Bikaner is a precious gem in the Thar desert! Popularly known as Camel Country, Bikaner is home to the best riding camels, dunes, and mesmerizing landscapes. The vibrant culture of the city, the opulence that its majestic forts and palaces emit, the mythological stories and beliefs that live through its ancient temples have their admirers across the world.
Do you know that Bikaner also shares a history with World War I, Yes, it does! One of the two biplane models that were used during World war I by the Britishers is in Bikaner, and it was presented to the then ruler Maharaja Ganga Singh by Britishers.
Best Time to Visit Bikaner
Capturing the beautiful sand dunes in your camera, experiencing desert safari, and enjoying camel rides are the best things to do in Bikaner that will remain garden-fresh in your memory forever! The period between October to March is the best time to visit Bikaner as the weather during this time is cold and apt to explore the city.
History of Bikaner
The history of Bikaner is a mixture of different eras, which when looked at together becomes a pleasant picture of multiple cultures coexisting! According to history books, Bikaner was known as Jangladesh in the 15th century. During this time, it was inhabited by Jat communities like Punia, Dhaka, Beniwal, Kaswan, and Saran. Historians claim that Rajput Prince Rao Bika, from whom the city got its name, transformed Bikaner, which was later ruled by Sher Shah Suri. After the fall of Sher Shah Suri’s empire, Bikaner witness the reign of the Mughals and subsequently the Marathas.
This 2-day annual festival is dedicated to the ship of the desert, camels and attracts thousands of tourists. The Bikaner Camel festival comprises camel rides, processions along with folk dance and music performances. Camel owners dress their camels with colorful accessories, which makes the entire ambiance vibrant. Bikaner is also known to be the breeding region for riding camels, and this festival is an ode to camels, who are the lifeline of the desert.
2. Karni Mata Festival
Also known as Karni Mata Fair, this vivid festival of Bikaner is an amalgamation of religious and cultural ideas. During the festival, the idol of Karni Mata, the revered goddess in the ‘temple of rats’ is adorned with a golden crown, garlands, and jewelry. The gates of the temple are opened from 4:00 am for the devotees. After which, the priests perform all the rituals and offer bhog to the deity. Due to its traditional and cultural significance, the Karni Mata Fair of Bikaner attracts a large number of devotees from all across the country.
3. Culture and Cuisine
Rich is the only adjective that can define the culture and cuisine of Bikaner. The city’s association with different rulers belonging to different cultures has influenced and expanded its heritage. Ranging from traditional dresses like Ghagra Choli, Dhoti Kurta, and Pagadi, to its delectable cuisine comprising dishes like Daal Batti Churma, Ghewar, and Bikaneri Bhujia, everything will make you fall in love with Bikaner.
Places to Visit Near Bikaner
1. Junagarh Fort
The fort was built by Raja Rai Singh and was called Chintamani. Junagarh Fort comprises colossal gates, temples, and palaces on its premises that have been carved with utmost precision. The major attraction of the fort Is its windows, kiosks, courtyards, and balconies that are beautifully designed with red and gold sandstone.
2. Karni Mata Temple
Karni Mata Temple or rat temple is another popular spiritual and tourist destination in Bikaner, Rajasthan. The temple is located in a small town Deshnok, and it is believed to be home to 25000 black rats. These rats are referred to as Kabbas, and are considered holy and are worshipped. Another intriguing thing about the temple is its enticing Mughal style of architecture.
3. Lalgarh Palace
This European-style architectural marvel was built by Maharaja Ganga Singh in memory of his father Maharaja Lal Singh. The palace has been made using red sandstone, which adds grace and strength to the structure. Lalgarh palace has been converted into a heritage hotel where you can pamper yourself in absolute luxury and a museum where you can sneak peek into royal amenities.
4. Sursagar Lake
Sursagar Lake is a popular picnic spot in Bikaner for locals and tourists alike. This man-made lake was dug out during the rule of Maharaja Sur Singh to preserve water and meet the water requirement of the people of the region. Sursagar Lake is one of the best places to visit in Rajasthan.
How to Reach Bikaner in Rajasthan
Bikaner in Rajasthan is nearly 437km via RJ SH 6, 1200 km via NH 48, 1800km via AH 1, and 2100km via NH 48 from Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Bengaluru, respectively. Listed below is a compilation of the best airways, railways, and roadways travel options that you may consider if planning a trip to Bikaner.
Traveling by road has a special charm, and if you are someone who likes road trips, then heading towards Bikaner by road would be a memorable affair. You may arrive here in your vehicle or may reserve a seat on the tourist bus. A road trip will let you explore the farms and villages along the highway. Listed below is an estimate of the distance in kilometers and the best route to take if arriving from nearby cities.
FromJaipur. 335km via NH 52 and NH 11
FromLudhiana. 465km via Suratgarh-Bikaner Road
FromKota. 587km via NH 52
FromUdaipur. 492km via NH 62
FromAjmer. 265km via Sardarshah-Ajmer Road
FromJodhpur. 250km via Bikaner Barmer Road
Lalgarh Junction and Bikaner Junction are the two nearest railway stations where you may terminate your train journey to explore Bikaner. From the station, you can take a taxi, auto, or get on a bus to reach the desired destination in Bikaner.
From Delhi. Board BKN Festival SPL from Delhi S Rohilla station and deboard at Bikaner junction
From Mumbai. Board Festival SF SPL from Bandra Terminus and deboard at Bikaner junction
From Kolkata. Board HWH BKN SPL from Howrah junction and deboard at Bikaner junction
From Bengaluru. Board YPR BKN EXP from Yesvantpur junction and deboard at Bikaner junction
Nal Airport is the nearest to reach Bikaner. The airport is approximately 13km away from Bikaner and can be reached by local public transport such as buses and cabs. The airport receives flights from all parts of the country, hence you can plan an air trip to this royal destination from anywhere.
Here is a list of Indian cities from where flights are available to Bikaner