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Bikaner () is a District in the northwest of the state of Rajasthan in northern India. It is located northwest of the state capital, Jaipur. Bikaner city is the administrative headquarters of Bikaner District and Bikaner division. It was formerly the capital of the princely state of Bikaner. The city was founded by Rao Bika. Bikaner.[1][2][3] in 1486 and from its small origins it has developed into the fifth largest city in Rajasthan. The Ganges Canal, completed in 1928, and the Indira Gandhi Canal, completed in 1987, have allowed the farming of crops such as mustard, cotton, groundnuts, wheat and vegetables. Other industries include wool production and the mining of Gypsum, plaster of Paris and bentonite.

Bikaner is famous for sweets and snacks (or namkeens in Hindi).



Genealogy of Bikaner Royal Family from its establishment by Rao Bika in 1488

Prior to the mid 15th century, the region that is now Bikaner was a barren wilderness called Jangladesh.[4] In 1488 Rao Bika established the city of Bikaner. Rao Bika was the second son of Maharaja Rao Jodha of the Rathor clan, the founder of Jodhpur and conquered the largely arid country in the north of Rajasthan. As the second son of Joda he had no chance of inheriting Jodhpur from his father or the title of Maharaja. He therefore decided to build his own kingdom in what is now the state of Bikaner in the area of Jungladesh. Though it was in the Thar Desert, Bikaner was considered an oasis on the trade route between Central Asia and the Gujarat coast as it had adequate spring water. Bika s name was attached to the city he built and to the state of Bikaner ( the settlement of Bika ) that he established. Bika built a fort in 1478, which is now in ruins, and a hundred years later a new fort was built about 1.5 km from the city centre, known as the Junagarh Fort.[5][6][7]

Around a century after Rao Bika founded Bikaner, the state's fortunes flourished under the sixth Raja, Rai Singhji, who ruled from 1571 to 1611. During the Mughal Empire s rule in the country, Rai Singh accepted the suzerainty of the Mughals and held a high rank as an army general at the court of the Emperor Akbar and his son the Emperor Jahangir. Rai Singh's successful military exploits, which involved winning half of Mewar kingdom for the Empire, won him accolades and rewards from the Mughal emperors. He was given the jagirs (lands) of Gujarat and Burhanpur. With the large revenue earned from these jagirs, he built the Junagarh fort on a plain which has an average elevation of . He was an expert in arts and architecture, and the knowledge he acquired during his visits abroad is amply reflected in the numerous monuments he built at the Junagarh fort.[5][7][8]

Karan Singh, who ruled from 1631 to 1639, under the suzerainty of the Mughals, built the Karan Mahal palace. Later rulers added more floors and decorations to this Mahal. Anup Singh, who ruled from 1669 to 1698, made substantial additions to the fort complex, with new palaces and the Zenana quarter, a royal dwelling for women and children. He refurbished the Karan Mahal with a Diwan-i-Am (public audience hall) and called it the Anup Mahal. Gaj Singh, who ruled from 1746 to 1787 refurbished the Chandra Mahal (the Moon palace).

During the 18th century, there was internecine war between the rulers of Bikaner and Jodhpur and also amongst other thakurs, which was put down by British troops.[7]

Following Gaj Singh, Surat Singh ruled from 1787 to 1828 and lavishly decorated the audience hall (see illustration) with glass and lively paintwork. Under a treaty of paramountcy signed in 1818, during Surat Singh's reign, Bikaner came under the suzerainty of the British, after which the Maharajas of Bikaner invested heavily in refurbishing Junagarh fort.[9]

Dungar Singh, who reigned from 1872 to 1887, built the Badal Mahal, the 'weather palace', so named in view of a painting of clouds and falling rain, a rare event in arid Bikaner.

Ganga Singh who ruled from 1887 to 1943, was the best-known of the Rajasthan princes and was a favourite of the British Governors-General. He was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the Star of India, served as a member of the Imperial War Cabinet, represented India at the Imperial Conferences during the First World War and the British Empire at the Versailles Peace Conference. His contribution to the building activity in Junagarh involved separate halls for public and private audiences in the Ganga Mahal and a durbar hall for formal functions. He also built the Ganga Niwas Palace, which has towers at the entrance patio. This palace was designed by Sir Samuel Swinton Jacob, the third of the new palaces built in Bikaner. He named the building Lalgarh Palace in honour of his father and moved his main residence there from Junagarh fort in 1902. The hall where he held his Golden Jubilee as Bikaner's ruler is now a museum.[7][9][10]

