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Bikaner

3.7 /5 48 votes

Weather:

Best Time: Oct-Mar Read More

Ideal duration: 1-2 days

Nearest Airport: Jodhpur Check Flights

"The desert town of 'Camel Festival'"

Bikaner Tourism

Located in the midst of Thar Desert, Bikaner is a "cultural paradise and a traveller's haven". Bikaner with its magnificence in architecture, art and culture is filled with colour, festivity and cultural marvels.The city will mesmerize you with the camels sauntering the beautiful sand dunes, its ancient palaces and forts. Rightly called as one of the three great desert kingdoms of Rajasthan, the dazzling city boasts of old-world charm, opulent havelis and depicts a pleasing bygone era of the Rajputs. Best known as the "camel country" for breeding some best-known riding camels, Bikaner also happens to house one of the only two models of the biplane used by the British in World War 1.

Sand Dunes and the Desert Safari are among major attractions. Bikaner is also famous for hosting the international Camel festival which draws tourists from the world over. Other attractions here include experiencing delicacies such as Thandai, Bhujias, shopping for the fascinating Ivory and Lacquer items or simply witnessing the immense heritage taking the form of wall paintings and arts and crafts in the area.

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History of Bikaner

Bikaner was a barren land, ruled by the Rajputs in the 15th century and was known as “Jangladesh”. In 1488, Rao Bika established the namesake city and built the famous Junagarh Fort. Rightly considered as the oasis in between the Thar Desert, the city was a strategic point of trade between Gujarat and Central Asia. Major construction and development in Bikaner happened under the rule of Raja Rai Singh who ruled from 1571 AD to 1611 AD as he won many wars and accolades and also conquered the Mewar Kingdom and got rewarded for the same. In the 18th century, however, the kingdom fell into the hands of the British Empire, although the Royal family kept ruling the city. Eventually, the family shifted to the Lalgarh Palace where it still resides to date.

Culture of Bikaner

The dynamic and vibrant culture of Bikaner gives you a peek into the tradition, practices and people of the city. People are fond of their culture and they (especially men) dress in traditional dress of Rajasthan- ghaghra choli for women and dhoti kurta for men. Most men are seen donning a pagdi even on usual days. Hinduism is the major religion followed by the people and Rajasthani is the spoken to language. Although, some people also speak Hindi. Bikaner also has a delectable cuisine. Most of the food is prepared in butter and butter milk. Some of the delicacies include- dal baati churma, gatte ki sabzi, kheechdi, pakode etc. One of the main festivals of Bikaner is “Camel Festival”; it involves a flamboyant procession and parade of decked-up camels. The display of the high bred camels is followed by events like- camel races, camel rides and performance of folk songs and dances. Bikaner is also a hub for meenakari work (ornamental stone work), miniature painting and carpet weaving. Utsi art is another famous form of art inherited from the age of Raja Rai Singh which involves golden meenakari work on camel hide.

Bikaner - The City Of Forts And Temples

Bikaner, located in the middle of the Thar desert and founded by Rao Bika back in 1486, has many temples and forts reflecting the cultural heritage of Rajasthan. Some of the famous places you should definitely visit here are- Junagarh Fort- Earlier known as Chintamani, this fort also has artefacts from ancient past of Bikaner. Its intricate and immaculate interior designing on the walls and roof has never failed to impress the visitors.

Karni Mata Temple, a Hindu temple, also known as the Rat Temple, is located at Deshnok, 30 km from Bikaner. While thousands of rats are worshipped in this temple, there are few white rats here, considered to be the holiest ones. Lalgarh Palace, built in the 19th century, has been converted into a heritage hotel. The cravings are done on red sandstone. Its architecture is a mixture of Rajput, Muslim and European styles. Its beautiful designs with sprawling gardens are an attraction for tourists. Bhandasar Jain Temple, one of the most beautiful Jain temple, is famous for its paintings and for the fact that 40,000 kgs of ghee were used in making of this temple. It has three floors and one can have a bird's eye view from the top floor. Lakshmi Nath Temple, the oldest temple of Bikaner, has the statues of Hindu gods Vishnu and Laxmi. Apart from these places, Bikaner boasts of several other ancient temples and forts.

