Located in the midst of Thar Desert, Bikaner is a "cultural paradise and a traveller's haven". Bikaner with its magnificence in architecture, art and culture is filled with colour, festivity and cultural marvels.The city will mesmerize you with the camels sauntering the beautiful sand dunes, its ancient palaces and forts. Rightly called as one of the three great desert kingdoms of Rajasthan, the dazzling city boasts of old-world charm, opulent havelis and depicts a pleasing bygone era of the Rajputs. Best known as the "camel country" for breeding some best-known riding camels, Bikaner also happens to house one of the only two models of the biplane used by the British in World War 1.
Sand Dunes and the Desert Safari are among major attractions. Bikaner is also famous for hosting the international Camel festival which draws tourists from the world over. Other attractions here include experiencing delicacies such as Thandai, Bhujias, shopping for the fascinating Ivory and Lacquer items or simply witnessing the immense heritage taking the form of wall paintings and arts and crafts in the area.
For a change, this is one of the few forts which is not built on a hill. Instead, this fort, built in the arid region of the Thar Desert, is famous for its marvellous architecture, intricate carvings which leave travellers mesmerized.
Karni Mata Temple
Located in Deshnoke, 30 km from Bikaner, Karni mata temple is the place where devotees and rats share a special bond. The temple is heavily influenced by mogul architecture and the entire temple is built with beautiful white marble.
Among all other havelis like Rikhji Bagri ki Haveli, Haveli of Bhairondan, Daga Chowk Havelis and Sampatlala Agarwal Haveli, Rampuria group of Havelis are known for their more than 400 years old architecture splendour. With intricate details of jharokhas and carvings, havelis are no less than palaces.
Gajner Palace is located in the city of Bikaner on the banks of Gajner Lake. This regal palace was built by Maharaja Ganga Singh as a hunting lodge for him and his family but was converted to a hotel in 1976. Gajner Palace offers you a variety of leisure activities from boat rides to desert safaris. Built as a traditional Rajasthani Palace, it is an architectural beauty that now is modernised to host guests.
Lallgarh Palace was constructed for the Maharaja of Bikaner, Maharaja Ganga Singh, between 1902 and 1926. The palace built in European architecture style has now been opened up for tourists as a Heritage Hotel, and the entire estate comes under the National Heritage Trust. The estate also houses a museum named Shri Sadul Museum, where you can find traces of Rajasthani Royalties and get an insight into their extravagant lifestyle.
Bhandasar Jain Temple
Bhandasar Jain Temple is one of the 27 beautiful Jain temples located in Bikaner. This temple is dedicated to the fifth Tirthankara, Sumatinath and it is also considered to be the most beautiful and the highest temple. The interior of the temple looks stunning with the paintings on the walls and pillars. The walls carry floral arabesques and the depictions of the 24 Jain teachers.
The Royal Cenotaphs is the cremation ground of the foyal families of Bikaner. It is an architectural treat for the tourists. The splendid structure with intricately carved marble pillars display legends of Lord Krishna and other beautiful traditional designs. The oldest monument on the ground was installed in the honour of Rao Kalyanmal and the earliest is the one made for Maharaja Karni Singh.
Built by the founder of Bikaner, Rao Bikaji, Kodamdesar Bhairu Ji Temple has been religiously important for the Hindus. The presiding deity is Lord Bhairu ji who was born from the place between the eyebrows, also called the third eye of Lord Shiva. Hence, the deity is considered to be an incarnation of Lord Shiva and his ferocious form.
Sadul Singh Museum
Dedicated to the Maharajas of Bikaner, Maharaja Ganga Singh, Maharaja Karni Singh and Maharaja Sadul Singh, the Sadul Singh Museum has a fabulous collection of artefacts belonging to the kings, paintings, trophies, weapons, photographs to mention a few. It is the best place to get insights into the heroic activities of the Maharajas.