Ganga Singh's son Sadul Singh succeeded his father in 1943 but acceded his state to the Union of India in 1949 and died in 1950.[6] The royal family still lives in a suite in the Lalbagh Palace, which they have converted into a heritage hotel.[7][9]


Sand dunes in Bikaner, Rajasthan


The internal transport system in Bikaner consists of autorickshaws and city buses. Bikaner is connected to some of major Indian cities via broad gauge railway. The city has direct rail connections to Delhi, Mumbai, Kanpur, Agra, Jalandhar, Baroda, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Guwahati, Jaipur, Surat, Jalandhar, Puricoimbatore, Thiruvananthapuram, Chandigarh,Kota, Jammu,Jodhpur and Ahmedabad. However, there is no rail connectivity for other major Indian cities like Chennai, Indore, Jhansi, Ranchi, Bhopal, Gwalior, Jabalpur, and . Bikaner is well served with roads and is linked directly to Delhi, Jaipur, Agra, Ludhiana, Bhatinda, Ambala, Ahmedabad, Haridwar, Jodhpur, Indore and many other cities. National highways 11, 15, and 89 meet at Bikaner. There is a under construction domestic airport at nal 14 km from city which will start its flights for Delhi and Jaipur in late 2012.


Bikaner is situated in the middle of the Thar desert with very little rainfall and extreme temperatures. In summer, temperatures can exceed 50 C and during the winter it may dip to freezing point.

The climate in Bikaner is characterised by extreme variations in temperature. In the summer season it is very hot when the temperatures lie in the range of . In the winter, it is fairly cold with temperatures lying in the range of .[11] Annual Rainfall is in the range of .[11][12]

Art & Culture

Princely flag of Bikaner
Princely flag of Bikaner
Bikaner is famous for -: 1) Its camel research farm (NRCC). 2) Its "Bikaneri Bhujia. 3) Its wool production. 4) Its sweets. 5) PATA culture ( Wooden made big square size table which is laid upon the streets where localites sit at their leisure )

Bikaneri Bhujia is a spicy snack made from moth dal, spices and edible oil. Bikaner is also known for its handicrafts and leather articles, for its palaces and for having Asia's biggest camel farm.

The city is also known for its intricately carved Jharokas. These red sandstone stone jalis (screens) are found on the windows of the Junagarh fort, temples and havelis (mansions of Northern India). Jalis would be used for ventilation and for women to watch the world while remaining hidden.

The red sandstone for these stone window screens was supplied by the nearby village of Dulmera.

Usta & Chadhwa Art

Bikaner was and is the centre for Usta Art, a generic term for the Manoti-Naqqashi (embossed and unembossed floral and geometric patterned objects layered with gold) media produced by Usta family master artistans of Bikaner. The Usta artists and artisans also controlled all production of the Bikaner School "miniature" paintings using translucent and opaque vegetable and mineral watercolours from the late-16th to late-19th Century. Famous painters of the Bikaner School were Hamid Rukn-ud-din, Ahmad, Nathu ji, Nure, Rahim, Isa, Iso, Sahab-ud-din, Rehim ji,Murad, and Abdul Shakoor.

