Bikaner in Rajasthan
Bikaner, beacon of rich rajasthani culture and heritage, amidst harsh desert surroundings was founded in 1488 by Rathore Prince, Bika, the liveliest and most enterprising eldest son of Rao Jodha of Marwar.
The city is surrounded by a 7 kms long embattled wall with five gateways , studded with magnificent palaces , forts, lofty havelis noted for their architectural grandeur and sand dunes. Waters of Saraswati river once flowed through this area. Intense investigations are on for the buried channel of Saraswati river in this desert area of Bikaner too.
Main Attractions in Bikaner::
1.) Deshnok or Rats’ Temple or Karni Mata Temple:
This temple is at Deshnok . There are thousands of” holy rats” in the temple. Devotees try to get a glimpse of white rat, which is considered auspicious. Everyday, the temple management prepares food in huge containers and serves milk to these holy rats. The sight of rats roaming freely in large numbers is awe – inspiring. Here , they call rats as kaba. Fair is celebrated twice (April/May and Oct/Nov) a year in honour of Karni Mata, an incarnation of Goddess Durga. Karni Mata is the tutelary diety of the Bikaner dynasty. She prophesied the foundation of the kingdom of Bikaner and blessed Rao Bika.
2.) Camel Research Farm:
Bikaner has a unique camel research farm and is one of its kind in entire Asia. One can enjoy camel ride or taste camel milk and watch the camel calves gambolling around. Photography is prohibited here. Open for visitors in the afternoon hours. In January, camels, the stalwarts, perform graceful parades and stunning feats to the sound of melodious music created by the folk performers. Various camel contests are held during this time.
3.) Bikaner Fort and the Palace::
Fort was built by Raja Raj Singh in the year 1588, the chief attractions in the city. The artful niches, mirrors carved marble panels etc if Chandra Mahal, the mirror work and paintings in phool Mahal , the glass work in Sheesh Mahal and Raas Leela painted on a coarse cloth in the ceiling of chhater mahal are all applaudable.
Besides these, the Bikaner museum is worth a visit for keen persons , wherein one finds statues of the Gupta era, the silken attire of Raja Raj Singh, rare collections of paintings of Rajput school and other collections.
Bhandeshwar Jain Temple
Ganga Government Museum
Devi kund – crematorium of the royal family . Rajput paintings adorn the ceilings of the cenotaph.
Rajasthan state Archives : has a rich collection of administrative records of invaders of the Mughal period and many others. A record gallery has been established for tourists.