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BIKANER

 
 
     
 
     
 
BIKANER : Lying in the north of the desert State, the city is dotted with scores of sand dunes. Bikaner retains the medieval grandeur that permeates the city's lifestyle. More readily called the camel country, the city is distinguished for the best riding camels in the world and hence boasts of having one of the largest Camel Research and Breeding farms in the world. The ship of the desert is an inseparable part of
life here. A camel besides being a mode of transport, also works on wells. These are built on high plinths with slender minarets on each of the four corners and can be noticed even from a distance.

The history of Bikaner dates back to 1486 when a Rathore prince, Rao Bikaji founded his kingdom. Bikaji was one the five sons of Rao Jodhaji the illustrious founder of Jodhpur . But Rao Bikaji was the most adventurous of them. It is said that an insensitive remark from his father about his whispering in the Durbar provoked Bikaji to set up his own kingdom towards the north of Jodhpur . The barren wilderness called Jangladesh became his focul point and he transformed it into an impressive city. He accomplished this task with 100 cavalry horses and 500 soldiers, and established his kingdom on 84 villages abandoned by the 'Shankhlas'. When Bikaji died in 1504 his rule had extended to over 3000 villages.
 
 
     
The strategic location of Bikaner on the ancient caravan routes that came from West/Central Asia made it a prime trade centre in those times. 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 rich historical and architectural legacy. Surging lanes, colourful bazaars with bright and cheerful folks make Bikaner an interesting experience.
Modern Bikaner is the result of the foresight of its most eminent ruler Maharaja Ganga Singh (1887-1943) whose reformative zeal set the pace for Bikaner transformation from a principality to a premier princely state.
SIGHT SEEING
 
 
JUNAGARH :
It is an unassailable fortress, which had never been conquered. Built in 1593 A.D. by Raja Rai Singh, one of the most distinguished generals in the army of Emperor Akbar, the fort is a formidable structure encircled by a moat.

The main entrance to the fort is Karan Pol [gate] that  is  facing east. Next to it is the Suraj Pol meaning the sun gate. In the fort complex are some
magnificent palaces like Anup Mahal, Ganga Niwas and Rang Mahal or palace of pleasure. The Har Mandir is the majestic chapel for the royal family for worshipping their gods and goddesses. These palaces, constructed in red sandstone and marble, make a picturesque ensemble of courtyards, balconies, kiosks and windows dotted all over the structure. The premises also house a museum, which has an array of rich collection.
 
 
     
LALGARH PALACE :
This grand palace is an architectural masterpiece in red sandstone, and was built by Maharaja Ganga Singh in the memory of his father Maharaja Lall Singh in 1902. Sir Swinton Jacob designed this oriental fantasy. This architecture is a fusion of  Rajput, Mughal and European architecture. The exterior contrasts dramatically with the oriental interiors and amenities. The palace has beautiful latticework and filigree work, which
are the hallmarks of great craftsmanship.The Palace has an amazing collection of well maintained paintings and hunting trophies. Sprawling lawns with blooming bougainvillea and dancing peacocks make for a visual extravaganza.
 
 
 

BHANDESWAR JAIN TEMPLE :
Bhandeswar Jain Temple is a fifteenth century temple and is the oldest monument of Bikaner . The temple is decorated with rich mirror work, frescoes and gold leaf paintings.

Havelis are ancient mansions of the noble and wealthy. They are known for their opulent lifestyle and intricate carvings and craftsmanship along with sprawling courtyards. Bikaner is full of such havelis and the notable amongst them belong to Kotharis, Rampurias, Vaids and Dagas. To view these havelis, the suggested route is Gogagate, Daddhon Ka Chowk, Rangari Chowk, Assanion Ka Chowk, Mohta Chowk, Binnanion Ka Chowk, Daga Chowk, BK School and Jassuar Gate.

GANGA SINGH MUSEUM :
Popularly described as the best museum in the State, it displays a rich array of archaeological discoveries from prehistoric Harrapan and early Gupta period. Separate sections put on view paintings, arts and craft, terra cotta, pottery, carpets, coins and ancient Rajput weaponry. 

SADUL MUSEUM :
Part of the Lallgarh Palace has been converted into a luxury hotel and a museum known as Shri Sadul Museum . The museum covers the entire first floor of the palace and houses well preserved old photographs and trophies of wildlife. 