Fairs and festivals

  • International Camel Festival, Ladera Dunes, 25 km away from Bikaner City.
  • Karni Mata fair, Deshnoke, Bikaner
  • Gangaur
  • Kapil Muni fair
  • Punarasar Fair : This fair is held at punarasar village of Bikaner. The village is named after lord Hanuman who is considered the god of power, knowledge, health and wealth. Hindus of Bikaner and its adjoining cities head towards this holy village twice (Sarad purnima & Bhaadava) in a year and celebrate this pious occasion with lot of offerings to Punarasar baba. Devotees who approach this holy occasion (following the path between hamlets) are served with food and refreshment by the gathering of another devotees. This fair is considered must visit among local public of Bikaner hence a very long queue (more than 5 km) of devotees is witnessed at this occasion before the temple. Punarasar temple is situated closer to highway leads to Jaipur that's why this highway is known as Punarasar highway too!
  • Kodamdesar Mela :- Kodamdesar mela is celebrated in the village of Kodamdesar 20 km far from bikaner where the temple of lord bhairoon is situated. This temple have no roof for covering the statue of bhairoon nath. Chura and Surdashani purohit are the casts who have utmost faith upon kodamdesar bahiroon.
  • Kolayat Mela
  • Siyana Bhairoon mela : This fair is known for the utmost celebration by Hindu casts Ojha, Bhadani, chhangani and derasri. Devotees from this community along with others reach siyana village of bikaner by cart, buses, car, bike and on feet. Siyana village is known for the temple of lord bhiroon who is believed to bless all amenities to his devotees they prayed for.
  • Camel festival: each January the state government organises a camel festival with camel races, various cultural events and a fire dance performed by the Sidh people.
  • Aksaye Tritya or "AKKHA TEEJ": the foundation day of Bikaner. This was the day when Rao Bika laid the foundation of the new empire. Every year on this day people from across the social spectrum enjoy themselves by flying kites or "CHANDA". They also enjoy a special meal, such as "Khichra and Imlani".
  • Paryushan: The biggest festival of Jain community is celebrated with utmost fervour and dedication in the city in the Bhadrapad month of Hindu calendar. The temples are lavishly decorated. Spiritual ceremonies and fasting are seen everywhere in the city.
  • Kartik Poornima: The Jain community takes out a huge procession on this day consisting of paintings, palki of tirthankar and musical bands. It traverses all the areas inhabited by Jains. Local bhajan mandalis or Spiritual Bands perform with great excitement on this occasion. This festivity is unparalleled in India.
  • Rammat : Rammat is a marwadi word which stands for "PLAY". Rammat is performed in adjoining days of Holi at Bhattron ka chowk, Barah Guwar, Bisso ka chowk etc. local actors portray the role of ancient legends like Dhola Marwaani, Amarsingh Rathod . Rammat starts in midnight and get finished in the dawn with the pray of goddess . Localite take delight to participate in the chorus and spread different color over the crowd present there . Rammat of Harsh & Vyas attract huge crowd owing to its distinctive nature of water play. Both community member of harsh & Vyas get themselves loaded there area with water tank and they hit each other with water with help of leather made jug . The one who loose water early face the defeat ! However it is a fixed game since inception of this game vyas are declared the winner that too cordially, then also huge crowd turn up at the site and cheer their favorite team with full of passion .
  • Pata : Pata is a wooden made giant sized square shaped couch on which people sit and chat. Pata was formed with intention to bring people together and discuss different issues on the daily basis. Nowadays Patas have become spot of pure entertainment and gossip

Attractions in Bikaner and nearby

Junagarh Fort, Bikaner, Rajasthan, India
Junagarh Fort, Bikaner, Rajasthan, India

Junagarh Fort

The fort was built by Raja Rai Singh, the sixth ruler of Bikaner who reigned from 1571 to 1612. Rai Singh had conquered part of Marwar and had been granted territory in Gujurat and Burhanpur by the Mughal emperor Akbar as a reward for his services as military commander. This, as well as funding from Jodhpur, enabled him to build the fort. Rai Singh held high rank in the imperial courts of both Akbar and his successor, Jehangir. During his imperial service he travelled extensively, giving him an appreciation of art and architecture. These ideas have been incorporated meticulously into the architectural style of Junagarh Fort.

Laxmi Niwas Palace

Laxmi Niwas Palace
Laxmi Niwas Palace

The Laxmi Niwas Palace is a former residential palace of the king of the former Bikaner state, Maharajah Ganga Singh in Bikaner in the Indian state of Rajasthan. It was designed by the British architect, Sir Samuel Swinton Jacob in the year 1902. The style of architecture is Indo-Saracenic. It is now a luxury hotel owned by Golden Triangle Fort & Palace P. Ltd. The magnificent structure in red sandstone is one of the most popular destinations for tourists in Bikaner.[13]

Lalgarh Palace

Lalgarh Palace
Lalgarh Palace
Lalgarh Palace was built between 1902 and 1926 according to Rajput, Mughal and European architectural styles. The building was commissioned by Maharaja Ganga Singh (1889 1925) in memory of his father Maharaja Lall Singh and was designed by the British architect, Sir Swinton Jacob. It is coated in red sandstone and has several grand halls, lounges, cupolas and pavilions. The building features magnificent pillars, elaborate fireplaces, Italian colonnades and intricate latticework and filigree work. The palace houses the Shri Sadul Museum as well as a large and important collection of Sanskrit manuscripts, the Anup Sanskrit Library. Though the Bikaner Royal Family still live in the palace, part of the building has been converted into a Heritage hotel operated by the Royal family of Bikaner.

