Tourist Places in Bikaner
Bikaner is a city in Rajasthan that traces its roots back to 1488, when Rao Bika founded it. Before 1488 it was a barren land covered with sand located amidst the Thar desert. But even then, it was a popular point amongst travelers from Central Asia due to the presence of an oasis. Rao Bika was Maharaja Rao Jodha's son. Maharaja Rao Jodha belonged to the Rathore Clan and was the founder of Jodhpur city. His son didn't want to inherit what his father built and created his Kingdom, Bikaner. The city has been named after its founder, Rao Bika. When the Mughals came to rule over India, the city was under the control of Emperor Akbar and his son Jahangir. General Maharaja Ganga Singh ruled over the place during British rule in India. In 1949, the city acceded to the Union of India.
From a barren place to the fourth largest city in India, Bikaner has progressed a lot. The Ganges Canal (1928) and Indira Gandhi Canal (1987) have aided in its development to a great extent.With sand dunes spread across the city, it boasts its forts, palaces, and rich cultural heritage. It harbors many worth-visiting places, which are mentioned below-
1. Junagarh Fort
Raja Rai Singh constructed Junagarh Fort in 1593. The fort's structure is made up of palaces and temples. The exquisitely designed gardens, lawns, and windows draw visitors' attention. The Zenana quarters are a popular attraction here because of their stunning designs of incredible creativity.
Its surroundings, Karan Mahal, Anup Mahal, Chandra Mahal, and Phool Mahal, are equally well-known. It is believed that crocodiles were bred within the water canals surrounding the fort's impressive structure as part of their defense strategy. The structure is a stunning blend of Mughal, Gujarati, and Rajputana styles. It is one of the top places to go in Bikaner.
Timings: 10 AM to 4:30 PM.
Price: Rs. 30/-.
2. Karni Mata Temple
Karni Mata Temple is a famous place of worship in Bikaner. This Temple is famous for its huge population of rats, which remain permanent inhabitants. The sanctuary dates back to the 15th century and is dedicated to Karni Mata, Goddess Durga's incarnation.According to legend, Karni Mata's son died after drowning in a pond from which he intended to drink water. Then, Karni Mata asked Yama, the god of death, to revive her child. At first, he refused, but afterward, he relented. He said that her son and all of her male children would be reincarnated as rats.
Presently, about 25000 rats live on the temple premises, and eating food after getting it nibbled on by the rats is considered auspicious. The Temple was sculpted out of marble and stones and had gates made of silver, crafted in the name of Maharaja Ganga Singh, and an edging that shields rats from birds.
Timings: 4 AM to 10 PM.
3. Gajner Palace
Gajner Palace is among the most visited tourist attractions in Bikaner. It is a lakeside palace with a sanctuary adjacent to it. The palace was erected by Maharaja Ganga Singh Ji, an earlier ruler of Bikaner province. Gajner Palace was used for hunting purposes and was a holiday lodge in the past times. It has now been converted into a heritage hotel.The red sandstone structure is a perfect example of skillful craftsmanship. Beautifully sculpted and intricately designed pillars, jharokhas, and screens are prime features of the palace.
The palace is located amidst a dense forest; visitors can see wandering birds such as Imperial Sand Goose; animals like Antelopes, Black Bucks, Nilgais, Chinkaras, Blue Bull, and Deer are also visible. This place is considered among the most splendid destinations in Bikaner.
Timings: 10 AM to 6 PM
4. Lalgarh Palace
Another architectural marvel within Bikaner is the Lalgarh Palace. The marvelous palace was constructed under Maharaja Ganga Singh. The palace has been modified into an opulent hotel and is a great spot to spend your time. The lavish Rajputana design, paired with the exquisite interior design, draws guests to this place.
Built-in the 20th century, the mansion also has a museum located in the Ganga Niwas.An existing library located here contains a huge assortment of Sanskrit Manuscripts printed on parchments and plaques made of silver, copper, and gold. Here, one can see the miniature paintings closely related to the Bikaner school of arts. Artifacts from the Harappan culture, Kushan era, and Gupta era are also preserved at this site, and it is truly one of the most beautiful places to visit in Bikaner.
