There are a few cities in particular which make Rajasthan one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country and even in India. One of these cities is Bikaner. If you are interested in learning more about the culture and heritage of Rajasthan and understand the tradition of Rajputs then, Bikaner is the city that you should visit.
Location of Bikaner
If you head out to the north-western corner of the state of Rajasthan, then you will come across Bikaner. It is around 7-8 hours’ drive away from the capital city of Jaipur. Thanks to the rapid progress and development programmes that had been launched in Rajasthan to facilitate irrigation, Bikaner is today the fourth largest city in this state and not to mention a thriving tourist destination.
Foundation of Bikaner
It was back in 1486 that Rao Bika founded this city. The place where Bikaner is today used to be a completely deserted and infertile area, and it was known as Jangladesh. However, thanks to the efforts of Rao Bika, this wilderness was turned into a flourishing city. Rao Bika was the son of Maharaja Rao Jodha, who himself was the founder of Jodhpur. It was Rao Bika’s ambitious dream not to inherit his father’s kingdom, but rather build a kingdom of his own that drove him to lay the foundations of Bikaner. In fact, the name of the city has Rao Bika’s name attached to it; the meaning of the term Bikaner is Bika’s settlement.
What to do when in Bikaner
Bikaner is a very popular tourist destination of Rajasthan. There are plenty of places to visit within the city. Just like any other city of Rajasthan, the star attraction of this city too is a fort. The Junagarh Fort constructed by Raja Rai Singh was built in the year 1593. Rao Bika had founded a fort when he laid the foundations of this city, but it had been destroyed, and hence, later the Junagarh Fort was built. Apart from the Junagarh Fort, there is the Gajner Palace and the Lalgarh Palace. If you want to explore the deserts, then you can go for the camel safaris that are organised here. In fact, the Karni Mata Mandiris located very near Bikaner. The most astounding fact about this temple is that it is infested with rats. It is believed by the people of this region that the priests of this temple all come back as rats after they die.
Other facts about Bikaner
The main local language of the people of this city is Marwari and Hindi. The ideal time to visit this city would be during the months of October to February. The weather remains very pleasant during this time, and hence, it becomes really easy to roam about the place, exploring the city streets on foot. If one wants to go for a little shopping spree, then Kote Gate is a place that one has to try out. The local Rajasthani cuisine that one gets in this city is to simply die for!
Bikaner is a very interesting tourist destination in the state of Rajasthan, which everyone should visit when in Rajasthan!