Bikaner

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Bikaner is home to one of the only two models of the biplane used by the British during World War I. They were presented by the British to Maharaja Ganga Singh, then ruler of the city. Another unique aspect about Bikaner are the sand dunes that are scattered throughout the district, especially from the north-east down to the southern area. Bikaner is situated in the northern region of Rajasthan. One of the earlier established cities, Bikaner still displays its ancient opulence through palaces and forts, built of red sandstone, that have withstood the passage of time.

It's surrounded by the Thar Desert. The city is known for the 16th-century Junagarh Fort, a huge complex of ornate buildings and halls. Within the fort, the Prachina Museum displays traditional textiles and royal portraits. Nearby, the Karni Mata Temple is home to many rats considered sacred by Hindu devotees.

Bikaner is a city in the northwest of the state of Rajasthan in northern India. It is located 330 kilometres (205 mi) northwest of the state capital, Jaipur. Bikaner city is the administrative headquarters of Bikaner District and Bikaner division.Formerly the capital of the princely state of Bikaner, the city was founded by Rao Bika in 1486 and from its small origins it has developed into the fourth largest city in Rajasthan. The Ganges Canal, completed in 1928, and the Indira Gandhi Canal, completed in 1987, facilitated its development.

The city celebrates its foundation day on Akshaya Tritiya by flying kites and eating special Rajasthani food that includes Bajre Ka Khichda and Imli ka Paani (Tamarind Water) among other snacks. The celebration lasts for two days, known as Chhoti Akha Teej and Badi Akha Teej. People can be seen flying kites during these two days right from the early morning at 5-6am till late sunset. Given the extreme desert weather, standing for long hours under the bright Sun is a torture in itself. Hence, a quick home-made drink like Tamarind Water really helps in controlling body temperature and prevents from heat stroke

The origins of Bikaner can be traced back to 1488 when a Rathore prince, Rao Bikaji, founded the kingdom. Legend has it that Bikaji, one of Rao Jodhaji’s five sons, left his father’s Durbar in annoyance after an insensitive remark from his father, the illustrious founder of Jodhpur. Bikaji travelled far and when he came upon the wilderness called Jangladesh, he decided to set up his own kingdom and transformed it into an impressive city.

History


Prior to the mid 15th century, the region that is now Bikaner was a barren wilderness called Jangladesh.Rao Bika established the city of Bikaner in 1488. He was the first son of Maharaja Rao Jodha of the Rathor clan, the founder of Jodhpur and conquered the largely arid country in the north of Rajasthan. As the first son of Jodha he wanted to have his own kingdom, not inheriting Jodhpur from his father or the title of Maharaja. He therefore decided to build his own kingdom in what is now the state of Bikaner in the area of Jangladesh. Though it was in the Thar Desert, Bikaner was considered an oasis on the trade route between Central Asia and the Gujarat coast as it had adequate spring water. Bika's name was attached to the city he built and to the state of Bikaner ("the settlement of Bika") that he established. Bika built a fort in 1478, which is now in ruins, and a hundred years later a new fort was built about 1.5 km from the city centre, known as the Junagarh Fort.

Around a century after Rao Bika founded Bikaner, the state's fortunes flourished under the sixth Raja, Rai Singhji, who ruled from 1571 to 1611. During the Mughal Empire's rule in the country, Raja Rai Singh accepted the suzerainty of the Mughals and held a high rank as an army general at the court of the Emperor Akbar and his son the Emperor Jahangir. Rai Singh's successful military exploits, which involved winning half of Mewar kingdom for the Empire, won him accolades and rewards from the Mughal emperors. He was given the jagirs (lands) of Gujarat and Burhanpur. With the large revenue earned from these jagirs, he built the Chintamani durg (Junagarh fort) on a plain which has an average elevation of 760 feet (230 m). He was an expert in arts and architecture, and the knowledge he acquired during his visits abroad is amply reflected in the numerous monuments he built at the Junagarh fort.