The Camel Country

The Camel country is the second name of Bikaner since tourists coming here can't resist camel rides. During the camel safari, you can witness the mesmerising beauty of sand dunes. Apart from that, local artists in colourful clothes performing Rajasthani dance is also typically part of the package. There are many organisers for camel safari which can last from 2 to 15 days. The cost starts from INR 1200 per person for a simple safari but it could increase if you are planning a longer trip. Typically, the organisers need a lot of people in a group to conduct the safari, else it becomes very costly for each individual.
Not only this, the famous Camel Fair organised by the Department of Tourism, Art and Culture in January is a major attraction. The festival includes colourfully dressed camels participating in various performances including dances and races. There are also some folk dance performances and puppet shows. Tea, sweetmeats and other dairy items prepared from camel milk are also available. Read more about Bikaner Camel Festival.

Restaurants and Local Food in Bikaner

Bikaner is often almost identified by its popular bhujjias, Namkeens, Papads and Baris . Make sure you try these while in Bikaner and take some home too. Along with this you can enjoy the other staple Rajasthani snacks such as Samosa, Kachori and many more.
Bikaner also offers most of the typical Rajasthani preparations such as Dal Bati Choorma, Gatte ki Sabzi, Khata, Pakodi as well as deserts such as Ghevar, Fini, Rabri and more.
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Suggested Itinerary

Day 1 - Reach Bikaner by morning. After freshening up and relaxing, start exploring the city by 11 am. First, you can head to Junagarh Fort. It will take around 2-3 hrs to go around the entire fort. After having lunch, you can go to Station road or Kote Gate for shopping traditional items and handicrafts. These markets are full of local items like paintings, footwear, upholteries and clothes. Do not forget to visit Chotu Motu Joshi, a sweet shop which is very famous.
Day 2 - Start your day by visiting Karni Mata Temple early morning. The total time including the travel time and discovering the temple will be around 3 hrs since it is located at a distance of 35 km from Bikaner. After this, you can visit the Lalgarh Palace and the Rampuriya Haveli. You can also cover a few Jain temples in the evening including Bhandasar Jain Temple and the Laxmi Nath Temple.
Day 3 - If you are here for another day, you can go to the Gajner wildlife sanctuary which is about 27kms from the city and you might witness a lot of migratory birds. After lunch, you should visit National Research Centre for Camels. This institute, located around 8-10 km from the main city has a lot of camels and you could learn a lot about different breeds of camels.
Alternatively, if you plan to extend your trip by two or three more days, you can plan out a camel safari with any of the organisers.

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Holidify's Opinion

What's Great?

Rich in culture with many heritage properties, Havelis, hotels and forts. The traditional architecture takes you back in history. Less populated. Lip-smacking Rajasthani delicacies and snacks including the famous Bikaneri Bhujia.

What's Not So Great?

Extreme weather conditions, especially in the summer season and frequent rainstorms with dusty air. Not so developed town and there are very few luxurious shopping centres and restaurants.

For Whom?

Great for the people who want to know the gist of Rajasthan. Perfect for history buffs and those who like exploring and digging into the past. Very good for dessert lovers as Bikaner is famous for its sweets.

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How To Reach Bikaner

The nearest airport from Bikaner is the Jodhpur airport at a distance of 251 km. It's probably not the best idea to go Bikaner by air since the closest airport is 4.5 hours away (Jodhpur). It's easily accessible by road or rail. Bikaner is nicely connected by train from all major cities of India and smaller cities of Rajasthan as well. There are two railway stations in Bikaner which are equally at a distance of 6 km from the city. Bikaner is connected via roads to all the prominent cities of India. The road conditions are decent too.

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Ask a question from the travellers who have experience.

Q. What time would you say is the best to visit Bikaner? Is it too hot in the summers?

Rajat Jain 1 year ago
Winter months are the best time to visit. The summers are especially scorching. October to Feb is a good time.

Bikaner Reviews

Your rating
Rohit Shroff 1 year ago
- Good place for Junagarh fort and camel farm. Karni Mata temple is really interesting. Other temples and palaces are just okay. Bikaner is not much of a desert, so don't go to Bikaner hoping for camel safaris. The food is good and people are friendly. Don't go in summers.
- Keep you sunscreen and sunglasses handy. Umbrellas and scarves would do the trick too.
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