Timings: 10 AM to 5 PM (except Sundays)
Entry fee: Rs. 10/- for Indians, Rs. 20/- for Foreigners.
5. Rampuria Haveli
Havelis of Bikaner are not only an aesthetic delight but a wonderful illustration of the exquisite aesthetics that our forefathers had entrusted to us. They are stunningly beautiful. The wealthy merchants of Bikaner built Rampuria Havelis over about a hundred years. The Havelis of Bikaner take us back to the ancestral times. These Havelis are one of the top places to visit in Bikaner within a single day. And when you see the awe-inspiring splendor and beauty of its architecture, it feels like you are transported back by many years.
They are adorned with gold work that is of the finest quality. The rooms and halls are decorated and embellished by the aesthetics of art. The décor comprises top-quality artifacts and paintings made of high-quality wood. The drawing-room in the Havelis takes visitors back to Mughal and Rajput times. You can see a lot of Victorian Influence in their designs and decor. The wood carvings of Rampuria Havelis are extremely exquisite. Animals, flowers, and birds created in red sandstone look more vibrant and beautiful than the ones you see in reality. They are located in close vicinity of one another. The Havelis are stunning to look at.
Timings: 6 AM to 6 PM
6. Bikaner Camel Festival
Bikaner's Camel festival is an annual event that draws many visitors to the beautiful sands in the Thar Desert. The festival is organized by the Department of Tourism (Rajasthan) and is a tribute to the sturdy desert animals, specifically the camel.
Additionally, it is an annual celebration where the vibrant splendor of Rajasthan is seen in full. The festival begins with a parade of beautifully decorated camels. The stunning appearance of these camels against the backdrop of red Junagarh Fort is quite appealing. You can relish the performances of the folk musicians.
Artisans and camel traders from all over Rajasthan are gathered here. Many spectacular competitions for camels, such as beauty pageants, races, and competitions for best breeds, take place at the festival, making it one of the top Bikaner tourist spots. Numerous food stalls, shops selling handicrafts, and dances involving skirts are other highlights of the fest.
7. Bhandasar Jain Temple
One of the two of Bikaner's most renowned Jain temples, Bhandasar Temple is considered one of the most beautiful places to go to in Bikaner. It is decorated with yellow stone carvings as well as vivid paintings. The inside of the Temple is remarkable, with the murals on the wall and the pillars. The walls are decorated with beautiful floral arabesques of 24 Jain teachers.
Built-in the 16th century, the three-storied Temple has models of gods' sentries on the lower floor. From the top, visitors can enjoy an expansive view of the city. It is believed that up to 40000 kg of ghee has been used in lieu of water to make the mortar. A Jain merchant, Bhandasa Oswal, commissioned this temple which is dedicated to Sumtinath, the 5th Tirthankar. It is filled with the essence of the historical past.
Timings: 05:00 AM to 01:00 PM in the morning and 05:30 PM to 11:30 PM during the evening.
8. Royal Cenotaphs, Devikund Sagar
The top destinations to visit in Bikaner surely contains this name- Devi Kund Sagar. It is a well-known place since it is the cremation site of people of the ruling family of Bikaner following Jet Singh, the great-grandson of Rao Bikaji. The cenotaphs have been erected as a token of tribute to them. There is a pond with royal cenotaphs of the Bikaner dynasty rulers ranging from Rao Kalyan Singhji through Maharaja Karni Singh, on either side; Cenotaphs or chhatris of 22 Cities belonging to the family of royals before Maharaja Gaj Singh. His cenotaph is also present.
The impressive architectural skills shown on these cenotaphs are the primary reason that draws more people to visit this place. Surat Singh's cenotaph is constructed entirely of white marble and displays an amazing beauty. The entire structure is embellished with stunning paintings.
