Bikaner is a city that lies in the northwest of the state of Rajasthan. Founded by Rao Bika in the year 1488 CE, Bikaner is one of the largest cities in the state. Known for its cuisine, culture, history and International Camel Festival held here every year. The city celebrates its foundation day on Akshaya Tritiya which is one of the auspicious festivals in India. The celebration lasts for 2 days and you can notice many kites being flown by residents and it starts as early in the morning.
Bikaner was founded by Rao Bika in the year 1488 CE. Rao Bika was the first son of Maharaja Rao Jodha who was the founder of Jodhpur. Before its foundation, Bikaner was a barren land called Jangladesh. Rao Bika did not want to inherit the land from his father and searched a place that he can start his kingdom, later on, his search expedition, he founded Bikaner. This is one of the important routes between Central Asia and the coast of Gujarat. Rao Bika built a fort on the premises of the city; the fort is now in ruins and around 1.5 km away from the city a new palace was built which is now known as Junagarh Fort.
The city flourished from then onwards and under Raja Rai Singhji it developed quickly. Raja Rai Singhji accepted Suzerainty from the Mughals and held high ranks in the Kingdom of Mughals under King Akbar and King Jahangir. And when the king won the battle against the Mewar Kingdom, The Mughals provided lands as a gift which the then raja built forts and other monuments. Raja Rai Singhji was one of an expert in art and architecture which he had learned on his several visits abroad. Later the city was under the rule of Maharaja Karan Singh, and later Anup Singh Ji who built new palaces, forts, etc. He refurbished Karan Mahal built by Maharaja Karn Singh and called it Anup Mahal. Later Maharaja Gal Singh ruled the kingdom and he took up projects to refurbish Chandra Mahal.
Following Maharaja Gal Singh Ji, the city came under the influence of British and perhaps one of the most revered names is General Maharaja Ganga Singh who was favorite among British Viceroys of India. Representing India in various conferences Maharaja Ganga Singh built Ganga Mahal and Ganga Niwas Palace which was named Lalgarh palace in memory of his father. Still the members of the Royal Family reside in Lalgarh palace which is now converted into a heritage hotel.
The city of Bikaner can be visited all year round however it is advised to skip summer months as the temperature will turn out to be quite high due to its placement in the middle of Thar Desert. The city offers various places of interest which you can visit on your trip to Rajasthan. There is Junagarh Fort which is famous and most visited fort here, Laxmi Niwas Palace which is now a luxury heritage hotel, ruined fort of Rao Bikaji who was the founder of the city, Karni Mata Temple famous for its worship of rats and Bhandasar Jain temple. There is a wildlife sanctuary located 32km outside of Bikaner city and this city is one of stop for migratory birds from Spain and Turkey.
Bikaner is known for its delectable savory snack called Bikaneri Bhujia which has a GI tag. Known for its specialty in Rajasthani sweets, you might find many sweet shops selling traditional Rajasthani sweets and Samosa/Kachori which is popular here.
Bikaner is easily accessible for Road, Railways, and Airways. Bikaner Railway station a major railway station for North-western Railway Station for Indian Railways was established in the year 1891; the rail network is connected to New Delhi, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Howrah, Mumbai, Agra and many other important cities in North India.
The well-developed road network is connected from Delhi, Jaipur, Agra, Jodhpur, etc where you can travel on the road to the beautiful city of Bikaner. Bikaner has a civil airport called Nal Airport which caters to domestic flights and has regular flights from Delhi and Jaipur airports.
On your visit to Bikaner, you should not miss the International Camel Festival which is held every year in the month of January and is organized by the Department of Tourism, Arts and Culture. You can notice beautifully decored camels along with various Indian and International Acts from various artists.