Maru Nayak Ji

Constructed in 1486, Moolnayakji was the first Vaishnav Temple built in Bikaner. It was the principal seat of the Vaishanv sect. The first of the Bhagavad Katha Vachaks of the Rattani Vyas clan of Bikaner Shri Rattoji Vyas gave the Bhagavad Updesh to the king, Rao Bika and his aide Salloji Rathi. This practice is carried on till date. The presiding deity is Lord Moolnayak Krishna.

Bhandasar Jain Temple
Bhandasar Jain Temple

Laxmi Nath Temple

Laxmi Nath Temple is one of the oldest temples in Bikaner. The foundation of the city was laid here in 1488 by Rao Bikaji. The temple was erected during the reign of Rao Lunkaran and was added to by Maharaja Ganga Singh.

Bhandasar Jain Temple

Out of the 27 beautiful Jain temples adorning the landscape of Bikaner city, this temple dedicated to the fifth Tirthankara, Sumatinath, is considered to be the most beautiful and also the highest. This temple was built by a Jain merchant, Bhanda Shah. The foundation of this temple was filled by pure ghee and dry coconuts.

This temple is mainly famous for wall paintings and usta art. The temple is built of red sandstone and is divided in three floors. One can see the skyline of Bikaner by climbing to the topmost floor of this temple.

Mukam Temple

Mukam is a pilgrimage near Nokha for Bishnoi community. Bishnois are known for their kind nature.


Kolayat is a famous pilgrimage spot with a temple dedicated to Kapila who, according to his devotees, sat in meditation near the lake. One week before Pushkar Festival and till one week later this lake is more interesting if you like to see Sadhus. Pushkar will have some Sadhus but Kolayat will have many hundreds.

Karni Mata Temple

The world famous shrine of Karni Mata can be found in the town of Deshnoke 30 km south from Bikaner on the road to Jodhpur. Karni Mata is worshiped as an incarnation of Goddess Durga.

This temple is famous for rats which can be seen everywhere in the temple.

Shiv Bari Temple

Built from red sandstone by Dungar Singh in the late 19th century, the temple is surrounded by a wall with battlements. It has a four faced black marble statue of Shiva and a bronze Nandi facing the Shiva Lingam. There are also two large reservoirs of water known as bawaris. The temple attracts thousands of visitors during Shravan (August) especially on Mondays.

Camel Festival

The Bikaner Camel Festival is an event organized by the Department of Tourism, Art and Culture, of Bikaner, Government of Rajasthan. It takes place every year in the month of January. At this festival the "ships of the desert" are seen at their best. Some spectacular and unusual camel performances like camel races, camel dances, and the bumpy, neck shaking camel rides take place at this event.

  • The Bikaner Camel Festival starts with a procession of bedecked camels from the Junagarh fort. The camels are decorated in typical Rajasthani attires, colorful bridles and saddles.
  • The festival takes place over two days.
  • Camel dance performances also take place. Competitions take place for the best decorated camel, fur cutting design, camel milking and the best camel hair cut. The camels display splendid footwork and dance gracefully to the direction of their drivers.
  • Tea and sweets made of camels' milk are available during the festival.
  • On the second day of the festival the fleetest camels of the region take part in races. The competition is fierce as the best camels compete for the prizes, which is of great honor. Thousands of excited tourists join the local population to watch the events and cheer on their favorites.
  • On both evenings the festival ends with a performance by the renowned folk singers and dancers of Rajasthan. The jubilant dances swirling the ghagras, the awe inspiring fire dances and many other interesting and enthusiastic performances entertain visitors. In the grand finale a magnificent display of fireworks takes place which illuminate the desert city of Bikaner.
  • The Bikaner camel festival has a historical significance. The camels were very important when there were no motor vehicles. At that time the camels were an important part of the transport in the city of Bikaner.

Event listing for Camel Festival 2011 can be found at bikanermarket bikaner Market