Maharaja Karan Singh, who ruled from 1631 to 1639, under the suzerainty of the Mughals, built the Karan Mahal palace. Later rulers added more floors and decorations to this Mahal. Anup Singh ji, who ruled from 1669 to 1698, made substantial additions to the fort complex, with new palaces and the Zenana quarter, a royal dwelling for women and children. He refurbished the Karan Mahal with a Diwan-i-Am (public audience hall) and called it the Anup Mahal.Maharaja Gaj Singh, who ruled from 1746 to 1787 refurbished the Chandra Mahal (the Moon palace). During the 18th century, there was internecine war between the rulers of Bikaner and Jodhpur and also amongst other thakurs, which was put down by British troops. Following Maharaja Gaj Singh, Maharaja Surat Singh ruled from 1787 to 1828 and lavishly decorated the audience hall (see illustration) with glass and lively paintwork. Under a treaty of paramountcy signed in 1818, during Maharaja Surat Singh's reign, Bikaner came under the suzerainty of the British, after which the Maharajas of Bikaner invested heavily in refurbishing Junagarh fort.

Dungar Singh, who reigned from 1872 to 1887, built the Badal Mahal, the 'weather palace', so named in view of a painting of clouds and falling rain, a rare event in arid Bikaner. General Maharaja Ganga Singh, who ruled from 1887 to 1943, was the best-known of the Rajasthan princes and was a favourite of the British Viceroys of India. He was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the Star of India, served as a member of the Imperial War Cabinet, represented India at the Imperial Conferences during the First World War and the British Empire at the Versailles Peace Conference. His contribution to the building activity in Junagarh involved separate halls for public and private audiences in the Ganga Mahal and a durbar hall for formal functions. He also built the Ganga Niwas Palace, which has towers at the entrance patio. This palace was designed by Sir Samuel Swinton Jacob, the third of the new palaces built in Bikaner. He named the building Lalgarh Palace in honour of his father and moved his main residence there from Junagarh Fort in 1902. The hall where he held his Golden Jubilee (in 1938) as Bikaner's ruler is now a museum.

Ganga Singh's son, Lieutenant-General Sir Sadul Singh, the Yuvaraja of Bikaner, succeeded his father as Maharaja in 1943, but acceded his state to the Union of India in 1949. Maharaja Sadul Singh died in 1950, being succeeded in the title by his son, Karni Singh (1924-1988).The Royal Family still lives in a suite in Lalgarh Palace, which they have converted into a heritage hotel.

Climate


Bikaner is situated in the middle of the Thar desert and has a hot semi-arid climate (Köppen climate classification BSh) with very little rainfall and extreme temperatures. In summer temperatures can exceed 45 °C, and during the winter they may dip below freezing. The climate in Bikaner is characterised by significant variations in temperature. In the summer season it is very hot when the temperatures lie in the range of 28–50.5 °C (82.4–122.9 °F). In the winter, it is fairly cold with temperatures lying in the range of 5–23.2 °C (41.0–73.8 °F).Annual rainfall is in the range of 260–440 millimetres (10–17 in).


state Rajasthan
Country India
Area 155 km2 (60 sq mi)
Languages Marwadi, Rajasthani, Hindi, English
Currency Ruppee

Junagarh Fort

Junagarh Fort is a fort in the city of Bikaner, Rajasthan, India. The fort was originally called Chintamani and was renamed Junagarh or "Old Fort" in the early 20th century when the ruling family moved to Lalgarh Palace outside the fort limits.

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Karni Mata Temple

Karni Mata Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Karni Mata at Deshnoke, 30 km from Bikaner, in Rajasthan, India. It is also known as the Temple of Rats. The temple is famous for the approximately 25,000 black rats that live, and are revered in, the temple.

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Kote Gate

Offering a glimpse of the magnificent architectural work in the city, Kote Gate is the main entrance gate of Bikanker. This daunting structure is an example of fine artistry of the workers belonging to the olden days.

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Rampuriya Haveli

The reminiscence of the bygone era, Rampuria Haveli is “the pride of Bikaner”. According to Aldous Huxley, a prominent writer and philosopher, the exquisite palatial house is a sight to marvel at. Rampuria Haveli is an exquisite blend of antiquity, grandeur and exquisiteness. The royal mansion was built to befit the lifestyle of the wealthy merchant family, Rampuria.

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Lalgarh Palace

Built in 1896, this palatial hotel in an Indo-Saracenic-style sandstone building is 2.3 km from the Karni Mata Temple and 2.6 km from the Junagarh Fort. The elegant rooms feature marble floors, intricately carved wood furniture and ceiling fans, plus TVs, minibars and tea and coffeemakers. They also have sitting areas and safes. Upgraded rooms add living rooms and sofas.

