Bikaner Darshan – A City surrounded by Desert

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Bikaner was founded by Rao Bikaji in 1486 AD, from where it gets name. Modern Bikaner is the result of the foresight of its most eminent ruler, Maharaja Ganga Singh (1887-1943), whose reformative zeal set the pace for Bikaner’s transformation from a principality to a premier princely city .Bikaner City is around 330 kms far from capital city Jaipur. Bikaner is the fifth largest city in the state of Rajasthan.  It is also known as the Camel City. Bikaner is situated in the north-west of Rajasthan and it can legitimately boast of some unique architectural marvels of India. This desert city is carved out from red sandstone. Bikaner is hugely popular as one of the most exquisite destinations in India.

Bikaner city, the desert state of Rajasthan has a rich cultural heritage and a lot of attractions. Few of these spots that are a must-visit sights of Bikaner are listed below. –

Junagarh Fort : 

The Junagarh Fort is one of the most looked after places to visit in Bikaner. The whole of Bikaner city is situated around this majestic fort that was built by a former ruler of Bikaner, Raja Rai Singh.The Bikaner fort resulted to be a marvelous example of architecture and great center of art. The main attractions inside this grand building are palaces( Dungar Mahal, Anup Mahal, Chandra Mahal and Mahan mahal).

Lalgarh Palace :

This marvelous palace was built by Maharaja Ganga Singh in remembrance of his father Lall Singh. The three-storey complex is coated in red sandstone quarried from the Thar Desert. Now, this property has been converted into an awe-inspiring heritage hotel known as the Luxmi Niwas Palace.

Gajner Palace :

Gajner Palace is a jewel in the Thar Desert, built by Maharaja Ganga Singh of Bikaner on the edge of a lake. It is constructed by using the red sandstone, which look stunning against the backdrop of a thick forest.The property was converted into a heritage hotel in 1976.

Karni Mata Temple:

Karni Mata Temple houses more than 20000 rats (black). They are considered holy and are called Kabbas. This is the only temple in the world, where rats are considered pious and worshiped. It is said that if u are lucky and blessed you will see a white rat too. This is a magical temple where people come from all around the world.

Bikaner City Special For

Apart from palaces and temples this city is also famous for so many other things. Some are:-

Camel Festival :

The International Camel Festival of Bikaner is one of the most sought after and talked about events in Rajasthan. It is held every year in the month of January. It is a two day fair, which is organized against the enthralling backdrop of the Junagarh fort.

Food :

Bikaner is famous for its food. Out of the numerous ones, Bikaneri Bhujia, Raj Kachori and Kesar Kulfi are delicious. Bikaneri bhujia and rasgullas are two food items that exported .

Bikaner has a great deal of things to do. Put Bikaner Camel safari definitely on the top of your list.

 

 

 

Camel Festival-Bikaner

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The life in the villages around Bikaner vibrates to the sound of music and shakes in a rich abundance of colours. Strong men with moustaches in colorful turbans, cheerful women in multitute and kids live life to the hilt in camel festival. After the harsh summer, there is dancing, singing and other community festivities which transform the hard working people of Thar desert into fun entertaining and carefree individuals.

Camel Fair, Bikaner is a sought after event in Rajasthan. Organized by the Department of Tourism, Art and Culture, Bikaner Camel Festival is a yearly event in January that Bikaner celebrates in honor of the ship of the desert, Camel.

Celebration Of Fair- 

The festival is organized every year in the month of January or late December to spotlight the value of ship of the desert – “Camel”. The two day festival is marked by different captivating activities.

The festivities starts off with a colorful parade of beautifully decorated camels against the backdrop of great Junagarh Fort. Relish the spectacular displays of camels dressed in vigorous bridles, traditional necklace and heavy anklets showing off wonderful footwork to the lovely tunes on desert sands. Also viewer the array of camel race events, camel games and other cultural performances. Hundreds and thousands of tourists and locals feast in this traditional festival. Feel absolute pleasure in the lovely atmosphere.

