Formerly the capital of the princely state of Bikaner, the city was founded by Rao Bika in 1488 CE and from its small origins it has developed into the fourth largest city in Rajasthan. The Ganges Canal, completed in 1928, and the Indira Gandhi Canal, completed in 1987, facilitated its development.
The old part of Bikaner city is surrounded by a stone wall that is 15 to 30 feet (5 to 9 metres) high and has five gates. Its architecture features numerous buildings of bright red and yellow sandstone.
The area is overlooked by Junagarh Fort, which was built in the late 16th century by Rai Singh. Within the fort are several palaces of different periods, a museum housing Rajput miniature paintings, and a library of Sanskrit and Persian manuscripts.
Bikaner is now a trade centre for wool, hides, building stone, salt, and grain. Bikaneri woolen shawls, blankets, carpets, and candy are famous, and there are also ivory and lacquerware handicrafts. The city has electrical and mechanical engineering works, railway workshops, and factories that manufacture glass, pottery, felts, chemicals, shoes, and cigarettes. The city’s colleges (including a medical school and a teachers’ training institute) are affiliated with the University of Rajasthan in Jaipur.
Travel to Bikaner
When it comes to connectivity, Bikaner is well-connected to almost all other major cities of India by air, road and rail.
Nearest domestic airport is located at Nal, which is 13km from the city. Currently there is daily flight from Delhi to Bikaner and Bikaner to Delhi being operated from this airport.
Nearest international airport is Jodhpur, located around 251 km away from the city. From the airport, you can board a bus or hire a taxi to reach Bikaner. Jaipur International Airport which is 330 kilometres away. Like Jodhpur, even Jaipur airport is well-connected with major cities across the globe and can provide more flight frequencies.
Bikaner has two railheads- Bikaner Junction and Lalgarh Railway Station. Both the stations are approximately 6 kilometres away from each other and are located within the city. Bikaner has a well-linked rail system that is connected to most of the Indian cities.
By Bus / Road
Bikaner is well-connected with plenty of bus services. Depending upon time taken to travel from one city to another, you can choose a particular bus service that ranges from the premium coaches like volvo, luxury, air-conditioned, non-air-conditioned and deluxe buses. In case you plan to take an overnight journey to Bikaner, it is advisable that you opt for a sleeper coach for a comfortable journey. Also you can take a private taxi or opt for services like Uber or Ola outstation from any city, if you prefer to travel by road.
Popular national and state highways like NH 11, 15 and 89 link Bikaner with other major Indian cities and metros. It takes approximately 4 hours (251 kilometres) to reach Bikaner from Jodhpur, 5.5 hours (330 kilometres) to reach from Jaipur, and 6 hours from New Delhi (approximately 445 kilometres).
Places of Interests
The Junagarh Fort was built around 1594 CE by Raja Rai Singh. The fort was originally called Chintamani. It is one of the few major forts in Rajasthan which was not built on hilly terrain. The modern city of Bikaner has developed around the fort. The fort is studded with temples, grand palaces and huge pavilions and walls. In 1961, a museum was set up by Maharaja Karni Singh. Its temples and palaces are preserved as museums and provide insight into the grandiose living style of the past Maharanas of Rajasthan.
Laxmi Niwas Palace
The Laxmi Niwas Palace is a former residential palace built by Maharajah Ganga Singh, the ruler of the former state of Bikaner. It was designed by the British architect, Samuel Swinton Jacob in the year 1902. The style of architecture is Indo-Saracenic. It is now a luxury Heritage hotel owned by the royal family of Bikaner.
Karni Mata Temple
The mystic Karni Mata is considered by devotees to be an embodiment of Durga. She lived in the 15th century. The temple dedicated to her is located in Deshnoke (a village 33 km from Bikaner). It is populated by sacred rats which roam free and circulate between the legs of visitors. The temple buildings date from the 17th century (Ganga Singh period). The facade is in finely carved white marble with solid silver doors and shutters.
Bhandasar Jain Temple
This temple was constructed by Bhandasa Oswal in the 12th century. The temple is dedicated to Sumatinatha, the 5th tirthankara. According to legends, 40,000 Kgs of ghee was used in the construction of this temple instead of water in a mortar. This temple is famous for wall painting and art work.
The climate in Bikaner is characterised by significant variations in temperature. In the summer season it is very hot when the temperatures lie in the range of 28–53.5 °C (82.4–128.3 °F). In the winter, it is fairly cold with temperatures lying in the range of −4–23.2 °C (24.8–73.8 °F).