Things to Do in Bikaner - A Foolproof Guide by a Bikaneri
The best time to visit the city is here!
Nestled in the heart of Rajasthan, Bikaner is a city that whispers tales of valor, tradition, and regal and old-world charm. With its magnificent palaces, impressive forts, and vibrant culture, there are so many Things to Do in Bikaner. In this comprehensive guide, we will take you on a journey through the Things to Do in Bikaner aka hidden treasures and activities that make Bikaner an unforgettable experience. Also, with the winter season approaching, it would be the best time to explore this city. In case you are interested, here's a brief history of the city. If you want to come to it later, continue scrolling.
Things to do in Bikaner - Places to Visit
Junagarh Palace: The first thing to do in Bikaner? Visit the splendid Junagarh Fort. This architectural masterpiece was constructed in the 16th century and is a treasure trove of history and grandeur. Originally called Chintamani, the fort was renamed Junagarh or "Old Fort" in the early 20th century as the ruling family moved to Lalgarh Palace outside the fort limits.
Lalgarh Palace: Lalgarh Palace is a palace and heritage hotel in Bikaner. It was built for Sir Ganga Singh, Maharaja of Bikaner, between 1902 and 1926, when the ruling family shifted homes. One of the palace's striking features is its intricate latticework, filigree work, and ornate balconies that showcase the craftsmanship of the artisans of that era. The palace is constructed using red sandstone, giving it a unique and resplendent appearance. The famous Laxmi Niwas Palace is also part of Lalgarh Palace. While visiting Bikaner, the Lalgarh Palace is a must-see attraction, allowing you to step back in time and immerse yourself in the rich history and architectural beauty of Rajasthan. It's a perfect blend of the old-world charm and modern-day comfort.
Karni Mata Temple: Karni Mata Temple, or the "Temple of Rats," is a place of mystique and devotion. The temple is located in a town called Deshnoke, located just 30 km south of Bikaner. The temple is dedicated to Karni Mata, a revered female sage and the official deity of the royal families of Bikaner and Jodhpur. The legend goes that when the child of a storyteller, Laxman, drowned, Karni Mata tried to bring him back to life. Although she wasn't successful in resurrecting the child, she did manage to reincarnate him and all the storytellers as rats. This is why rats are worshipped in the temple as they are believed to be the descendants of these storytellers. Visitors to the Karni Mata Temple can witness these rats scurrying around, eating and drinking from large bowls of milk and food that are left out for them. Pilgrims and tourists flock to the temple to seek the blessings of Karni Mata and offer their respects to these sacred rodents. The temple's unique and somewhat unusual nature has made it a popular attraction for those seeking an offbeat spiritual experience in Rajasthan. A visit to this unique temple provides an insight into the fascinating cultural tapestry of Bikaner. The numerous mice are known as kābā. The temple has drawn visitors across the Globe to seek blessings.
Bhanda Sagar Jain Temple: For a spiritual experience, Bhanda Sagar Jain Temple (aka Bhandasar or Bhanda Shah Temple) beckons with its intricate carvings and resplendent frescoes. This architectural wonder offers a moment of serenity amidst the vibrant city. The temple is dedicated to Sumatinatha, the 5th Tirthankara. As per legends, 40,000 kg of ghee was used in the construction of this temple instead of water in a mortar. The three-storey Temple is also known for its intricate leaf paintings and ornamental mirror work.
Kolayat: The heart of Kolayat is the Kolayat Lake, also known as Kapil Sarovar, a sacred body of water that draws pilgrims and tourists alike. The village holds historical and religious importance, making it a serene escape from the bustling city of Bikaner. Kolayat is renowned for the Kolayat Fair, a significant annual event held during the month of Kartik (usually in October or November). The fair is a vibrant celebration of culture, spirituality, and tradition. Pilgrims visit the lake to take a holy dip and pay their respects at various temples surrounding the lake. The fair is a bustling hub of activities, including traditional folk performances, music, and local cuisine. Apart from the religious significance, Kolayat is a serene place to unwind and enjoy the peaceful ambiance of the lake. The stunning architectural marvel, the Paplaj Mata Temple, located on the lake's banks, adds to the village's charm.
Rampuria Haveli: Rampuria Haveli is celebrated for its intricate architecture, which combines the opulent Rajput style with elements of Mughal and European design. The haveli features exquisitely carved jharokhas (overhanging enclosed balconies), elegant facades, and ornate latticework that are a treat for the eyes. The Haveli was constructed by the Rampuria family, a prominent group of wealthy merchants in Bikaner. Their prosperity was largely tied to trading activities, and the haveli stands as a testament to their affluence and artistic taste. Rampuria Haveli is not a single haveli but a complex of havelis. It comprises several interconnected havelis, each showcasing its unique architectural features and aesthetics. This intricate layout adds to the charm and grandeur of the place.
Image source: Unsplash
Things to do in Bikaner - Places to Stay
Laxmi Niwas Palace: To immerse yourself in the regal past of Bikaner, book a stay at the Laxmi Niwas Palace. This architectural marvel, now a luxury hotel, offers an authentic glimpse into the opulent lifestyle of Bikaner's erstwhile Maharajas.
