"Bikaner- Desert Caravanserai" Top 5 Page for this destination Bikaner by lynnehamman

Bikaner Travel Guide: 105 reviews and 366 photos

Brief History

Bikaner, along with Jodhpur and Jaisalmer, is one of the desert cities in Rajasthan that was on the overland caravan route to Central Asia and China. In 1486 Rao Bika, who had had a disagreement with his father Rao Jodha (ruler of Jodhpur), went north in search of a new settlement. Trade was flourishing on the desert route- and he founded Bikaner.
The camels that still flourish in the desert around Bikaner are probably direct descendents of the camels that plied the trade route, and the many temples and palaces that were constructed are still there. The Junagarh Fort was built between 1587 and 1593 by the third ruler, Rai Singh,who was a general in Akbars army. The fort has never been conquered.
The old walled town has colourful stalls that are now, unfortunately, selling more modern clothing and nick-nacks. We did, however also see a few with typical Rajasthani handcrafts.
Bikaner does not have the majesty and splendour of Jaisalmer or Jodhpur- but the fort is fantastically interesting, and very well preserved. The overall feeling of the city is quite calm, and the locals very welcoming. There were no western tourists around when we visited in 2006.
A good time to visit is during the annual Camel Festival, which has music, food, and some camel events, races, parades, and safaris. Prices for rooms are greatly increased at that time. The camel festival is usually held mid-January.

Bikaner is often overlooked by tourists because it is not quite near the "golden triangle" (Delhi,Jaipur, Agra) that is so popular.It is also somewhat overshadowed by its neighbours, Jodhpur and Jaisalmer. Which is a great pity-because I feel that it deserves a visit. It certainly has the ability to attract visitors. The camel safaris that are available are far less commercial and "tout free" than Jaisalmer. The beauty of the surrounding Thar desert is breathtaking.

We came to Bikaner specifically to visit the Karni Mata Temple (Rat Temple) which is 30km south of the city. I am pleased, however, that we stayed and saw the interesting places that Bikaner has to offer visitors. The people are very welcoming, and we were befriended by a young fellow of about 15, Toffi, who became our unofficial"guide" to the city. He was a delight to be with, and knew the history of Bikaner. He showed us things and places we would never have found in any guide book

  • Last visit to Bikaner: Jan 2006
  • Intro Updated Feb 12, 2009
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Reviews (11)

Comments (23)

  • roamer61's Profile Photo
    Mar 27, 2014 at 3:32 PM

    Nice page on Bikaner Lynne.

  • davidjo's Profile Photo
    Aug 24, 2013 at 6:18 PM

    I wished i had stopped here but passed straight on by, but India is so huge and fascinating we can't see everywhere.

    • lynnehamman's Profile Photo
      Aug 24, 2013 at 6:41 PM

      Thats correct David- so much to see in such ahuge and fascinating country......Bikaner is often overlooked because it is not on usual 'tourist trail'

  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo
    Dec 21, 2011 at 2:39 PM

    What an adventure to see all the sites, and I always like to see/hear about forts besides we have seen on TV much about the Rat Temple. YOu did a nice job of describing the area

  • nada1712's Profile Photo
    Jul 28, 2010 at 8:07 AM

    Thank you for your help! I am finding it utterly impossible to get this trip organised . There is so much to do and see. I have changed my trip so many times because I see something else that I want to visit! Frustrating!

  • mikelisaanna's Profile Photo
    Mar 7, 2010 at 8:46 AM

    I enjoyed your Bikaner page. I had never heard of the town before, but it definitely looks interesting. Thanks for the info and photos.

  • Pawtuxet's Profile Photo
    Sep 15, 2009 at 7:29 AM

    Ok, so somewhere between the camel milk and the rat palace... you lost me. Afraid the rats would be beyond my tolerance. Glad you enjoyed your camel ride. Hotel looks terrific.

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Aug 29, 2009 at 10:32 AM

    Glad to hear they have not only rats, but also camels. I never knew they used to put on elephant fights for entertainment; I thought elephants were peaceful animals. This looks like a very interesting town, but with hardly any tourists.

  • Trekki's Profile Photo
    Aug 29, 2009 at 2:30 AM

    Camel farm and rat temple - amazing! I love the rats actually, but so far from a distance only. Oh and this telephone is magnificent!! Wish they would build these types again :-)

  • JLBG's Profile Photo
    Aug 13, 2009 at 8:52 PM

    If white rats are auspicious, then, that is great news for resarch labs that have hundreds of them! That is great that you made such a good friend with Tofi!

  • PierreZA's Profile Photo
    Jul 12, 2009 at 9:54 AM

    Very nice page Lynne! Ek moet nog soontoe gaan. Mooi fotos ook!

lynnehamman

“The first condition of understanding a foreign country is to smell it.- Rudyard Kipling”

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