Bikaner : The Desert Bation of Culture & Camels
Striking Bikaner, a symbol of rich culture and heritage, in the midst of which is harsh desert surroundings, was laid in 1488 A.D., by the Rathore prince, Bika, the loveliest and most innovative son of Rao Jodha of Marwar. The splendid city was set directly on the ancient caravan routes, which linked west/central Asia and north India with the seaports of Gujarat. Due to the deliberate location, it became a affluent trade center of the medieval period. It was then know as Jangaldesh and was coveted by Gujar, Pratihars, Chauhans and the Bhatis. The fortified town still conserves the characteristic of medieval times, as its geographical position keep it almost isolated from outside influences. The city is encircled by slightly raised ground and 7 kms long embattled wall with five gateways. Within the fortifications, there is an amazing world of rich culture and heritage. It is studded with superb forts, places, lofty houses and mansion noted for their architectural grandeur.
The busy bazars of the town are a shoppers enchantment. It is also famous for delicacies like bhujias, papads and rasgullas which are popular all over the world. Bikaner is also known for its school of miniature paintings. The city has emerged as a major wool producing center. It is popularly called as the ‘camel country’ and has only Camel Research Farm in the Asia.
How to get there
Airways : Nearest airport Jodhpur (252 Km).
Railways : Bikaner is well connected with regular train services from Delhi, Jaipur Jodhpur, Bhatinda, Kalka and Howrah and Mumbai. The gorgeous ‘palace on Wheels’ also covers Bikaner in its eight-day tour of Rajasthan.
Roadways : Regular bus services are available for Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Ajmer, Jaipur, Udaipur, Agra, Delhi etc. There are local and inter-state bus services for Bikaner.
Particulars About Bikaner
Area : 38.10 sq. km.
Altitude : 237 meters
Languages : Hindi, Rajasthani, English.
Temperature : Summer Mean Max. 41.8 0C Mean Min. 28 0C Winter Mean Max. 23.2 0C Mean Min 10 0C.
Rainfall : 26-44 cms.
Clothing : Summer : Light tropical or cotton, Winter : Woollen.
Discovering Bikaner :-
Raja Rai Singh, one of the most outstanding generals of Emperor Akbar, had the credit to build an invincible fort, in 1588 A.D. It has the peculiarity of residual unconquered. The fort is formidable structure encircled by a moat and many palaces within, pavilions, and temples made of red sandstone and marble with kiosks and balconies. Gigantic columns, arches and graceful screens grace the places of the fort. The ‘Karan Pole’ is the main entrance facing to the east. Next to it is ‘Suraj Pol or ‘Sun Gate’. Some of the notable monuments within the parapets are Anup Mahal, Ganga Niwas and Rang Mahal or ‘Palace of Pleasure’. The outstanding Har Mandir is the place, where members of royal family worshipped. Chandra Mahal or ‘Moon Palace’ is decked with wonderful paintings on the lime plaster walls and the Phool Mahal or the ‘Flower Palace’ is decorated with inset mirror work. Other central sites worth seeing are Durbar Hall, Gaj Mahdir, Sheesh Mahal or ‘Mirror Chamber’ and Karan Mahal etc. The fort also houses a rich collection of the artiparticulars of the region and several centuries old antiques in its museum.
Lalgarh Palace complex or Sadul Museum
The museum is kept in the upper story of Sadul Niwas building of Lalgarh Palace. It was built by Maharaja Ganga Singh, in memory of his father Maharaja Lal Singh in 1902 A.D. This museum displayed the lives and times of the successive Maharajas of Bikaner i.e. Maharaja Ganga Singhji, Maharaja Sadul Singhji Maharaja Karni Singhji with the help of various photographs displayed in 22 rooms. This oriental fantasy was planned by Sir Swinton Jacob and is hybrid architecture, a mixture of Rajput, Mulim and European style. The intricate dextrous carving on the red sandstone and the filigree work is indeed a hallmark of great craftsmanship. The palace exhibits a rich collection of old photographs and hunting trophies. The lush sprawling lawns decorated with beautiful bougainvilleas attract to the beauty of the palace. Other part of the palace has now been converted into a luxury hotel.
Rajasthan State Archives
The directorate of Rajasthan State Archives is at Bikaner. It has a rich collection of executive records of the Mughal period, such as Persian Farmans, Nishans, Manshurs, Akhbarat, Vakil Report, Arzdasht and Kahatoot. There are also records like Bahiat, Pattas, Parwanas, Rukkas, Chithiat etc., which were created during the management of the princely states of Rajasthan.
For researchers and other users of archives, the department offers facilities like, microfilming, reference library and research room etc. For this kind of work, it is internationally known as research centre. A record gallery has been established for the tourists as well. It displays important documents of administrative, social, economical and historical value.
Ganga Government Museum
It has a rich fortune of antiquities from Harappan civilization, Gupta and Kushan era and sculptures of the late classical time , so it is one of the best museums in the State. A separate section for arts and crafts has a fine collection of paintings, weaponry, terracotta pottery, carpets and coins etc. are displayed.
Bhandeshwar Jain Temple
Beautiful 15th century shrine is the oldest existing memorial of Bikaner. The temple is adorned with rich mirror work, frescoes and gold leaf paintings, dedicated to 5th Jain Tirthankara, Sumatinathji.
Raj Ratan Bihari & Rasik Siromani Temple
This glorious 19th century holy place was built by Ratan SinghJi and Sardar SinghJi. It is sited in Ratan Bihari Park and is built in mansion architecture.
The Camel country teams with beautiful havelis and mansion of reputed business houses like, Kotharis, Rampurias, Vaidyas and Dagas. These beautiful structures in red stone are ornately carved and noted for their architectural grandeur.
Beside these, Devi Kund, Karni mata Temple, Gajner Palace znd wildlife Sanctuary, Shiv bari, Kolayatji etc. are worth visiting.