BIKANER
ABOUT THE PLACE

Lying at the centre of the golden triangle travel circuit of Rajasthan, Bikaner is a city where beauty has bloomed in the desert. The city is surrounded by sand dunes. Like other fort cities of Rajasthan Bikaner is also encircled with a high raised protective wall. The old Bikaner city was guarded by a 7-km long wall with five entry gates leading to the city premise. The imposing Junagarh Fort and many palaces within the ambit of lofty walls contribute to its timeless beauty.

HOW TO REACH

Bikaner Mail, Bikaner Express, Bikaner Link Express leave from Delhi and Jaipur–Bikaner Express from Jaipur for Bikaner.

Bikaner is 317 km from Jaipur. Hiring private cars or availing bus service this distance can be covered.


BEST TIME TO VISIT

Except summer and winter any time is best time to visit Rajasthan.


ACCOMMODATION

ACCOMMODATION

Government Accommodation

Hotel Dhilamaru
Rajasthan Tourism Development Nigam
Tel: (0151) 2529621
Rent: Double-bedroom costs Rs. 600–900/-.


Private Accommodation

Hotel Santi Nibash
Tel: (0151) 2542320
Rent: Double-bedroom costs Rs. 350–900/-.

Hotel Suraj
Tel: (0151) 2521902
Rent: Double-bedroom costs Rs. 400–800/-.

Hotel Jaidev Plaza
Tel: (0151) 25444422
Rent: Double-bedroom costs Rs. 450–750/-.

Hotel Shivsakti
Tel: (0151) 2543625
Rent: Double-bedroom costs Rs. 250–400/-.

Hotel Palace View
Tel: (0151) 2543625
Rent: Double-bedroom costs Rs. 500–900/-.

Hotel Bikaner
Tel: (0151) 2523943
Rent: Double-bedroom costs Rs. 500–700/-.

Akshaya
Tel: (0151)2545339
Rent: Double-bedroom costs Rs. 425–850/-.

Joshi
Tel: (0151)2527700
Rent: Double-bedroom costs Rs. 375–675/-.

Deluxe
Tel: (0151) 2528127
Rent: Double-bedroom costs Rs. 200–600/-.

Bhawani
Tel: (0151) 2548715
Rent: Double-bedroom costs Rs. 300–900/-.


GETTING AROUND

Junagarh Fort

The Chief of Army of Mughal emperor Akbar, Raysingh initiated construction of this fort in the year 1588. By 1593 the fort was complete. Made of red sandstone the outer wall of the fort is 986 meter long and has 37 domes in it. The main entrance is called Surajpol and the other entrance is called Karanpol. A 30-feet deep ditch encircles the high raised outer wall. The gates of the fort are open from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. everyday. Entry free is Rs. 10/-.

Walking down the wide courtyard and passing through the main entrance takes you to the core palace area. The breathtakingly beautiful decorations and intricate embroideries on the hanging balconies, pillars and windows fill one’s heart with veneration for Rajput architecture and fine arts. The imprints of the hands of Satis on both sides of the wall of the main entrance are testimonials of the valor and sacrifice of the highly motivated Rajut royal ladies.

The core palace area is fragmented into different mahals or quarters. Anup Mahal is the main division. Coronation of the king used to take place at Rajtilak Mahal. Badal Mahal has a full size portrait of Mahajaj Sardarsingh. The mahals are connected by small courtyards. The king used to rule sitting on the marble floor of one such courtyard beside the water hole together with his courtiers. Harmandir was a place for family gathering and entertainment. Karan Mahal, Chattar Mahal, Dungar Nivas, Chandra Mahal, Fool Mahal are some of the beautiful segments of Junagarh Fort.

On the other side of the entrance is the Museum. The entry fee is Rs. 10/- per head. Dresses and ornaments of the members of the royal family and their courtesans are on display here.


Lalgargh Fort

Built by Maharaja Gangasinghji in the year 1902 in memory of his father Maharaja Lalsinghji, the Lalgarh Fort is an admixture of Rajput, Mughal and European architecture. A part of the fort has been turned into a heritage hotel. Ensconced amidst a well manicured lush green lawn with peacocks roaming around freely, the palace is a visual delight inside out. The inside walls are adorned with paintings and taxidermies.

The museum of the fort displays items used by Maharaja Gangasingh, Sardulsingh and Karnasingh.

The Fort is open every day except Sunday from 10:00 a.m. till 5:00 p.m. Entry fee is Rs. 10/- per person.

Golden Jubilee Museum

The history of Bikaner is preserved in this museum. The sculptures of Gupta and Kushan period, oil paintings of German painter Mullar, decorative pieces of earthenware, carpets, weapons, coins are esthetically displayed in the rooms of the museum. The museum is open everyday except Friday from 10:00 a.m. till 4:30 p.m. Entry fee is Rs. 3/- per head.

The Rajasthan State Archive preserves the valuable documents of Mughal period.

In the vicinity:
Devikund

At a distance of 8 km from Bikaner Devikund is the royal memorial park. The exquisitely decorated rajchatries exemplifies the Rajput brilliance in the field of architecture and fine art. The chatry of Raja Suratsingh is a must-see.


Shivbari

6 km away from the city is the temple of Lord Shiva made by Maharaja Dungarsingh.


Bhandeswer Jain Temple

This temple is famous for the beauty of its interior. It is decorated with intricately done glass-work, frescos and gold-leaf-embellished paintings.


Camel Breeding Farm

A unique endeavour to increase the number of camels and to take care of them is going on in Camel Breeding Farm, 8 km from Bikaner. This research center is open everyday except Sunday from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.


Temple of Karanimata

This famous temple is situated in a place called Deshnok, 32 km south of Bikaner. Renowned for its reverence for the innumerable rats residing inside the temple premise as holy carrier of Lord Ganesha, the temple has earned the name Chuha temple. The temple authority charges fine against those pilgrims who stampede the rats.



TRAVEL TIPS • Adequate protection is needed to save oneself from the scorching heat of Rajasthan. Caps and umbrellas are most convenient shields.
• While exploring the mysteries of the forts don’t forget to carry enough quantity of water.

It can be a good idea to visit Gajani from Bikaner and Kolayet from Gajani.

Gajani, 32 km from Bikaner, is an evergreen sanctuary with hotel turned heritage palace Gajan by its side. The then king of Bikaner Raja Gangasinghji built this palace beside a man-made lake at the heart of Thar Desert. The sanctuary is home to Nilgai, Chinkara, Krishnasar, wild pig, etc.

The palace was the summer rest house of the king and in 1976 it was turned into a heritage hotel. The hotel offers safari facilities. It costs Rs. 1,500/- per couple per hour. Boating cost Rs. 150/- per head. The entry fee for the palace area is Rs. 100/- per head inclusive of tea and other beverage costs.

Kolayet is 18 km from Gajani. The only attraction here is a huge lake and the temple of Kapilmuni by its side. Pilgrims come here to take a holy dip in the lake and offer puja in the temple.

In the month of Kartik a fair is organized here and in winter migratory birds throng this lake. Tourists can enjoy boating on the lake as well.


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