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Bikaner :: City Information

Bikaner - weather

Best Travel Duration

In Summer: 41.8 C (Max) - 28 C (Min)
In winter: 23.2 C (Max) - 5 C (Min)
Rainy Season from July to Mid Sept, and very humid (upto 90%)

October to March

History of Bikaner

Bikaner was founded in the 15th century by Rao Bikaji, the son of the Rathor raja of Marwar (Jodhpur). Bikaji was the second son of Rao Jodhaji, the real founder of Jodhpur state, its magnificent fort and city, Bika left Jodhpur in a huff with a few kinsmen and followers because his father taunted him in open durbar about expansionist schemes with his uncle, Rao Kandhal. He set up his own kingdom in the desert of the north. Supported by the blessing of a great female mystic, Karni Mata, whom he had met along the way and who had predicted that his fame and glory would someday exceed that of his father, Rao Bika fought the local desert clans for thirty years, and ultimately carved out a kingdom approximately the size of England. This desert city was a major trade center on the old caravan route linking central Asia and North India with the Gujarat sea ports long before a Rathor Prince, Bika, conquered it in 1486 A.D. and called it Bikaner.

History of Bikaner

Bikaner was founded in the 15th century by Rao Bikaji, the son of the Rathor raja of Marwar (Jodhpur). Bikaji was the second son of Rao Jodhaji, the real founder of Jodhpur state, its magnificent fort and city, Bika left Jodhpur in a huff with a few kinsmen and followers because his father taunted him in open durbar about expansionist schemes with his uncle, Rao Kandhal. He set up his own kingdom in the desert of the north. Supported by the blessing of a great female mystic, Karni Mata, whom he had met along the way and who had predicted that his fame and glory would someday exceed that of his father, Rao Bika fought the local desert clans for thirty years, and ultimately carved out a kingdom approximately the size of England. This desert city was a major trade center on the old caravan route linking central Asia and North India with the Gujarat sea ports long before a Rathor Prince, Bika, conquered it in 1486 A.D. and called it Bikaner.

Fortunately for his descendants, no enemy could withstand the harsh desert that surrounds this rich city and disrupt its leisurely lifestyle, which still prevails. Here, medieval settings, customs, and attitudes are natural and modern ways rather alien. Bikaner has a special quality, an authentic medieval flavor that immediately draws the outsider's attention.

In the 16th century the maharajas of Bikaner came into conflict with the Mughal emperor in Delhi, who were in the process of setting up their new empire in Hindustan. Being located closer to Delhi, Bikaner spent much more time fighting the Mughals than other desert kingdoms, such as Jaisalmer or Jodhpur. With the harsh desert terrain on their side, the Bikaner armies soundly defeated the Mughals in their early encounters. By the late 16th century, however, they had won over by the diplomacy of Emperor Akbar. As a result, several of Bikaner's rulers commanded the Mughal armies, fighting with distinction from Gujarat in the west to the Deccan in the south. One great ruler, Raja Prithviraj Singh, a poet and a warrior, in fact became one of the "Nine Gems " of Akbar's court. Bikaner, meanwhile, had had become a flourishing town and an important trading post along the centuries-old caravan trails that connected India with the Middle East and China. As the town prospered it became known, it became known for the hand work of its gold and silver smiths, weavers and perfumaries and leather craftsmen. It also became known as an important center for the arts and music . It was especially well known for its of miniature paintings, which were a delicate fusion of the Rajput and the Mughal style.

However, with the eclipse of the Mughals in the 18th century, Bikaner along with the rest of Rajasthan fell into the slow decline, although its desert barriers at least spared it the depredations that the Marathas were wreaking on its other Rajput neighbors. This situation continued until the treaty with the British in 1818, in which “perpetual friendship, alliance and a unity of interests" were pledged.

Turn Of Fortune

By the mid-19th century the years of internal strife and the financial and military pressures being put on Bikaner by its new allies, the British had put the kingdom into debt. It had become a shabby and a backward province. But, curiously it was Bikaner's famous camels that triggered off a process of economic and political recovery. The British were involved in fighting the Afghan War at the time and it was realised that the only vehicles that could deliver their supplies in that terrain were camels. The maharaja of Bikaner cannily cashed in on this opportunity by supplying the British army with a steady stream of Bikaner’s camels. This resulted in a turnaround of Bikaner's fortunes. A modern administrative system was soon installed, the first hospitals established, and a police force set up to handle the lawlessness and banditry that were becoming rampant. In 1886, this remote desert kingdom became the first Indian princely State to introduce electricity.

Maharaja Ganga Singh

It was Maharaja Ganga Singh (reigned 1898 -1944), one of the most remarkable rulers India produced in the early 20th century, who was responsible for putting Bikaner in a position of prominence on the map of India. Maharaja Ganga, who was educated at the celebrated mayo College in Ajmer, gave Bikaner a prominence far beyond its size.

