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One of the top travel destinations in Rajasthan, Bikaner, is known as the royal city of Rajasthan, which Rao Bika founded in 1488 CE. Since then, Bikaner has become the fourth largest city in the state of Rajasthan. Modern Bikaner results from the foresight of its most eminent ruler, Maharaja Ganga Singhji (1887-1943), whose reformative zeal set the pace for Bikaner’s transformation to a premier princely state.
Bikaner is famous for its savory Bikaneri Bhujia as it is for its sweets. It is also known for its handicrafts, leather articles, and the biggest camel breeding farm in Asia. The city is known for its intricately carved jharokhas. These stone screens adorn the windows of forts and Havelis.
Experience the lifestyle of the royalties in this princely state. There are a wide variety of activities which will appease the likes of all. Some of the popular ones being listed below.
- Karni Mata Temple, Deshnoke – Maharaja Ganga Singh Ji of Bikaner commissioned the Karni Mata temple. Karni Mata was a female Hindu warrior sage born in the Charan caste. Also known as “Shri Karniji Maharaj,” she is worshiped as the incarnation of the warrior goddess Hinglaj by her followers. She is the official deity of the royal families of Bikaner and Jodhpur. The temple is in Mughal architectural style and was built in the early 20th century. The marble front of the temple with solid silver doors looks stunning. There are more silver doors as you walk further, portraying several legends related to the Goddess. The idol of the Goddess resides in the inner sanctum.
Many Black-colored rats (called Kaaba) live in the temple, but one can spot a few white-colored rats on rare occasions. Spotting a white rat is considered to be lucky. It is believed that this rat is a manifestation of Karni Mata herself. The temple is about 30 km away from the city. Devotees come from far and wide to pay their respects here.
- Junagarh Fort – Built on flat land instead of a mountain, it is famous for its marvelous structure and intricate stone carvings. The Junagarh Fort of Bikaner is an incredible piece of architecture around which the city of Bikaner grew up. The foundations of the Junagarh fort were built in 1478 by Rao Bika.
The palaces inside the fort, the gardens, balconies, kiosks, etc., depict a composite architectural style influenced by the different rulers’ cultural differences and foreign inspirations. The impressive Junagarh Fort stands with all its regal glory as an epitome of architectural brilliance.
- Rampuria Havelis and the old city – The reminiscence of the bygone era, Rampuria Haveli’s are “the pride of Bikaner. ” According to Aldous Huxley, a prominent writer, and philosopher. Rampuria Haveli’s are a stunning blend of antiquity, grandeur, and exquisiteness. These were built to befit the lifestyle of the wealthy merchant family, Rampuria. A collection of seven Havelis built by three brothers, and they stand next to each other.
The Rampuria Haveli is a beautiful specimen constructed of Dulmera red sandstone as the crucial base material. The Mansion demonstrates gorgeous arty abilities prevalent during that era. The inner halls and rooms are decorated and beautified with aesthetic art. The décor comprises first-class paintings and artifacts made from fine wood. The seamless fusion of Victorian and Rajputana architecture is truly inspiring and magnificent. While visiting the Rampuria Haveli, you can enjoy the splendor and magnificence of the Redstone architecture. Bask in the beauty of Hotel Bhanwar Niwas, the grandest and most magnificent of the Rampuria Havelis, which is now a world-renowned heritage hotel. Savor in the 400 years of legacy and architecture.
Bhanwar Niwas also houses the Basavan Art Studio, which creates and houses the most extensive collection of Usta art in India. (Read our blog about Usta artists)
Fun fact: One of the triangular Rampuria Haveli looks very similar to Gringotts wizard bank from the renowned Harry Potter series.
- National Research Centre on Camel – Known for producing the best riding camels in the world, Bikaner, in the desert state of Rajasthan, is also known as the ‘Camel Country’ as it hosts one of the largest Camel farms in Asia. Located at a distance of around 7 km from the city, this camel breeding farm is one of the best attractions in Bikaner. It is home to various types of camels in huge numbers.
It was founded in 1984 and is also known as Camel Breeding Farm. Visitors can also enjoy camel riding and camel safari, two facilities offered here.
- Jorbeer sanctuary – Jorbeer conservation sanctuary is one of its kind “vulture sanctuary” in India. It is about 15 km from Bikaner city. This sanctuary is a rare and peculiar birding site across the world. It used to be a dumping ground for farm animals such as goats, deers, etc. Jorbeer has become familiar with the most imperiled avian species and predators such as falcons, vultures, etc. Despite being an unusual place, this sanctuary is an exciting place to capture the sights of endangered bird species.