Other attractions

  • Nagnechi Ji Temple
  • Ganga Golden Jubilee Museum
  • Astrology :- Bikaner is blessed with prominient astrologers of India, few are Rajendra vyas ( Mammu Maharaj), Late Acharya raj, Mr Ashok thanvi etc.
  • Camel Research Farm, Bikaner
  • Horse Research Farm, Bikaner
  • Rajasthan State Archives
  • Soor Sagar
  • Public Park and Zoo
  • Raj Ratan Bihari Park and Rasik Shiromani Temple
  • Lakshminath Ji Temple
  • Bhandasar Jain Temple
  • Vaidehi Global Trust
  • Vaishno Dham
  • Ganga Golden Jubilee Museum
  • Rampuria Havelis
  • Ratan Bihari Temple
  • Historical Gopi Nath Temple, Opp. Government Press
  • Devi Kund Sagar.
  • Gajner Palace.
  • Kalibangan.
  • Kolayat.
  • MUKAM Nokha
  • Goddess Karni Temple, Deshnok (A.K.A. Rat Temple).
  • Doda thora
  • Laleshwar Mahadev Mandir, Shiv-Bari
  • Science Park, Statue Circle, J.N.Vyas Colony
  • Nandishwar Mahadev Mandir, Murlidhar Vyas Colony
  • Gates and Baris of old Bikaner city (Kote-gate, Goga-gate, Nathusar-gate, Jassusar-gate, Shitala-gate)Bikaner najlepsi


According to the 2011 India census,[14] Bikaner had a population of 2,367,745. Males constituted 53% of the population and females 47%. Bikaner has an average literacy rate of 66%, higher than the national average of 59.5%; with male literacy of 74% and female literacy of 57%. 14% of the population is under 6 years of age.

Education in Bikaner

For notable Universities and colleges see List of universities and colleges in Bikaner:

1.Government Engineering College Bikaner

2.Marudhar Engineering College

3.Shri Jain Post Graduate College

4.College of Engineering & Technology

5.Manda Institute of Technology

6.B.J.S Rampuria College

7.Dungar College

8.Rampuria Institute for Management Studies

9.M.N Institute for Applied Science

10.M.S Girls College

11.Sardar Patel Medical College

12.Basic PG College

13.Elite PG College

14.Binnani Girls College

15.T.M. College for Applied Science

16.Gyan Vidhi College

17.Govt Law College

18.Govt TT College

19.Keen College

20.Govt Polytech. College

21.Govt Polytech. College for Girls

22.Shri Jain Kanya College

23.Rao Tulla Ram Rasterunati Vidhlya NO:-1,2,3 AND 4

Notable Universities :-

1.Maharaja Ganga Singh University, Jaisalmer Road, Bikaner

2.Rajasthan University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences,Jaisalmer Road,Bikaner

3.Swami Keshvanand Rajasthan Agricultute University, Ganganagar Road, Bikaner

4.Bikaner Technical University,Bikaner,(Proposed)

For notable English medium Schools see List of schools in Bikaner, Rajasthan.

1.K.V. No. 1 (on Jaipur road)

2.K.V. No. 2 (inside Army campus)

3.K.V. No. 3 Nal Bikaner (inside Air Force Station Nal Bikaner).

4.Seth Tolaram Bafna Academy,Gangashahar,Nokha Road

5.Sophia Senior Secondary School,Jaipur Road

6.Bikaner Boys School

7.Delhi Public School,Bikaner

8.Dayanand Public School.

9.Rashtra Sahayak Vidhyalaya,J.N Vyas colony

10.St.N.N R.S.V, Pawan Puri South Extension


12.Teresa Children Academy Sr. Sec. School (K.K Colony Bikaner)

13.Bal Bari, Gangashahar

14.Aadarsh Vidhya Mandir, JNV Colony & Gangashahar

15.St. vivekanand sr. sec. school


Bikaner is well connected by road, rail and air links to the rest of the country.[15]

Bikaner has an airport named Nal Airport, which is away from the city centre and is still not fully functional. It is basically an Airport station.It Start From Jan 2013.Then Flight Go To Bikaner-Delhi,Bikaner-Jaipur. However, airports at Jodhpur () and Sanganer Airport at Jaipur () within Rajasthan provide the link.

Bikaner is served by two railway stations namely Bikaner Junction (BKN)[16] and Lalgarh Railway Station (LGH).[17] These two stations connect Bikaner with other cities and towns in Rajasthan and with the major cities in North India.

There is very good network of city roads also where all modes of vehicular transport communications operate.


  • Patnaik, Naveen. (1990). A Desert Kingdom: The Rajputs of Bikaner. George Weidenfeld & Nicolson Ltd., London.

  4. a b
  5. a b
  6. a b c d e
  7. a b c Ring p.133
  8. Ring p.132
  9. a b
  10. Laxmi Niwas Palace (Bikaner, Rajasthan) - Hotel Reviews - TripAdvisor
  11. Indiarailinfo: Bikaner Junction
  12. Indiarailinfo: Lalgarh Railway Station

External links


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