Timings: 9 AM to 5 PM
Entry Fee: Rs. 5/-
9. Gajner Wildlife Sanctuary
Gajner Wildlife Sanctuary is a fantastic spot to experience the natural habitat and wildlife. The sanctuary is home to a variety of animals, such as Chinkara (Black Buck), wild boar, Nilgai, Antelopes, and many more. It is one of the most popular Bikaner tourist spots and is situated at a distance of 32 kilometers from Bikaner.
A safari is an excellent adventure for anyone who loves nature and wildlife. It is home to many birds, including Sandgrouse. This was once a hunting ground for the Maharaja and ruling family, and now it is an animal sanctuary home to rich fauna and flora. Additionally, the bird lookouts offer a great opportunity to spot birds of different species in this park.
The sanctuary has unique animals and plants. Gajner Palace and Gajner Lake are both located within the nature reserve. You can have a fantastic time walking around. Camels and Jeep safaris allow you to see wildlife and even migration birds.
Timings: 10 AM to 5 PM
Entry fee: Rs. 100/- per person
10. Sadul Singh Museum
Sadul Singh Museum is among the most important historical sites to see in Bikaner. It was established in 1972. The museum features an amazing collection of Georgian paintings, hunting trophies, and other rare artifacts.
This museum was established to honor three notable kings from Bikaner, namely Maharaja Ganga Sing, Sadul Singh, and Karni Singh.Situated in the Lalgarh palace, it has distinct sessions for each king, with their stories, accomplishments, and achievements displayed elaborately. All these photos and artifacts provide a vivid description of the royal family's life, which still resides in the palace. Lalgarh palace symbolizes the British as well as Indian architecture and culture.
Timings: 10 AM to 5 PM (except Sunday)
Entry fee: 10 for Indians, Rs. 20 for foreign tourists
11. G. Road
Another worth-visiting place in Bikaner is the M.G. Road, also known across the nation by the name Mahatma Gandhi Road. It is among the top locations in Bikaner to go on a shopping spree.
It is home to some of the most beautiful Indian sarees like georgette, chiffon, and tie and dye (bandhani), among others. It has numerous stores that sell beautiful ethnic clothing. The road is also famous for its shops and vendors that sell excellent quality wooden artifacts as well as leather items. In addition, you can take pleasure in delicious beverages, food, and Rajasthani snacks from the numerous eateries, food stalls, and cafes on this street.
Timings: 10 AM to 10 PM
12. Camel Safari
Camel safaris in Bikaner have become a major tourist attraction since it enables you to traverse the gorgeous sand dunes of the Thar Desert sitting on the back of the 'king of the deserts'-the camel. The region has extreme temperatures during the winter months and summer. Safaris tend to happen near sunrise and sunset as the sand is comparatively cooler. Bikaner is an old city, with numerous structures and temples serving as reminders of the transitions that have occurred through history and how the families adapted to them. Safaris are a wonderful experience that you should definitely take if you visit Bikaner. There are a variety of packages to go on safaris to suit your needs.
13. Sursagar Lake
One of the best tourist destinations in Bikaner that you should definitely check out is Sursagar Lake. It is an artificial lake that was built under Maharaja Sur Singh during his reign to alleviate water shortages. Sursagar Lake is one of the most popular sights in the city.
Apart from having a relaxing picnic, you can also take pleasure in boating with friends and family here. The surroundings of the lake are well maintained, and there are steps on the side of the lake for sitting peacefully. It is indeed a serene place to unwind.
Timings: Open 24 hours
14. Laxmi Niwas Palace
This palace stands as an epitome of opulence and grandiosity. It was built between 1898 and 1902 by Sir Samuel Swinton, a British Architect. It was the former place of residence of the king of Bikaner, Maharaja Ganga Singh. But now it has been transformed into a luxurious hotel. Having 45 deluxe rooms and 12 royal suites, it has an Indo-Saracenic architectural style. There is a garden that regularly hosts puppet shows and musical performances for the guests. One can also find a museum that depicts the various aspects of the lives of Rajputana Kings. It is truly a great place to stay!
Timings: 10 AM to 6 PM
Entry Fee: Rs. 200/-