City of Rajasthan, 244 km from Jodhpur
Visit duration: People typically spend up to 1 day here
Bikaner is located in the northwestern part of Rajasthan. It was founded in 1488 by Rao Bika, the first son of Maharaja Rao Jodha of the Rathore clan. He built Bikaner to establish his kingdom.
The city has a distinct characteristic of a tranquil atmosphere that is great for travellers who are looking for a calm trip.
Bikaner is the fourth largest city in Rajasthan and houses several forts.
Under the rule of its sixth king, Rai Singhji, Bikaner's finances flourished. During the rule of Maharaja Karan Singh, the magnificent Karan Mahal palace was built while Anup Singh Ji renovated the fort with a public audience hall and called it the Anup Mahal.
Maharaja Gaj Singh refurbished the Chandra Mahal. Following him, Maharaja Surat Singh in his era decorated the audience hall and ultimately under a treaty during Maharaja Surat Singh's reign, Bikaner came under British rule and later the rulers of Bikaner refurbished the Junagarh fort.
Despite lying in the Thar Desert, Bikaner is regarded as an oasis due to its abundance of spring water on the trade route between Central Asia and the Gujarat coast.
Raja Rai Singh, the ruler of Bikaner and army general of the then Mughal emperor Akbar, constructed the Junagarh fort between 1589 and 1593. It was built under the surveillance of Karan Chand who was his Prime Minister. The remnants of the original fort are maintained near the Lakshmi Narayan temple.
The Karan Pole gate on the eastern side leads into the fort. The Karan Mahal was used as the Hall of Public Audience, called Diwan-i-Am. It was built later in the 17th and 18th centuries. Anup Mahal Chowk has impressively carved jharokhas and jali screens commissioned by Maharaja Anup Mahal. The Anup Mahal, a hall of a private audience, has its walls painted in vibrant shades of red and gold, while the walls of Badal Mahal, Cloud Palace, are painted with blue cloud motifs with red and gold lightning. The harmony of gold paint, colourful murals, sandalwood, ivory, mirrors, niches and stained glass are a great sight in the Gaj Mandir.
The Ganga Durbar Hall of 1896 built with pink stone walls is covered in mesmerising carvings. The Maharaja Ganga Singh’s office and the Vikram Vilas Durbar Hall hold the pride of the palace as General Maharaja Sir Ganga Singh was the only Indian of Britain’s Imperial War Cabinet during the first world war that commanded the Bikaner Camel Corps.
The British commissioned the Lalgarh palace and authorised it to Maharaja Ganga Singhji of Bikaner. The palace is located in the heart of the Thar Desert. Built between 1902 and 1926 in the Indo-Saracenic style, the palace retains the magic and the grandeur of the bygone royal age.
The Palace depicts a harmonious blend of the east and west that was constructed under the chief architect, Sir Samuel Swinton Jacob. The palace was built in the hands of talented Indian craftsmen from nearby places.
The architecture is a conglomeration of classical Mughal and Rajput craftsmanship with British-influenced interiors such as the billiard, smoking, and card rooms. The exterior of Lalgarh Palace along with the cupola domes and balconies is made of red sandstone and is covered with stone carvings.
The hallways, decorated with fascinating sepia portraits and prized hunting trophies, look regal. Peacocks often frequent the lush and lavish gardens. There's an indoor pool that resembles a perfect artificial desert oasis.
The calm and peaceful environment makes Bikaner a great destination for travellers. The hotels of this city provide the visitors with comfy rooms so that they can relax on their trips.
The budget friendly Harsidhi Haveli is located 5 km from the Junagarh Fort. The facilities offered are air-conditioned accommodations with a balcony and a private bathroom. This hotel has a bicycle rental service and a business centre. The haveli serves a continental or vegetarian breakfast and also has a currency exchange facility.
The hotel is a library of Narendra Singhji’s memories. The interior decoration of the residence is influenced by the burgeoning Art Deco movement of Broadway, rich velveteen fabrics, chiffons and pearls. Hotel Narendra Bhawan has a restaurant and baking house. This is a high budget stay option in Bikaner.
This high budget heritage hotel is located near the Junagarh Fort. It is the ideal lodge to have a royal experience combined with grand rooms, enchanting gardens, and dancing peacocks. The amenities offered to the visitors are dinner on dunes with a bonfire, camel safari, folk music and dance along with regular facilities.
Food is an important part of a vacation and the eateries of the city offer delicious dishes to make the travellers happy on their voyage.
The multicuisine restaurant and cafe are located at Junagarh entrance, Court Road which stays open from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm. Gallops Restaurant is a pocket-friendly eatery which is locally known as Golps and serves both veg and non-veg Indian and Chinese dishes along with pizzas, wraps and sandwiches. They offer both air-conditioned interior and exterior seating.
The first-floor restaurant is located at Station Road which opens at 7:30 am and closes at 10:30 pm. Heeralal Restaurant serves multicuisine dishes that include vegetarian Indian dishes and a few Chinese and Italian dishes. Being close to the railways makes it a perfect place to relax while waiting for a train. The ground floor has a counter of captivating sweets and all the thalis served at this restaurant are pocket-friendly and satisfying.
The cafe is located at Rangmanch Road, Civil Lines which offers its services from 11:30 am to 10:30 pm. Cafe Indra is a very pocket-friendly cafeteria that is bright and clean to relax. The dishes offered can be enjoyed as lunch or dinners like an array of pizzas, burgers and wraps with a coffee or a cold drink.
Bikaner can be reached in less than 3.5 hours by car from Mandawa (Shekhawati), in 4.5 hours from Jodhpur, in 5 hours from Jaisalmer and in 5.5 hours from Jaipur.
Just like all of Rajasthan, Bikaner also has great places where you can shop for souvenirs for your loved ones. Kote Gate market, Mahatma Gandhi Road Market and Station Road Market are some of the most popular places to buy famous Bikaneri products like Mojris (Bikaneri-style shoes), Dupatta (a colourful piece of women’s attire), Kundan jewelleries among other things.
Camel Festival is the most popular festival in Bikaner. This two-day festival is held in the months of January. If you visit during this time, it is better to book for accommodation well in advance since most rooms in the city are sold out.
A day is sufficient to see the main attractions of Bikaner and enjoy the beauty of the city.