An integral part of India’s legacy and heritage (dharohar) are its cities, towns, and villages. History awaits at every corner of India, whether it is a lost legend, a well-preserved palace, or a village bazaar. Through our ‘Dharohar’ section we bring to you some of India’s treasured places.
This month we showcase Bikaner, a city in the northwest of the state of Rajasthan. Bikaner is a colorful desert town famous for its classic desert outpost look, grand ancient forts and others. Bikaner is the ‘Red city’ of the state. Red sandstones adorn the town therefore even today the city is red in shade. There are numerous Havelis and old houses in this city one can take a tour of to explore this red-ness.
During the month of January, Bikaner hosts the Camel Festival. This festival celebrates the “ship of the dessert – camel” and is the local’s way of paying tribute to the camel, without which they wouldn’t have survived the severe desert climatic condition. Camels were not just a transportation in the desert regions of the world. It was more of a basis of living, a status symbol and even the embodiment of trade and finance of the desert area. The festival includes the camel race, camel beauty pageant, camel dance, and celebrate the camels that are known for their strength and endurance.
Bikaner is a vibrant city known for famous tourist attractions that enthrall and captivate the visitors. The legendary Junagarh Fort is an impenetrable citadel that holds the distinction of having never been captured by invaders. The palaces inside the fort, the gardens, balconies, kiosks, etc., depict a composite architectural style influenced by the different rulers’ cultural differences and foreign inspirations. Lalgarh Palace, the beautiful red sandstone structure is another major tourist attractions in Bikaner. With a perfect blend of Rajput, Mughal, and European architectural style, this place is the true spirit of Rajasthan. Gajner Palace, located on the banks of Gajner Lake is another great place to visit. Gajner Palace offers you a variety of leisure activities from boat rides to desert safaris. Built as a traditional Rajasthani Palace, it is an architectural beauty that now is modernized to host guests. The entire vicinity is filled with lush green trees while the glorious palace itself offers recreational activities like billiards, lawn tennis, cycling, bird watching and wildlife safaris.
Ganga Singh Museum has a marvelous collection of artefacts belonging to the Harappan Civilization and Gupta Dynasty. The museum is a perfect attraction for history and archaeological buffs as the stunning antiques like pottery, paintings, terracotta artwork, etc. are sure to give one a peep into the rich ancient heritage of India.
Another place to not miss is the Station Road market. This market is a fabulous place to acquire embroidered footwear (jootis), local fabrics, leather goods and wood as well as traditional artifacts. Sursagar Lake was dug out during the reign of Maharaja Sur Singh to curb water shortage in the region. With well-maintained surroundings and proper seating arrangement around the mesmerizing lake, it is a famous attraction and a preferred picnic spot in the city.
Bikaner is well connected to other parts of the country. Bikaner Airport has direct flight connections from Delhi or Jaipur. Bikaner can be reached by train from Delhi, Jaipur, Mumbai, Agra and other major Indian towns. It can also be reached by road from Delhi via Shekhawati or Jaipur.
Vibrant deserts, fabulous forts, desert safaris make Bikaner a blooming beauty in the Thar desert. The city is adorned with gigantic and spectacular forts and palaces that stand tall with the passage of time. Apart from the historical vestiges, the city is the center of attraction for food lovers due to its yummy snacks.