 
     
 
PRACHINA MUSEUM :
It's a museum located in the great Junagarh Fort. The museum is dedicated to royal costumes, textiles and accessories. 'Poshaks' or the ladies ensemble displayed are perhaps the last remnants of the traditional designing styles and workmanship. The museum also reveals a study of changing cultural settings in its display of family portraits of the former
rulers. Changes inspired by the western influences appear strikingly. The vivid glimpses of legacy that survived in contemporary Bikaner are also visible.
 
 
     
RAJASTHAN STATE ARCHIVES :
Rajasthan State Archives: This Directorate is located in Bikaner . The archives have in their custody some very precious administrative record of Mughal period like Persian Farmans, Nishans, Manshurs, Akbarat, Vakil Report, Arzdasht, Khatoot and the record created during administration of the Princely states of Rajasthan such as Bahiat, Pattas, Parwanas, Rukkas, Chithiat etc. Because of this exceptional collection of records the
archives is of immense value to researchers all over the world. Facilities like microfilming, reference library and research rooms are also available to researchers. An exhibition of important documents is also set up especially for tourist interest.
TEMPLES
 
 
     

Shiv Bari Temple : (6 kms from Bikaner )
Fortified by a high wall the temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Maharaja Doongar Singh constructed it in the nineteenth century in the memory of his father Maharaj Lall Singh The temple has a beautiful wall painting of Nandi Bull facing the Shiva Lingam. This is located on the way to the camel town.
 
 
 
     
Devi Kund (8 kms from Bikaner ) :
The royal crematorium has several exquisite cenotaphs (Chhatris). Each Chhatri is dedicated to the memory of a ruler of Bikaji dynasty and is situated on the exact place where each of them was cremated. The Chhatri of Maharaj Surat Singh is a fine example of architecture. The ceilings of the Chhatris display some delicate Rajput paintings.
 
 
 
DESHNOK TEMPLE :
Deshnok is a small village situated 32 km south of Bikaner city along the Jodhpur Road . It is connected by national highway and rail. It is a pilgrim centre of Karni Mata –said to be an incarnation of Goddess Durga-who 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.
In front of 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.
 
 
 
NEAR BIKANER
NATIONAL RESEARCH CENTRE ON CAMEL (10 km)
Spend a day with the indispensable ship of the desert at the 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 Government of India.
     
GAJNER PALACE : Gajner is an incomparable jewel in the Thar. It was built by the great Maharaja Ganga Singh of Bikaner on the embankment of a lake with a generous dose of flora and fauna. Basically a hunting and relaxing lodge, the maharaja and the family shared their passion with their exclusive guests and hosted exotic holidays for them. Around the palace is a thick forestation that encourages the guests
to go for a simple walk admiring the migratory birds in winter like imperial sand grouse, antelopes, black bucks and the animal species that wander around in the form of Nilgais, chinkaras, deers etc. The hotel is spread over a large area, and the ambience around is as raw and authentic as it was before.
 
 
     
KOLYAT :
Is located 50 kilometers from Bikaner . It is a temple complex of Kolyat and a holy place of pilgrimage for Hindus. The legend has it that Kapil Muni, the advocate of Shankya yoga of the Hindu philosophy, while journeying towards northwest was struck by the tranquility and peace of this place and chose to perform tapasya (penance) here for the redemption of the world. This place has since acquired great sanctity. The complex has several temples, pavilions and bathing ghats. A dip in the holy waters of the lake especially on Kartik Poornima (November) is considered
very auspicious.
 
 
 
KATARIASAR VILLAGE (45 kms from Bikaner ) :
It is located on the Jaipur Road and is rich in ethnic rural and cultural life. A walk on the sand dunes is enjoyable and viewing the sun set with a desert landscape is heavenly. The main inhabitants of this village are Jasnathjis, who are the fire dancers and their main life style is dairy
farming for milk. Herds of chinkaras, desert fox, rabbits, peacocks, parrots and partridges are found in abundance in this area.
 
     
 
GAJNER WILD LIFE SANCTURY :
The lush foliage of woods on the Jaisalmer road are a haven to nilgai, chinkara, black buck, wild boar, flocks of imperial sand grouse and many more migratory birds that house in the sprawling forest in the winters. It can be visited by jeeps with the forest officers as guides.
 
 
     
 
     
 
     
     
   
     
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