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National Research Camel

Camel Research Farm, Bikaner is a farm engaged in the research of camels. It is located about 8 km from Bikaner city in the state of Rajasthan in India. This is a one-of-a-kind institute in India. The farm is a complex of camel stables, enclosures and buildings. One can enjoy camel rides or ice cream made of camels milk.

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Desert Safari

For all these years, Thar has seen many dunes taking shapes, many of them never to be formed again. But unlike nature, Vino's safari has earned a world fame and today it is recommended by almost all the well known tourist guides . Vino Desert Safari is giving it's services since 1991. The company operates from Bikaner in Rajasthan state of India. The crew is headed by it's founder Vino himself.

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Bhandasar Jain Temple

Jain temple is one of the oldest temples in Bikaner, and was built in the 15th century. It is decorated with mirror work, frescoes and leaf paintings. The temple is built of red sandstone and is divided into three floors.

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Laxmi Nath Temple

Shri Laxminath is one of the oldest temples of Bikaner. It graces the sacred sanctum of Lord Vishnu and Goddess Laxmi. Other then the beautiful idol, this temple is embellished with exquisite art-work in silver. Festivals like Janmashtami, Nirjala Ekadashi, Ramnavami, Diwali and Geeta Jayanti are majorly celebrated at the temple and one must not miss visiting the temple during these festivals.

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Gajner Palace

Gajner Palace listed in Heritage Hotels in India, located just 30 minutes away from the Bikaner is one of the most sought-after heritage properties in the country. Located on the shores of Lake Gajner and in proximity to the Gajner wildlife sanctuary, this beautiful property is built in red sandstone. A getaway resort for special guests during the British Raj, it is now one of the finest heritage hotels.

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Shiv Bari Temple

The Shiv Bari Temple is one of the prime tourist attractions in the Rajsthani city of Bikaner. Located at a distance of about 6 Kilometers from the main city of Bikaner, the Shiv Bari Temple is a must visit for all those on a tour of Rajasthan . Referred to as Laleshwar Mahadeo by the local people, the Shiv Bari Temple in Bikaner was built by Maharaja Doongar Singhji in the 19th Century.

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Camel Festival

India is known for being the largest democratic country of the world and there by the country has number of fairs and fests that makes it happening on the world map. Some fest are just weird and some are deep rooted to the heritage and culture.

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Devi Kund

The marble and red-sandstone royal cenotaphs of the Bika dynasty rulers, with some fine frescoes, are located 8km east of the centre of Bikaner. The white-marble chhatri of Maharaja Surat Singh is among the most imposing. It costs ₹200 return by rickshaw to get to this quiet spot.

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Rajastani Thali

This contemporary cafe and restaurant close to the Junagarh entrance is known as ‘Glops’ to Rajastani Thali. There are snacks such as pizzas, wraps and sandwiches, There are snacks such as pizzas, wraps and sandwiches, and a good range of Indian and Chinese veg and nonveg

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dishes. You can sit outside or curl up in an armchair in the air-conditioned interior with a cold beer or an espresso.

Puri Chole

Puri Chole have a unique specification. This bright and hugely popular 1st-floor restaurant serves up pretty good veg Indian dishes, plus a few Chinese mains and pizzas (but unfortunately no beer), amid large banks of plastic flowers. It's a good place to sit and relax if waiting for

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a train. The ground-floor fast-food section is less appealing, but it does have a good sweets counter.

Rasmilai

You might have Rasmilai in bikaner. Evergreen is a neat and clean Rasmilai where the delicious air-conditioning hits you the moment you walk through the door. The veg and nonveg menu leans equally towards North Indian and South Indian cuisines, with many classics such as paneer tikka and malai kofta represented.

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and malai kofta represented.

Swaad Thali

Wanna beat the heat? Palace Garden Restaurant is available for you in our Digha. This excellent garden restaurant at one of Bikaner’s best hotels is a lovely place to eat – at least until the nights become too chilly. The fare spans South Indian, veg and nonveg North Indian, and

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Chinese, and if you’re lucky there will be live traditional music and singing.

Shakti Dining

Central and modern, Shakti's serves good Indian classics in a garden setting or in air-conditoned comfort.

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Central and modern, Shakti's serves good Indian classics in a garden setting or in air-conditoned comfort. Also here is the funky Road Runner Cafe for a more casual dining experience.

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