Rajasthan is known to be the Golden Land of India, which is filled with breathtaking and soul-satisfying experiences for all kinds of travellers. Be it the places to see in Jaipur, or Jodhpur or be it the things to do in Bikaner, the state never lets down.
Bikaner is a city which is located in the northwest of the state of Rajasthan, India. It is about 330 kilometres (205 mi) northwest of the state capital, Jaipur. Bikaner city is the administrative headquarters of the Bikaner district.
At one time, the capital of the princely state of Bikaner was founded by Rao Bika in 1488 CE and from its small origins it has developed into the fourth largest city in Rajasthan.
Bikaner is home to one of the only two models of the planes used by the Britishers during the First World War. The biplane was presented by the British to Maharaja Ganga Singh, then ruler of the city. Some other distinctive aspects of Bikaner are the dunes that are spread throughout the city. It is located in the northern region of Rajasthan.
Bikaner is one of the earliest established cities which still shows its ancient luxury through palaces and forts, built of red sandstone, that have been there for a very long time. The city has some of the world’s best riding camels and is nicknamed ‘Camel Country.’ It also has the world’s largest camel research and breeding farms. It is also famous for having a unique temple dedicated to Karni Mata at Deshnok, called the Rats Temple.
The history of Bikaner can be traced from 1488 when a Rathore prince, Rao Bikaji, founded this kingdom. He left his father who was the founder of the Jodhpur and travelled very far where he came upon the wilderness called Jangladesh, where he decided to set up his kingdom, which is now known as the Bikaner.
There are so many places to visit in Bikaner. Bikaner displays its rich culture, luxury and spirited heritage of its treasure trove. It is also known as the travellers’ paradise. It has one of the most ancient structures which is very beautiful named Kote Gate, which serves as the entrance to the city of Bikaner. The city serves something to everybody and satisfies the need of every traveller.
From a temple that worships rats to a festival where camel performs all dressed up. So that you don’t miss any of this here’s a list of things to do in Bikaner. Pity, sure we will gain the best experiences from the city if you visit it during your Rajasthan holiday trip.
1. List Of Things To Do In Bikaner
Here’s the list of the things to do in Bikaner to make your Rajasthan break all the more fun, invigorating, and royal! Make sure you include them all in your Bikaner tour itinerary.
1.1. Junagarh Fort
It was built in 1593 by Raja Rai Singh. The architecture of the fort consists of temples and palaces. The galleries, lawns, and windows are beautiful that it catches the eyes of the visitors. Particularly, the Zenana quarters, which is the attraction point for the tourists as it displays exquisite designs of great creative skills.
There are these four mahals which have some major attractions that are Karan Mahal, Anup Mahal, Chandra Mahal and Phool Mahal. The architecture is a mixture of Mughal, Gujarati and Rajput styles. This place is a famous tourist attraction and is considered particularly one of the best places to visit in Bikaner
Location & Timings: Located at Junagarh Fort Road in Bikaner. It is open every day from 10 AM to 9 PM.
Entry Fee: The entry ticket is priced around 30 INR.
1.2. Karni Mata Temple
Karni Mata Temple is the most unique temple and is very extraordinary among the most famous place to visit in Bikaner. The temple is known for its enormous population of rats that are the lasting inhabitants here. The 15th century is devoted to Karni Mata who was the avatar of Goddess Durga. The folk tale has it that when Karni Mata’s child passed on, she asked for Yama to restore her child’s life, but, Yama did not. Thus and so, Karni Mata being an avatar of the Goddess bring back the life of her child and demonstrated that from now onwards her family won’t encounter death but be resurrected as rats.
Today, there are more than 15,000 rats that live on the temple premises and without a doubt pull in the consideration of many tourists. The temple of Karni Mata is made up of stones and marble, which attributes to silver gates, built by Maharaja Ganga Singh, and a hanging mesh which protects rats from birds.
Location & Timings: It is located around 30 km from Bikaner Junction. You can catch any public transport to reach there. It opens daily from 4 AM to 10 PM.
1.3. Gajner Palace
Gajner Palace is the most popular tourist attraction of Bikaner, which is situated on the bank of Gajner lake. The palace was built by the former ruler of the Bikaner province, Maharaja Ganga Singh Ji. The Palace was a hunting and holiday inn during old times. The King of Bikaner and royal family yielded their passion for hunting with the guests here in the palace.
