Imagine a magical city called Bikaner, right in the heart of Rajasthan, India. This city is a magnet for travellers because of its charm and colourful history. The history of Bikaner is like a big, exciting story with lots of twists and turns, just like the beautiful carvings you can see on its palaces. Bikaner shows us how rich and fancy the old kingdoms of Rajasthan were, especially in the desert areas.
When you visit Bikaner, it is almost like returning to a time when there were huge forts, fancy temples, and grand palaces. These buildings tell us stories of bravery, love for gods, and amazing architecture. This travel guide is like an invitation to explore the best four places in Bikaner. These places show you what makes Bikaner special: its history, the feeling of being close to something spiritual, and the way its buildings are so, so beautiful.
So, let’s go on an adventure together to discover these fantastic places in Bikaner. You will find treasures not everyone knows about and famous spots people love to visit. Whether you love to travel or are really into learning about history, Bikaner has something awesome for you. Get ready to explore and fall in love with this city’s hidden secrets and famous landmarks that make Bikaner a place you must see.
Imagine a fortress that stands proudly amidst the vast Thar Desert, telling tales of a time long ago. This remarkable place is known as Junagarh Fort, and it was built by a noble ruler named Raja Rai Singh in 1594. The fort, which covers a huge area of 5.28 hectares, is like a treasure chest filled with temples, palaces, and beautiful pavilions.
Walking around Junagarh Fort, you will be greeted by its impressive 986-meter-long wall with 37 strong towers called bastions. Once upon a time, this fort was surrounded by a moat, but now it’s dry. Within the fort’s boundaries, you’ll find an array of majestic palaces, each with its unique charm. These palaces are named Bikaneri Havelies, Phool Mahal (“Flower Palace”), Anup Mahal, Chandra Mahal, Ganga Mahal, and Badal Mahal. Each palace holds stories of the past and showcases the grandeur of royal life.
One of the special places within Junagarh Fort is the “Ratan Behari Temple,” a sacred spot for the royal family. People come here to offer their prayers, especially during the lively Gangaur festival and the festive time of Dussehra. The fort also houses a museum started by Maharaja Dr. Karni Singhji in 1961. This museum is like a treasure trove filled with precious things – from old manuscripts written in languages like Persian and Sanskrit to sparkling jewels, royal clothes, ancient orders given by kings, paintings of royal folks, traditional costumes, shining silver items, palanquins (fancy carts used by royals), howdahs (decorated seats on elephants), and even war drums.
Karni Mata Temple
In the mystical land of Rajasthan, a unique and famous temple stands in a place called Deshnoke, just about 30 kilometers away from Bikaner, India. This is no ordinary temple – it’s known as the Karni Mata Temple, but people often call it the “temple of rats.”
Imagine a temple where thousands of rats roam freely and are treated with respect and reverence. Yes, you read that right! Around 20,000 black rats live in this temple, and they are not just ordinary rats; they are considered holy and known as “kabbas.” People come from far and wide to visit this temple, not just for the goddess Karni Mata, but also to seek blessings from these special rats.
The temple is a stunning art piece designed in the Mughal style. It has a beautiful marble facade adorned with intricate carvings. The doors at the entrance are made of solid silver, a grand gift from Maharaja Ganga Singh. As you step inside, you will find even more silver doors telling stories of the goddess through their panels. In the innermost part of the temple, you’ll discover the shrine of Karni Mata herself.
The temple was made even more beautiful in 1999 by Kundanlal Verma, a jeweller from Hyderabad. He contributed marble carvings and silver rat figurines to enhance the temple’s splendour.
Reaching the temple is easy, as Deshnoke is well-connected by buses, trains, and taxis. The temple opens its doors to the public at 4:00 a.m., with morning prayers and rituals attracting many devotees. The temple closes at 10:00 p.m.
Gajner Palace and Lake
Nestled by the tranquil shores of Gajner Lake, the Gajner Palace stands as a testament to the grand vision of Maharaja Ganga Singh and the serene beauty of its surroundings. This charming palace, tucked away amidst lush forests, offers a sanctuary for those seeking respite from the bustle of everyday life and a chance to immerse themselves in the wonders of nature.
With its foundations laid on the banks of Gajner Lake, the palace exudes an aura of architectural brilliance. Maharaja Ganga Singh’s vision came to life, resulting in a masterpiece that sprawls across an expansive 6,000 acres. Crafted from the rustic beauty of red sandstone, the palace is a splendid example of intricate design and regal craftsmanship.
One of the most enchanting aspects of Gajner Palace is its vibrant connection with nature. The sprawling green lawns host a symphony of migratory birds, making it a haven for birdwatching enthusiasts. The sight of these winged wonders, both native and migratory, creates lasting memories for corporate travellers seeking inspiration and leisure travellers yearning for tranquillity.
Once the favoured summer retreat of the royal family, the lake has gracefully transformed into a luxury hotel. Amidst its waters, solar-powered boats offer a unique opportunity for visitors to explore the lake’s enchanting expanse. However, during the winter months, Gajner Lake truly comes to life. Over a hundred species of migratory birds, including the majestic Imperial Sand Grouse, grace the lake with their presence, adding a touch of natural splendour to the landscape.
Lalgarh Palace and Museum
Welcome to the Lalgarh Palace, an exquisite creation designed by Sir Swinton Jacob and brought to life by Maharaja Ganga Singh. This palace, a radiant jewel in Bikaner’s crown, is a masterpiece crafted from the warm hues of red sandstone.
As you enter the Lalgarh Palace, you will find grandeur seamlessly blending Indian, European, and Mughal architectural styles. This fusion of design creates an awe-inspiring spectacle, but what truly captures attention is the intricate latticework adorning its walls. These lattice sandstones have become synonymous with the palace’s fame, echoing tales of a bygone era.
The palace is a treasure trove of knowledge and history. Within its walls is a museum, inviting you to explore the region’s rich heritage. You will also discover that the palace holds the distinction of housing the fourth-largest private library in the world, offering a glimpse into the literary passions of its creators.
The Hidden Treasures of Rajasthan’s Enchanting Desert City
Bikaner’s allure goes beyond its physical beauty; it’s the stories that echo through its walls, the traditions that dance through its streets, and the warm hospitality that embraces every visitor. Exploring the city’s top four attractions is not just about checking off a list but about embarking on a journey of discovery, enlightenment, and inspiration.
So, whether you are tracing the footsteps of royals in palaces, marvelling at the intricate workmanship of forts, seeking blessings from revered rats, or witnessing the beauty of migratory birds over a tranquil lake, Bikaner promises an experience that transcends time and leaves an indelible mark on your heart. Until we meet again in this land of charisma and charm, may the spirit of Bikaner’s enchantment stay with you, forever igniting the spark of curiosity and wanderlust in your soul.