"Bikaner- Desert Caravanserai" Top 5 Page for this destination Bikaner by lynnehamman
Bikaner Travel Guide: 139 reviews and 484 photos
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
Maharaja Ganga Singh began construction on this multi-storied, red sandstone palace in 1902. It is a combination of... more travel advice
The Phool Mahal (Flower Palace) shows the small, low bed that Rao Bika slept on-the bed was designed so that Rao could... more travel advice
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