10 Mesmerising Places To Visit In Bikaner
Bikaner is a vibrant city in the northern state of Rajasthan. It is located in between the Thar Desert and has a rich cultural heritage since its foundation in 1488 by the prince of Bikaner, Rao Bikaji. The foundation day of the city is still celebrated with great pomp on the day of ‘Akshay Tritiya’ when you can see the city sky dotted with colourful kites and enjoy local Rajasthani delicacies such as ‘Bajre ki Khichdi’, ‘Ghewar’ and ‘Imli paani’.
Because it is situated amidst the Thar Desert the weather of this region is hot and arid, receiving minimal rainfall and experiencing extreme heat in the summer months. The temperature in summer reaches up to 45 degrees Celsius. Therefore, the best time to visit Bikaner and explore its tourist attractions is from December to February when the temperature ranges between 25 to 7 degrees Celsius.
Bikaner is famous for its architectural grandeur that is evident in the majestic havelis, ancient temples, forts and palaces. Bikaner also houses many historical artefacts from the Harappan civilisation, intriguing travellers to visit the city. Do not forget to enjoy a camel safari on the golden sands of the Thar, and a tour around the ancient city’s lanes. Many travellers visit Bikaner for a pilgrimage tour given the abundance of culturally significant temples here.
Top 10 Places To See in Bikaner
- Junagarh Fort
- Karni Mata Temple
- Lalgarh Palace
- National Research Centre on Camels
- Rampuriya havelis
- Gajner Palace and wildlife sanctuary
- Shri Laxminath Temple
- Kote Gate
- Thar Desert safari
- Ganga Singh Museum
1. Junagarh Fort
One of the best places to see in Bikaner is the magnificent fort of Junagarh built in 1593 by the ruler, Raja Jai Singh. The fort constitutes of several palaces, gardens and temples within its walls and has remained as one of the undefeated forts in Indian history. This soaring structure draws inspiration from the Mughals and Gujarati architecture. The major attractions inside the fort are the Har Mandir or temple of the royal family and Karan Mahal or the public hall. Anup Mahal served as the administrative block and is beautifully carved with Italian tiles, intricate wooden work and lattice windows. Junagarh Fort also has a museum, known as the Fort Museum- preserving the narratives of the past, displaying mesmerising royal jewellery, garments, weapons and ammunition, and paintings of the royals. The museum has a library that preserves some precious Persian and Sanskrit manuscripts.
The fort museum remains open all days of the week from morning 9 AM to evening at 6 PM. A visiting fee of INR 30 for Indians and INR 150 for foreign travellers are charged.
Another museum in the corner of the fort is the Prachina Museum that displays the culture of Bikaner in all its grandeur. The museum houses portraits of the royal family, ethnic royal garments, handcrafted Rajasthani carpets, and remnants of cutlery and crockery.
You can easily reach the fort by availing local transportation within the city.
2. Karni Mata Temple
If you are up for witnessing something really out of the way, then head to the Karni Mata temple. The temple dates back to the 15th century and is dedicated to goddess Karni who is believed to be an incarnation of goddess Durga. The major attraction of this temple is that it houses and worships rats, which makes it one of the top tourist attractions. Today there are more than 20,000 rats inside the temple, worshipped and fed by devotees. The rats are popularly believed to be the sons of the goddess. Many legends are heard regarding the establishment of this temple and the worship of the rats, but none have any historical evidence. The temple is sculpted from marbles and stones, featuring beautiful silver gates.
The temple is situated 30 km from Bikaner, and you can reach there by means of local public transport. Karni Mata temple remains open all days of the week from morning 4 AM to night 10 PM. No visiting cost is required here.
3. Lalgarh Palace
Lalgarh Palace is one of the most beautiful palaces to witness in Bikaner, made of red sandstone which changes colour with the time of the day. The mind-blowing architecture of the palace is inspired by the Mughal, Rajput and European architectural styles with a dash of traditional Rajasthani touch. Lalgarh Palace was built between 1902 and 1926 by the king of Rajasthan, Maharaja Ganga Singh, in the memory of his father, Maharaja Lal Singh.
The palace has been converted into a heritage hotel now, open to the public. Take a stroll in the beautiful balconies, corridors and lush green gardens, or take a swim in the luxurious swimming pool. You may also opt for accommodation in the palace to enjoy some regal hospitality in the true spirit of Rajasthan.
During your stay, visit the Sadul Museum based on the first floor in the fort of Lalgarh. It exhibits the trophies, war artefacts, hunting trophies, and personal belongings of the Bikaner rulers. The museum requires an entry fee of INR 10 for Indians and INR 20 for foreign visitors. It remains open from Monday to Saturday, from morning 10AM to evening 5:00 PM. It is one of the best places to see in Bikaner.
4. National Research Centre on Camels
One of the top tourist attractions in Bikaner is the National Research Centre on Camels that every traveller must visit during their trip! It acts as a breeding and conservation ground for camels. More than 200 camels of 3 different breeds can be seen here. You will be given a guided tour, which will inform you about the facilities, research, the behaviour of camels, information on the breeds, and developmental techniques used for the preservation of camels.