It is made up of red sandstone and is an outstanding representation of craftsmanship. It has many beautiful sculpted pillars, jharokhas and screens which are the major draws of the palace.
The palace is situated in the middle of a thick forest. The visitors come here to stroll around and see the birds like Imperial Sand Goose, Antelopes, and Black Bucks along with Nilgais, Chinkaras, Blue Bull and Deer which can be sighted here.
Timing: Opens daily from 10 AM to 6 PM.
1.4. Lalgarh Palace
This spectacular palace was constructed by Maharaja Ganga Singh in the 20th century. The palace has now been changed into a hotel and is a splendid place to spend your vacation. The impressive Rajputana design blended with the classic interior décor draws tourists here.
The Lalgarh palace also includes a museum that is situated inside the Ganga Niwas. You can also witness the miniature paintings here that are linked to the Bikaner School of Art. There is a library too which has a large collection of Sanskrit Manuscripts printed on parchments, plaques of silver, copper and gold. The artefact belonging to Harappan culture and Kushan and Gupta Age are preserved here. This place is regarded especially as one of the best places to visit in Bikaner.
Location: Situated in Gajner Wildlife Sanctuary 2.5 km from Gajner train station.
1.5. Rampuria Haveli
The Rampuria Haveli has been constructed in the 15th century by Baljeet Challa who was ordered to construct royal and exquisite mansions that befit the rich merchant family, Rampuria. These Haveli stands beautifully, these are not just a visual delight of Bikaner but are a perfect example of the delicate saga city of aesthetics that our ancestors had blessed upon us.
These magnificent Havelis in Bikaner show us an era of our ancestors and while witnessing the exuberance of their beauty and nobility, you feel like you are going back to the few decades and living here aesthetically.
1.6. National Research Centre on Camel
This is a place in Bikaner which needs to be visited at least once. National Research Centre is also a breeding nursery for a camel. It has about 200+ camels of 3 distinct breeds. The on-site camel milk outlet offers to try camel milk and its different kinds of products.
The tour of this centre takes you through the entire facility and it also teaches you the techniques which are used at the facility. The tour of this centre lasts for about an hour or two. There you can also find a small museum and camel ride, making it a must-visit place for tourists.
Location & Timings: Situated about 8 km from Bikaner. Open for visitors between 2 PM to 5 PM.
Price: The price starts from 150 INR approximately.
1.7. Shri Laxminath Temple
Shri Laxminath Temple is one of the oldest temples of Bikaner which splendidly graces the sacred shrine of Lord Vishnu and Goddess Laxmi. Numerous people know this temple for its festivals and grand celebrations that take place here like Janmashtami, Nirjala Ekadashi Vrat, Ramnavami, and Diwali.
Additionally, the idols of this temple are decorated with exquisite and different artwork in silver. These lavish celebration in this temple makes it the best tourist attraction.
Location & Timings: Vaidya Mangaram Colony, Bikaner, Rajasthan. Opens every day from 5 AM – 1 PM and 5 PM – 11 PM.
1.8. Bikaner Camel Festival
Bikaner camel festival attracts plenty of people either locals or tourists to the alluring sands of the Thar Desert. It is the most awaited festival of Bikaner which is conducted by the Department of Tourism of Rajasthan and is a dedication to the kind desert animal, the camel.
It is also an annual festival which shows the rich glory of Rajasthan. You get to watch here the folk performances by the local artists. The festival starts with a parade of beautifully decorated camels. The pleasing beauty of the camels standing in an arrangement against the red backdrop of Junagarh fort is quite alluring.
Camel traders and craftsmen from around Rajasthan gather here and participate in these spectacular contests for the camels such as races, beauty pageants and others. The festivals also have many food stalls and handicraft shops.
1.9. Bhandasar Jain Temple
It is one of the famous Jain temples of Bikaner. This Bhandasar Jain Temple is particularly among the best places to visit which attracts many tourists from all over the world. It is embellished with yellow stone carvings and lively paintings. The interior of the temple looks very beautiful with the paintings on the walls and pillars. The walls of the temple carry floral designs and also the depictions of 24 Jain teachers.
The temple was constructed by the Bhandasar Oswal. This temple is devoted to the 5th Tirthankara, Sumatinatha. According to a fable, it is said that 40000 Kg of ghee has been used for the construction instead of water for the mortar. The temple is a three-storey temple and is famous for its beautiful leaf paintings and ornamental mirrorwork.
