Bikaner’s history date backs to 1488A.D. when a Rathore Prince. Rao Bikaji- a descendant of the founder of Jodhpur(1459A.D.) Rao Jodhaji, established his kingdom here. Rao Jodhaji had five sons but Rao Jodhaji had five sons but rao Bikaji was the most enterprising of them. The well of Bikaner-an important source of water are another attraction of the city. These are built on high plinth with slender minareted towers on each of the Four Corners and can be noticed even from a distance.
Bikaji chose a barren wilderness called “jangladesh” and transformed it to an impressive city, called Bikaji after the Founder’s Name. The strategic location of Bikaner on the ancient caravan routes that came from west/Central Asia, made it a Prime trade center in the times of the year. Bikaner stands on a slightly raised ground and is circumscribed by a seven km long embattled wall with five gates. The magnificent forts and palaces created with delicacy in reddish-pink, sandstone, bear testimony to its historical and architectural legacy. Undulating lanes, colorful bazaars and bright and cheerful folks make Bikaner an interesting experience.
Forts & Monuments Of Bikaner
Built in 1593 A.D. by Raja Rai Singh(1571-1611 A.D.), a general in the army of emperor Akbar, the fort is a formidable structure encircled by a moat and has some beautiful places within.
These places, made in red sandstone (Dulmera) and marble, make a picturesque ensemble of countryards, balconies, kiosks and windows dotted all over the structure.
The imposing fort has 986 long wall with 37 bastions and two entrances. It is approached through the Karan Poal which is the main entrance. Among the places of interest are Anop mahal, Ganga niwas and Rang mahal or palace of pleasure. The Anoop Mahal is famous for it’s gold leaf painting. Har Mandir- a majestic chapel where the royal family worshiped there Gods and Goddesses. Chandra mahal or moon palace has exquisite paintings on the lime plaster walls and Phool mahal or the Flower palace is decorated with inset mirror work. The gigantic columns , arches and graceful screen grace the palaces. Karan Mahal was built to commemorate a notable victory over the Mughal Aurangzeb.The other important parts are Durbar Hall, Gaj mandir, Sheesh Mahal or mirror chamber etc.
Timings : 10 AM to 4.30 PM
The architectural masterpiece in red sandstone, the palace was built by Maharaja Ganga Singh (1881-1942 A.D.) in the memory of his father Maharaja Lal Singhji in 1902 AD. The palace has beautiful latticework and filigree work. Sprawling lawns with blooming bougainvillea and dancing peacocks make it to be a not -to-be missed visual treat.
This oriental fantasy Designed by Col. Sir Swinton Jacob, is entirely a hybrid architecture -a mixture of different elements of Rajput, Muslim and European styles and can be categorized as Indo-Seresanic style. The Rajput exterior of this palace contrasts dramatically with the occidental decor within. The intricately dexterous carving on red sandstone is a hallmark of great craftsmanship. The exotic palace has magnificent pillars, richly carved fire mantles , Italian colonnades and motif of lotus in full bloom , adding to the magic of this jewel of the desert. Walls of palaces are reminiscent of the past vintage etchings, hunting trophies and old portraits.
The palace has it’s own museum and library (the fourth largest in the world), clay pigeon trap and skeet shooting traps facilities at adjoining ranges. Bikaner royal family still lives in part of the palace. part of the palace has been converted into a luxury hotel and a museum known as Shri Sadul museum which was donated by late his highness maharaja Dr. Karni Singhji of Bikaner to Maharaja Shri Ganga singhji Trust Bikaner in the year 1972 . The museum covers the entire first floor of the Lallgarh palace and depicts the lives and times of three successive – Maharaja Ganga Singh, Sadul Singh and Karni Singh through the various artifacts and photographs displayed in 22 rooms.
Visiting hours : 10.00 AM to 5.00 PM (Closed on Sundays)
Camel Research Farm (8 km): Spend a day with the indispensable ship of the desert at their camel research and breeding centres which is only one of its kinds in Asia. The farm extends over 2000 acres of semi arid land and is managed by the Central Government. These camels are sold in the cattle fairs of Bikaner and Jaisalmer where they are decorated in all their fineries which are colorful and attractive, complementing the brown terrains of the desert.
Deshnok is a small village situated 32 km south from Bikaner city along the Jodhpur Road. It is connected by national highway and rail. It is a pilgrim centre of Karni Mata. Karni Mata, considered as an incarnation of Goddess Durga lived here in the fourteenth century and performed many miracles. Originally the village was called ‘dus- nok’ meaning ten corners as it was formed by taking ten corners of ten villages.
Before the temple is a beautiful marble facade, which has solid silver doors built by Maharaja Ganga Singh. Across the doorway are more silver doors with panels depicting the various legends of the Goddess. The image of the Goddess is enshrined in the inner sanctum.
Ganga Golden Jubilee MuseumEstablished near the Lalgarh Palace in Bikaner in 1937 on the eve of the Golden jubilee celebrations of Maharaja Ganga Singh, this Museum now run by the Government of Rajasthan, was shifted to a new building in the Civil lines in 1954It is the best Rajasthan museum, having one of the richest collection of Terracotta ware, weapons, maniature paintings of Bikaner school and coins. The exhibits are splendid master pieces of Harappan civilisation, Gupta and Kushan era and sculptures of the late classical time.
Some principal sections of the museum are:
- Maharaja Ganga Singh Memorial.
- Local Arts and Crafts.
- Sculpture, Terracotta and Bronzes.
- Miniature Paintings and Folk-Arts.
- Dr. L.P. Tessitori Memorial Section.
Lithoprints of the British interpretation of the war of Independence 1857.
Open: 10.00 am to 5.00 pm.
Closed: Friday and gazetted holidays.