Narendra Bhawan Bikaner: Narendra Bhawan is a boutique design hotel located in the grand residence of the last reigning king of Bikaner - late Maharaja Narendra Singh. Influenced by the Bombay Art Deco Movement in the 1960s, a more modern interior design was chosen with lots of traditional Rajasthani architecture. This luxurious establishment is not just a hotel; it's a living tribute to the life and times of the late Maharaja Narendra Singh Ji, who reigned from 1918 to 1950. Guests at Narendra Bhawan can enjoy a luxurious stay in rooms that exude opulence. The hospitality and service at the hotel are impeccable, ensuring a memorable experience. The hotel offers a diverse range of dining experiences. You can savor traditional Rajasthani cuisine at "Palladio," enjoy high tea at the "Verandah," or dine in a royal setting at the "Gaushala."
Gajner Palace: Gajner Palace, a magnificent heritage hotel located near Bikaner in the Indian state of Rajasthan, has a rich and fascinating history that dates back to the late 19th century. The palace was built by Maharaja Ganga Singh of Bikaner. Gajner Palace served as a royal hunting lodge and a retreat for the Maharajas of Bikaner. They would visit the palace during their hunting expeditions in the Thar Desert. The lush Gajner Wildlife Sanctuary surrounding the palace was used for hunting expeditions. In the post-independence era, Gajner Palace was converted into a heritage hotel. It offers guests the opportunity to experience the grandeur of Rajasthan's royal past. The palace has been tastefully restored while preserving its historical charm.
Bhairon Vilas: A beautiful haveli turned into a hotel, Bhairon Vilas offers an authentic Rajasthani experience. The heritage property is known for its warm hospitality and traditional charm.
Vesta Bikaner Palace: A contemporary hotel with modern amenities, Vesta Bikaner Palace offers a comfortable stay in Bikaner. It's a good choice for travelers seeking modern comforts.
Hotel Raj Vilas Palace: Located in proximity to the Junagarh Fort, this hotel provides easy access to Bikaner's key attractions. It offers comfortable rooms and a decent range of facilities.
More Things to do in Bikaner - Food and Activities
While Bikaner has also Domino's Pizza and many fast food joints and cute cafes like Indira Cafe (located near Ravindra Rangmanch), you can't leave the city without trying these traditional dishes.
Bikaneri Bhujia: This iconic spicy snack is perhaps the most famous culinary export from Bikaner. Made from moth beans and besan (gram flour), Bikaneri Bhujia is a crispy and spicy delight that's perfect for snacking. Bikaner is famous this spicy snack.
Dal Baati Churma: This traditional Rajasthani dish is a must-try. It consists of baked round bread (baati) served with a spicy lentil curry (dal) and coarsely ground wheat, sugar, and ghee mixture (churma). It's a hearty and flavorful combination.
Gatte Ki Sabzi: Gatte are gram flour dumplings that are cooked in a spicy yogurt-based gravy. This dish is a tantalizing blend of textures and flavors.
Laal Maas: Laal Maas is a fiery mutton curry made with succulent pieces of meat in a rich red chili-based gravy. It's a dish for those who love spicy food.
Ker Sangri: Ker and sangri are wild beans and berries native to the Thar Desert. They are cooked together with spices to create a unique and delectable side dish often served with roti or rice.
Pyaaz Kachori: Bikaner's version of the kachori is famous throughout Rajasthan. These deep-fried pastries are filled with a spiced onion mixture and are a beloved snack.
Rabri: Rabri is a popular Rajasthani dessert made by reducing sweetened milk and flavored with cardamom and saffron. It's often served chilled and garnished with dry fruits.
Mawa Kachori: A sweet treat, mawa kachori is a deep-fried pastry filled with a rich mixture of mawa (khoya), nuts, and sugar. It's then dipped in sugar syrup for an extra touch of sweetness.
Malpua: Malpua is a sweet pancake made from flour, milk, and flavored with cardamom. It's usually deep-fried and dipped in sugar syrup, making it a delightful dessert.
Churma: Churma is a sweet dish made from coarsely ground wheat, sugar, and ghee. It's a traditional accompaniment to dal baati and is often shaped into laddoos for serving.
One more thing to do in Bikaner - Camel Safari
A trip to Bikaner is incomplete without embarking on a camel safari through the mystical Thar Desert. As you ride these regal creatures across the vast golden sands, you'll be immersed in a serene landscape that exudes tranquility and wonder.
History of Bikaner
Bikaner was founded in 1486 by Rao Bika, a courageous Rathore prince and son of Rao Jodha, the founder of Jodhpur. Located in the heart of the Thar Desert, today the city has become a hub of vibrant culture and history. As you explore all the Things to do in Bikaner, you can feel the enduring legacy of its visionary founder. Rao Bika's decision to establish the city was motivated by both strategic and economic factors. The prime location along crucial trade routes and eventual connection to the Indira Gandhi Canal provided a lifeline to the arid region.
Bikaner is a city where the sands of time reveal stories of valor, spirituality, and culture. Whether you're exploring the majestic Junagarh Fort, embarking on a camel safari, or savoring the local delicacies, Bikaner promises a journey filled with enchantment. We hope you now have a long list of Things to in Bikaner and make your journey a memorable one while taking home lots of Bhujias and Papads.
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