Another dazzling jewel in the magnificent state of Rajasthan is Bikaner. Located in the middle of the Thar Desert, this town makes up for the perfect holiday destination. The ancient, colossal structures of forts and palaces, that this place has an abundance of, are a true representation of its regal culture. Lying in the north western part of Rajasthan, this city was founded by Rao Bika Ji in the year 1488. It is a must visit for anyone who wants to explore, relish and be smitten by authentic Rajputana culture. The architecture of the famous buildings and forts in the city is extraordinary and thus worthy of exploration. Hence, we bring to you a list of 7 places that should be visited by vacationers, when in Bikaner-
1. Junagarh Fort
Built beautifully in red sandstone and marble, is the grand structure of the Junagarh Fort. Established in the year 1593 by Raja Rai Singh the fort’s architecture is simply exemplary and perfectly captures the true essence and grandeur of Rajputana heritage. The huge building complex houses several Mahals, pavilions and temples built by different kings who ruled in the bygone era. The interiors are intricately decorated with alluring paintings and carvings on a number of walls. Besides the immaculate interiors of the fort, one also gets to see ancient manuscripts, arms, weapons ammunitions, jewellery etc., from the past decades. The massive, picturesque fort is thus a popular spot among tourists and explorers.
2. Lalgarh Fort And Palace
A spectacular marvel of the city, the Lalgarh fort and palace built in the 19th century is another favourite among tourists and explorers. Designed by British architect Sir Swinton Jacob, the architecture of the complex is a fine blend of Rajputana, Mughal and European styles. The colossal three storey structure of the establishment, constructed in red sandstone and marble has everything from drawing rooms, to smoking rooms to grand balconies to dining rooms; all of them bringing out the grandeur of those times. A part of the palace has been converted into a museum (The Shri Sadul Museum) that features one of the largest private libraries of the world; another part of it has been converted into a heritage hotel along with a private home for the royal family.
3. Laxmi Nath Temple
Considered to be one of the oldest temples in town, the Laxmi Nath temple, constructed during the 15th century by Rao Lunakaran is of great cultural and historical significance. The design immaculately brings out the skilled craftsmanship of those times. It is dedicated to Hindu gods, Lord Vishnu and goddess Laxmi. It houses some of the most exquisite of paintings, structures, statues that have been beautifully ornamented. The temple overflows with the purity and piousness of devotees that flock this place of worship from across different cities of the country.
4. Prachina Museum
The Prachina Museum in Bikaner, located within the Junagarh Fort, is one of the state’s most popular museums. The museum perfectly brings out the cultural richness of the city by housing some of the most exclusive artefacts that are true representations of this glorious land. From costumes, to art, to textiles, to accessories, to perfumes; everything that this museum showcases is of great historical and cultural relevance. Explorers are left thrilled, as they get to see the past remains and be transported to those ancient times. Another significant highlight of this cultural centre is the display of traditional Rajputana wear for women called ‘Poshaks’ that are beautiful creations from the by gone era.
5. Camel Breeding Farm
A farm for camels, established by the Central Government in the year 1984 in Bikaner is the Camel Breeding Farm. It accommodates over 200 camels and is the only centre dedicated to camel research in the country. Besides, being a research centre, the farm also offers camel rides to tourists at designated times during the day. Camels are considered pivotal to the state’s civilisation and thus camel rides are, not to be missed experiences. One can also treat themselves and try other special attractions of the place which include, feasting on ice creams and other beverages made from camel milk.
6. Rampuria Havelis
Another, major attraction in the city of Bikaner are the spectacular havelis of this town. Immaculately crafted, these structures were built by rich merchants who inhabited the city. One of the most popular havelis that dot the landscape of Bikaner is the Rampuria Group of Havelis, which were built by Balujee Chalva under the directives of the Rampuria family. The architectural brilliance of these havelis is rare to be seen; beautifully carved walls dazzling in red sandstone with interiors that give explorers an insight to the way of life of those times. The timeless pieces of art that these havelis have on display are spellbinding thus making them of great relevance to tourists.
7. Gajner Wildlife Sanctuary
The wilderness of the Gajner Wildlife Sanctuary of Bikaner is must visit for anyone who wants to get re energised by the brimming tranquillity of nature. Once a hunting ground, for the rulers of this ancient land, this sanctuary accommodates quite a variety both in terms of flora and fauna. It provides shelter to a large number of species which include deer, the black buck, Chinkara, wild fowl and antelope. Further adding to the serenity is a quiet lake that flows within the sanctuary. This reserve is also a site for the Cheetah Reintroduction Project in India.
The city of Bikaner is a treasured holiday destination of the Indian subcontinent. Offering a plethora of attractions, this city’s rich cultural history is what makes it stand out. Bestowed with brilliant architectural heritage, authentic cuisine and hospitable people that dwell here; the city is mighty fine in all aspects.