This temple has been gone under renovations and is under the protection of the Archaeological Survey of India.
Timings: Opens daily from 5 AM to 1 PM and 5 PM to 11 PM.
1.10. Gajner Wildlife Sanctuary
It is approximately 30kms from Bikaner. Gajner Wildlife Sanctuary is a perfect place for a wildlife experience. The sanctuary shelters different species of animals like Black Buck, Wild Boar, Nilgai and others.
It has a vast population of birds like Sandgrouse and Parrots. Earlier, this sanctuary was the hunting area for the Maharaja and his family but today it has been expanded as a wildlife reserve which preserves rich flora and fauna. Go for a safari ride within as it shares a great experience for wildlife enthusiasts. It also has bird lookouts where you can get to see many different kinds of migratory birds.
The sanctuary also shelters some of the other distinctive plants and animals. The Gajner Palace and Gajner Lake are located in the sanctuary. Jeep safari and Camel safari are some of the most exciting rides for which tourists come here.
1.11. Sadul Singh Museum
Sadul Singh Museum is one of the great historical sights of Bikaner. It was established in 1972. The museum shows Georgian paintings, hunting trophies and rare artefacts.
This museum is dedicated to some of the prominent kings of Bikaner named Maharaja Ganga Sing, Sadul Singh, and Karni Singh. It is situated in the Lalgarh palace which displays the histories, and achievements of these kings elaborately.
The pictures and collections of artefacts kept in the museum are disclosed very vividly before the eyes of visitors. The members of the royal family still live in a part of the palace.
Location & Timings: Located on the 1st Floor of Lalgarh Palace. Opens every day except on Sunday from 10 AM to 5 PM.
1.12. Shiv Bari Temple
The Shiv Bari Temple is made of red sandstone in the 19th century. This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple composes of a four-faced black marble statue of Shiva and Nandi made of bronze facing the Shiva Lingam. It also consists of fine paintings.
The temple also provides the unique features of Rajasthani architecture. It has different features like pavilions, domes and pillars.
Location & Timings: Located in the Jai Narayan Vyas Colony, Bikaner. It is open all day from 7 AM to 7 PM.
1.13. Prachina Museum
It is situated in the Junagarh Fort. This museum is the abode of royal costumes, accessories, portraits, contemporary arts and textiles of the former Rajasthani royals.
The museum was established by Siddhi Kumari, daughter of Maharaja Narendra Singh of Bikaner in the year 2000. It also displays the European wine glasses, cut glass decorative objects and crockery used in the majestic kitchen. One can see the royal Poshaks that the queens and princesses used to wear and can learn about the lost traditional designs and workmanship.
Location & Timings: It is located in the Junagarh Fort, Bikaner.
Entry fee: The fee is INR 10 for Indian nationals, INR 25 for foreigners, and INR 5 for students and children.
1.14. Desert Camping
Bikaner is the epitome of many adventurous activities since the city is located between the vast Thar Desert keeping its head high. The extreme climatic conditions make it a more captivating place.
Desert camping is a favourite activity done by travellers frequently. There are plenty of sightseeing options around the city. Camel safari and Cart safari are popular in this desert that lets you stroll through these golden sands.
There are a lot of camping options available here along with proper tents that have good quality amenities. You can also enjoy a jeep safari.
1.15. Camel Safari
Camel safari has a bunch of enthusiasts as this safari takes you through the dazzling golden dunes of the Thar Desert. This area has an extreme climate in both winter and summer. Bikaner is a city with many temples and buildings depicting the cultural transition of royal families who lived during the earlier period. Junagarh fort has the most tourist attractions.
When you visit Bikaner, take the camel safari. Touring the city on such safaris is just perfect as those kinds of animals take you to the different parts of the desert at a good pace. These safaris often take place during the sunrise in the sunset as sand is less hot during these times.
1.16. Taste The Local Cuisines
Exploring the authentic food of Rajasthan is the most important part of your vacation. Eating this local cuisine will keep you tasting it long after your journey is over since it always leaves you with a greater appetite for it.
Popular cuisines are Kachori, Gatte ki sabzi, Dal bati churma, Raj bhog, Ghevar and many more. The best places to eat are Chappan Bhog, Heeralal’s and others.
2. Best Time To Visit Bikaner
The city is very hot during the summertime and so it will be best to visit during the winters. So, the best time to visit Bikaner is probably October to March, when the weather cools down and is favourable to travel the place around comfortably.