Bikaner

 
bikaner

Bikaner is one of the three main destinations on the Desert circuit. The other two being Jaisalmer and Jodhpur. In AD 1485, Bika, the son of Rao Jodha of Jodhpur, built the fort of Bikaner and three years later founded the city by the same name. It is said that a random comment made by his father expressing his displeasure at the son’s whispering talk durbar, so offended bika that he resolved to set up his own kingdom in the deserts of the north and soon left with an expeditionary force comprising 100 horse and 500 foot in order to accomplish his mission. Reaching the Sankhlas and started consolidating his position and extending his domination. When bika died in AD 1504, his rule is said to have extended over 3,000 villages. In the 16th century the Bikaner rues came into conflict with the Mughal emperors in Delhi whom they vanquished in the early encounters. It was Akbar’s diplomacy which finally won the Bikaner rules over. Later, many of them served with distinction as commanders in the Mughal armies. In 1818 Maharaja Surat Sing h negotiated a tresty with the British and Bikaner became a protectorate of the empire.

No account of Bikaner can be complete without the mention of its most illustrious ruler – Maharaja Ganga singh (1800-1943). A man of vision, his reformative zeal hastened the pace of Bikaner’s transformation from a small principality into one of the premier princely states of India. He was regarded as one of the most enlightened rulers of his times, who transformed the very face of Bikaner and its economy by promoting, inter alia, the gang canal, and an ambitious irrigation project that converted large tracts of desert land into rich farmland. The extension of railway lines in the state was another of his important achievements.

The place was especially well known for its school of miniature paintings which are an admixture of the Rajput and Mughal styles.

Major Tourist Spots

Junagarh fort:

 
junagarh-fort

The impregnable fort has the distinction of remaining unconquered. Raja Rai Singh (1571-1611 AD), one of the most outstanding generals of Emperor Akbar, built this impressive fort. It is encircled by a moat and houses many outstanding palaces, Pavilions and temples made of red sandstone and marble with kiosks and balconies.

The main entrance facing towards the east is known as karan Pol. Next to is the Suraj Pol or ‘Sun gate’. Some places of interest inside the fort are Anup Mahal, Ganga Niwas and Rang Mahal or palace of pleasure. Har Mandir is a majestic chapel where the family worshipped their gods and goddesses. Chandra Mahal or ‘moon Palace’ has exquisite paintings on its lime plaster walls and Phool Mahal or the Flower Palace’ is decorated with inset mirror work. Gigantic columns, arches and graceful screens adorn these palaces. Durbar hall, Gaj Mandir sheesh mahal or Mirror Palaces. Durbar hall, Gaj Mandir, Sheesh mahal or Mirror Palace and Karan some other buildings worth seeing.

It also houses a museum possessing a rich teasure of the area, and other rare items which are several centuries old.

Sadul Museum Lalgarh Complex:

 
lalgarh-palace

This imposing red sandstone palace, on the outskirts of the city, was built by maharaja Ganga singh in memory of his father maharaja lal singh. This oriental fantasty, designed by Sir Swinton Jacob, is entirely hybrid architecture –a mixture or different elements of Rajput, Muslim and European styles. The Rajput exterior of this palace contrasta dramatically with the occidental décor within.

The intricately dextrous carving on red sandstone is a hallmark of great craftsmanship. The palace exhibits a marvelous colletion of old photographs and hunting trophies which are well preserved. Lush sprawling lawns with dancing peacocks and beautiful bougainvillea adorn the palace.

A part of the palace has been converted into a hotel and another part houses a museum called sri sadul museum.

Timings: 10 am to 4.30 pm; Entry Fee: Rs. 10/- for India & Rs. 20/- for foreign tourist tourist per head (Sanday closed)

Rajasthan State Archives:

The Rajasthan State archives has its directorate at Bikaner. It has in its custody the administrative records of the Mughal period,

Such as Persian Farmans, nishans, manshurs, akhbarat, Vakil report , Arzdash, Khatoot and the record created during the administration of the princely states of rajasthan such as bahiat, Pattas, Parwanas, Rukkas, chithiat etc.

Because of this unique collection of records, the department is internationally known as an important research centre. For researchers and uses of archives, the facilities of microfilming, reference library, research room are also available. Keeping in view the interest of tourists, a record gallery has been established to exhibit important documents of administrative, social, economical and historical nature.

Timing: 10 am to 4:30 pm

Deshnoke Karni Mata Temple:

 
deshnok-karni-temple

The little town, on the road to Jodhpur, is know for the shrine of karni Mata, a charan woman who is said to have possessed supernatural powers. She blessed Rao bika and was the tutelary deity of the erstwhile Bikaner dynasty.

The temple is unique as the rats, called kabas, are venerated here and the shrine is a sanctuary for them. It is believed that these kabas carry souls of future Charan bards who inhabit the region. Held sacred, they roam freely in the temple precincts. It is considered highly auspicious to sigh a white kaba.

The temple has a richly carved entrance and superb silver doors with images of gods embossed on them. These were donated by maharaja Ganga Singh.

Gajner Palace & Wildlife Sanctuary :

 
gajner-palace

The wildlife sanctuary, amidst lush green surroundings, on the road to Jaisalmer, is a haven for chinkara, black buck, nilgai, wild boar and imperial sand grouse and many birds and waterfowls which flock here in large numbers.The pink sandstone palace reflects beautifully in the water of the lake. The palace has been converted into a heritage hotel.

Entry Free: palace area – Rs. 100/- per head

Other tourist attractions

  • Haveli
  • Ganga Govt. Museum
  • Shiv bari temple
  • Devi kund
  • Camel research farm
  • Kolayatji
  • Kalibangan

Travelling to Bikaner

Air: The nearest airport is Jodhpur (252km)

Rail: Bikaner is well connected with regular train service from Delhi, jaipur, Jodhpur, Bhatinda, Kalka Howrah, Mumbai.

Road: Regular bus services are available for Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Ajmer, Jaipur, Udaipur, Agra, Delhi etc.

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