First he created the famous Bikaner Camel Corps, or Ganga Risala, a flamboyant fighting force that he personally led, on behalf of the British, first to China to put down the Boxer Rebellion in 1900, then to Somaliland to quell the quell the Somali Uprising in 1903, and finally to Egypt during World War I. Maharaja Ganga Singh also built up the Bikaner's economy, promoting among other things, the Ganga Canal, an ambitious irrigation project that was years ahead of his time, and which turned the deserts of Bikaner into rich farmland. But perhaps most of all, perhaps Maharaja Ganga Singh came to be known for his spectacular grouse shoots, to which everybody from the Viceroy downward, including fellow maharajas, vied to be invited. Maharaja Ganga Singh very shrewdly treated these hunts as a diplomatic tool, using the opportunity to charm selected guests and win their support. His guests at the great shoots included the Prince of Wales, later King George V, and French President Clemenceau, Maharaja Ganga Singh later became something of an International political figure, going on to lead the Indian delegation to the League of Nations. In 1949 the kingdom became part of the new state of Rajasthan in Independent India.

Fairs & Festivals at Bikaner

Camel Fair

About the Fair

The Camel Festival is an event organized in Bikaner by the Department of Tourism, Art and Culture, Government of Rajasthan, every year in the month of January. Desert region's Folk dances and Music; add on to what is otherwise an exclusive camel affair. A festival when the ships of the desert are seen at their best. Camels fascinate tourists from all over the world with their movements, charm and grace. A spectacle of unusual camel performances: camel races, camel dances, and the bumpy, neck shaking camel rides.

Activities

The festival starts with the procession of beautifully decorated camels. The procession heads towards the open sand grounds. Here, the festivities begin in earnest. The Camel Pageant is held on the first day wherein the camel owners show off their Camels' decorations and jewelry. Camel dance performances are also held. A competition for best decorated camel, fur cutting design, camel milking and the best camel hair cut is organized The camels display amazing footwork, dancing gracefully to the slightest direction of their drivers. Colorful bridles, bejeweled necks, jingling anklets and long, lanky camel shadows on dusky sands, cast a magical spell.

In this festival tea and sweets prepared by camel milk are made available to the visitors interested in enjoying them.

On the second day, the fleetest camels of the region take part in the camel races. The competition is fierce as the best camels vie for the honors. Thousands of excited tourists and locals cheer the favorites.
On both days, the evening ends with a rendezvous with the renowned folk artists of Rajasthan. The jubilant, skirt swirling dances, the awe inspiring fire dances and many other equally interesting performances entertain the visitors. The grand finale is a magnificent display of fireworks which illuminates the desert city of Bikaner.

Picture Gallary

Description: http://indiatravelbase.com/city_info/images/pushkar_fair1.gif Description: http://indiatravelbase.com/city_info/images/camel_festival.gif

Camel for Sale

Camel Parade

Places to Visit at Bikaner

Junagarh

Description: Junagarh

Built in 1593 A.D. by Raja Rai Singh, a general in the army of Emperor Akbar, the fort is a formidable structure encircled by a moat and has some beautiful palaces within. These palaces, made in red sandstone and marble, make a picturesque ensemble of courtyards, balconies, kiosks and windows dotted all over the structure.

The Suraj Pol or Sun Gate

 

It is the main entrance to the fort. Among the notable of these palaces are the exquisitely beautiful Chandra Mahal or the Moon Palace with marvelous paintings, mirrors and carved marble panels, and the Phool Mahal or Flower Palace ornate with glass and mirror work. Other palaces worth visiting are the Anup Mahal, Karan Mahal, Dungar Niwas, Ganga Niwas, Gaj Mandir and Rang Mahal, Gigantic columns, arches and graceful screens adorn the palaces from within.

Lal Garh Palace

Description: Lal Garh Palace

The architectural masterpiece in red sandstone, the palace was built by Maharaja Ganga Singh in the memory of his father Maharaja Lal Singh. The palace has beautiful latticework and filigree work. Sprawling lawns with blooming bougainvillea and dancing peacocks make it a not-to-be missed visual treat. Part of the 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. Timings 10.00 hr. to 16.30 hr. Entry fee Rs.5.00 (closed on Wednesday).

Ganga Golden Jubilee Museum

Description: Ganga Golden Jubilee Museum

It is the best Rajasthan museum, having one of the richest collections of terra-cotta ware, weapons, miniature paintings of Bikaner school and coins. The exhibits are splendid masterpieces of Harappan civilization, Gupta and Kushan era and sculptures of the late classical time. Timings 10.00 hr. to 16.30 hr. Entry fee Rs.3.00 (closed on Friday).
The museum has a separate section displaying exclusive arts and crafts of the region.

Hotels in Rajasthan :- Browse by Destination

How Get To Bikaner

By Air:

 

The nearest airport service travellers headed for Bikaner is at Jodhpur.

By Rail:

 

Several trains link it to important cities like Delhi, Jaipur, Bikaner, Udaipur.

By Road:

 

Rajasthan Roadways run very comfortable deluxe & air conditioned buses from Delhi (Bikaner House, Nr. India Gate) to Bikaner. The roads are very good, and it takes around 8-9 hrs. from Jaipur. You can also come by taxi.