Bikaner is a sheer example of the rich cultural heritage of Rajasthan. The colourful city is an interesting tourist destination of the state. Bikaner is located about 330 kilometers northwest of Jaipur. The fourth largest city of Rajasthan was founded by Rao Bikaji, from which it derives its name. Due to its popularity for being the largest breeder of camels in Asia and the producer of world’s fastest riding camels, Bikaner is most often referred as Camel City of Rajasthan. The golden desert of this princely state is the main attraction of the tourists.
Bikaner is an unblemished jewel of Rajasthani culture and the opulence can be seen in its palaces and forts which still dignifies the glory of the state. The prime attraction of this city is the Junagarh fort which was built under the administration of Karan Chand, who was the prime minister of Rai Singh. It is one of the few forts of Rajasthan which is not built on a hilltop, rather on ground surface. The city area is developed around this fort only. The fort complex is built using redstone and marble, housing several palaces Anup Mahal, Rang Mahal, Hawa Mahal, Badal Mahal, Diwan-E-Khas, Chandra Mahal, Ganga Mahal, Phool Mahal, and Dungar Mahal. The fort is a blend of medieval military styled architecture and beautiful interior decorating.
Two major landmarks of the city are Laxmi Niwas Palace and Lalgarh Palace. The architecture of both these buildings cum hotels was planned by British architect Samuel Swinton Jacob in Indo-Sarascenic style. Beautifully carved with redstone, these two palaces are most popular among tourists. Lalgarh Palace is an extension of the Laxmi Niwas Palace. The palace is also home to world’s fourth largest library located in the west wing of Shri Sadul Museum. One portion of the palace is still occupied by Bikaner royal family.
Gajner Palace is another spectacular site to visit. It was built by Maharaja Gaj Singh and then completed by Maharaja Ganga Singh. Built on the banks of a beautiful lake, initially, the motive of constructing this palace was for hunting and relaxation, but now it has been converted into a hotel. In the same vicinity, Gajner wildlife sanctuary is worth visiting. The lush green forest is home to chinkara, nilgai, wild boar, black buck, wild fox and several species of migratory birds that makes this forest their home for winter.
The journey of exploring the camel city would be incomplete without mentioning about the Camel Research Farm. It is not only one of its kind institutes in India but also a complex of enclosures, stables and several other buildings. One can also enjoy camel ride and ice cream made of camel milk. Other places to visit in Bikaner are Devi Kund, Rampuria Haveli, Ganga Golden Jubilee Museum, Kolayat and Katarisar Village. From Dunes Camel Safari, historical palaces to famous temples and wildlife sanctuary, tour in Bikaner is an unforgettable experience.