While you learn a lot about camels, do not miss out on the local milk parlour serving lassis, milk, and ice cream made from camel’s milk. Travellers can enjoy great camel safaris and visit the camel museum located on the premise.
The research centre is situated 8 km away from Bikaner and remains open all days of the week from afternoon 2:30 PM until evening 5 PM. It requires a visiting charge beginning from INR 150.
5. Rampuriya Havelis
Bikaner is famous for its havelis that are no less in architectural standards from the palaces. These are extravagant structures with their luxurious, intricate designs of the jharokas, windows and doors carved immaculately.
The rampuriya havelis are one of the oldest standing havelis in Rajasthan constructed by the wealthy merchants of the city. They are not only a visual treat but also bear testimony of a unique heritage.
They are open all hours of the day and on all days of the week. No visiting charge is required.
6. Gajner Palace and Wildlife Sanctuary
Gajner Palace, situated on the banks of the Gajner Lake is a glorious palace made of red sandstone. Located amidst dense green forests, the mansion offers splendid views of animals and rare migratory birds. The palace has now been transformed into a heritage hotel, and therefore modernised, but includes all its art and heritage behind the regal walls.
You can enjoy a variety of games inside the palace premise such as a game of billiards, besides other recreational activities like safaris and bird watching. You can also go for desert safaris.
Within the palace lies the Gajner Wildlife sanctuary that is one of the prominent tourist attractions. You can see black bucks, nilgai and wild boars besides various migratory birds. The sanctuary was first made by the king to serve as his hunting lodge, and now it protects the rich fauna of the region. You can opt to go on a wildlife safari and enjoy views of the rarest animals.
A visiting charge of INR 100 is required at the palace which remains open to visitors all days of the week.
7. Shri Laxminath Temple
The Shri Laxminath temple is one of the oldest temples in the city, dedicated to the worship of Hindu deities, goddess Lakshmi and Lord Vishnu. It was built by the famous ruler Rao Bika in the year 1488. The temple is famous among tourists for its rich and elaborate silver engravings of traditional art and sculptures of many deities. The architectural splendour of the temple is a significant spot to visit to witness how skilled craftsmen were in the bygone era. Every year, the temple celebrates various Hindu festivals such as Janmashtami, Ram Navami, Ekadashi, Diwali etc. with great pomp, attracting countless travellers.
The temple remains open on all days of the week from morning 5 am to 1 pm and reopens at 5PM in the evening until 11PM at night. It requires no visiting charge.
8. Kote Gate
Kote Gate is one of the best places to see in Bikaner for all travellers as it is the very best place to shop for souvenirs and savour the local delicacies while strolling around the most vibrant and busy bazaar full of small shops selling multiple local Rajasthani items. The high gate is the main entrance to the city of Bikaner and simultaneously divides the Old Bikaner city from the new. It is replete with ancient monuments besides urban buildings.
Kote Gate is famous for selling Rajasthani ethnic garments, footwear, jewellery and several local artworks and handicrafts like paintings, camel leather artefacts, famous Rajasthani embroidered quilts of rich, vibrant colours representing the true spirit of Rajasthan. Kote Gate is also renowned for its brilliant eateries serving the many flavours of Rajasthan in one spot. Do not forget to try the Bikaner Bhujia, camel tea, and local desserts and sweets.
9. Thar Desert Camel Safari
No trip to Bikaner is complete without a camel safari across the vast Thar Desert’s golden sand dunes. The area experiences extremes of weather in summers and winters. Therefore, camel safaris usually take place during the time of sunrise or sunset as the temperature remains comparatively cooler. Mounting these friendly and gentle animals for touring the beautiful desert at a soft pace is one of the most thrilling experiences to enjoy!
Several operators can provide you with a variety of packages to choose from at very reasonable prices.
10. Ganga Singh Museum
One of the major tourist attractions in Bikaner is the Ganga Singh Museum. The museum boasts of its unique collection of archaeological findings from the Harappa civilisation. It was built by the ruler of Bikaner, Maharaj Ganga Singh, in the year 1937. Ganga Singh museum displays ancient weapons of the Rajputs, royal portraits, pottery, and artefacts. The museum is famous for the gold-leaf paintings done by the Ursa craftsmen.
The museum remains open on all days of the week from morning 10 AM to evening at 6 PM. A nominal fee of INR 50 is required for visiting it.
Bikaner paints a vivid picture of a splendid and glorious past of the Rajputs. The royal heritage is strongly reflected in the architecture, and in the traditional arts and crafts, handmade items of painting, sculpting or embroidery.
As a traveller, you can’t afford to miss the many flavours of the city- the delicious gram flour Bikaneri Bhujia, Rasgulla, Raj kachori, and Gatte ki sabzi. The taste of Bikaner is genuinely colourful and refreshing, making your stay a wonderful one where you would want to come back time and again.
Born in a big city, Varsha finds her heart in small towns. A free spirit, who loves to wander places in search of stories, within stories. At the end of a long day, she finds her therapy in long aimless walks and conversations, with the Moon.