan in northern India. It is located 330 kilometres (205 mi) northwest of the state capital, Jaipur. Bikaner city is the administrative headquarters of Bikaner District and Bikaner division.

Formerly the capital of the princely state of Bikaner, the city was founded by Rao Bika in 1486 and from its small origins it has developed into the fourth largest city in Rajasthan. The Ganges Canal, completed in 1928, and the Indira Gandhi Canal, completed in 1987, facilitated its development.


Climate

Bikaner is situated in the middle of the Thar desert and has a hot semi-arid climate with very little rainfall and extreme temperatures. In summer temperatures can exceed 45 °C, and during the winter they may dip below freezing.

The climate in Bikaner is characterised by significant variations in temperature. In the summer season it is very hot when the temperatures lie in the range of 28–50.5 °C (82.4–122.9 °F). In the winter, it is fairly cold with temperatures lying in the range of 5–23.2 °C (41.0–73.8 °F). Annual rainfall is in the range of 260–440 millimetres (10–17 in).


How to Reach

Bikaner can be reached by train from Delhi, Jaipur, Mumbai, Agra, Punjab and other major Indian towns. It can also be reached by road from Delhi via Shekhawati or Jaipur. The highways are very good. However, the country roads in the Shekhawati region can be a bit of a dampener. The road from Jaipur, Jaisalmer and Jodhpur are the best roads. The nearest airport is Jodhpur (around 4.5 hours journey) and is well connected by road and rail. However, traveling via Jaipur (6.5 hours distance) gives you more options in terms of flight frequency and choice of airlines. Overall it comes out to be cheaper (due to availability of low-cost airlines) if you travel via Jaipur.

By Taxi

Various tour operators and travel agencies offer chauffeured car-taxi services. These are charged on a per km, per day basis. You can plan to take one to arrive into the city or take one for sightseeing in and around the city.

There are many car rental services in Delhi which can provide chauffeur driven cars to Bikaner.

Roam Around

Getting around in Bikaner is best done using trishaws and tongas (horse carts) due to the fact that streets are too narrow (so that they are not clogged with sand in case of a sand storm, which are very frequent) and busy for cars. These are very cheap, and a day’s hire shouldn’t cost more than 250 rupees. Bicycles can be hired near the railway station.

Taxi/Car Rentals:
Inquiry: 7am to 11pm. Bikaner Car Rental services on taxiguide.in – a chauffeur driven car rental service in 75 cities in India. Fares starting Rs.2342 for within city and Rs.14.5/km for outstation.


Must See Places

Junagarh Fort: The fort was built by Raja Rai Singh, the sixth ruler of Bikaner, who reigned from 1571 to 1612. It is a fort of the Bikaner royal family. You will get a chance to know about the history of the Bikaner royal family. Also has a museum which displays weapons and ornaments of previous eras. This is one of the oldest forts and was one of the few forts in India that was never defeated. One of the kings saved all Hindus in India from being converted to Islam by emperor Aurangzeb.

Laxmi Niwas Palace: The Laxmi Niwas Palace is a former residential palace of the king of the former Bikaner state, Maharajah Ganga Singh in Bikaner in the Indian state of Rajasthan. It was designed by the British architect, Sir Samuel Swinton Jacob in the year 1902, completed in year 1926, and it is part of Lalgarh palace. The style of architecture is Indo-Saracenic. It is now a luxury hotel owned by Golden Triangle Fort & Palace P. Ltd.

Lalgarh: Lalgarh is another fort of the Rajputana family. Some of the the Rajputana kings used to stay here. You will see the royal story of the Rajputana family.

Bikaner Camel Research Center: Visitors are welcome in the afternoons. Learn about the camel breeds common to the area. Museum and gift shop on the premises. Don’t pass up the opportunity to taste camel’s milk ice cream at the snack bar.

Shivbari Temple, Shivbari choraha. This is a centuries old Shiva temple. It has two huge “Baoris” (water reservoirs). Thousands of people visit this place every year.  

Rampuriya Haveli.  

Jain Temple Bhandasar.  

Ganga museum. A government museum,worth to visit  

Devi Kund Sagar: It is a royal crematorium place with lot of cenotaphs (chattris) just 10 minutes away from Junagarh. Auto rickshaws will charge barely INR 15-20


Special Attraction

Karni Mata Temple at Deshnoke, 32kms from Bikaner. This is a temple of a local deity, Karni Mata. It is believed that Karni Mata used to take care of the Rajputana family. At this temple, rats are fed and cared for, as the locals believe them to be holy. You will likely be told that seeing a certain white rat is very auspicious, but if you press further most locals will tell you there is always one or two visible around the temple. Be careful while walking inside the temple, you might accidentally step on a rat.