The festivity advances to the open sand-spreads of the Polo Grounds, followed by camel races, camel milking, fur cutting design, the best breed competition, camel acrobatics, camel bands and so on. A sight of unusual camel activities like camel races, camel dances, and the bumpy, neck shaking camel rides highly fascinates the viewers. The camels display amazing footwork, dancing gracefully to the slightest direction of their riders.Their displays and competitions accompany the color, music and rhythm unique to a fair in Rajasthan.

There is no better animal to traverse the desert than the noble camel. But getting on and riding a camel, especially if you’re a novice, is anything but noble. While you will, without a doubt, be uncomfortable at first, riding a camel is not a difficult skill to pick up.

More to Explore

The Rat Temple of Rajasthan-Karni Mata

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Bikaner may be known for its camel safaris and impressive fort in the state of Rajasthan, but it is its unique temple in the town of  Deshnok 30 km from Bikaner that attracted us to the area. The Karni Mata Temple just may be the most unique and freaky attraction we’ve ever been to.

The Karni Mata Temple just may be one of India’s strangest attractions.It houses thousands of rats,  yes rats and pilgrims make regular trips to Deshnok to worship these long tailed rodents. Karni Mata Mandir is easily accessible by regular buses from Bikaner and Jodhpur. To ensure a comfortable journey, one can also opt for taxis that can be availed from anywhere in Rajasthan. The temple is dedicated to Goddess Karni, who is regarded as the incarnation of Maa Durga.

In the main shrine, the image of the goddess is placed with holy things at her feet. Surrounded by rats, Karni Mata is holding a trishul (trident) in one of her hands. The image of Karni Mata is 75 cms tall, decked with a mukut (crown) and a garland of flowers. On her either side, images of her sisters are placed. Karni Mata Temple attracts numerous tourists and pilgrims throughout the year, due to its unique presiding beings.

The temple has around twenty thousand rats in residence, who are fed by members of the extended Depavats family – there are 513 Depavats families – and devotees to Karni Mata. Though most of the temple-devotees work at the temple in shifts based on the lunar cycle, some families live in the temple permanently, taking care of the rats and sweeping the floor of excrement and food crumbs.

The White Rat

Out of all of the thousands of rats in the temple, there are a few white rats, which are considered to be especially holy. They are believed to be the manifestations of Karni Mata herself and her four sons. Sighting them is a special blessing and visitors put in extensive efforts to bring them forth, offering prasad, a sweet holy food.It is regarded auspicious, if a rat (kaba) runs across one’s feet. Even, a glimpse of kaba (white rat) is considered promising and fruitful. Twice a year, a festival is celebrated in the honor of Karni Mata. A grand fair is organized during this time and people come here to seek the blessings of the Goddess.

More temples to visit

Glory Of Bikaner – Junagarh Fort

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Junagarh Fort

The erstwhile Princely state of Bikaner and its capital city Bikaner was founded by Rao Bika (1465-1504 AD.) by the blessings of Goddess Karni Mata in the year 1488 AD. In those days this vast tract of desert country was called “Jangaldesh”. Prince Bika of the Rathore clan of Rajputs was the valiant son of Rao Jodha- the founder of Jodhpur. Encouraged and provoked by his father, Prince Bika moved out of Marwar (Jodhpur) on an ambitious military adventure, with a small contingent of Rathore warriors (500 soldier and 100 cavalry men). He was supported by his brave uncle, Rawat Kandhal, who always stood by him as his guardian and politico-strategic advisor.

Gates Of Junagarh

The Junagarh fort Bikaner Rajasthan consists of seven gates. The gates are referred to as ‘Pol’. Karan pol, Suraj pol, daulat pol and chand pol are some of the names. The suraj pol is east facing and hence has the name as per sun light’s availability. Palaces are named as karan mahal, phool mahal, anup mahal and badal mahal. Every palace inside the fort has its specific requirement. The Junagarh fort also has a museum. The museum consists of lots of antique and unique articles and paintings.

Foundation of Junagarh Fort

The first dig ceremony for construction of the fort was held on Thursday, Phagun Vadi 19, V.S. 1645 i.e. 30th January, 1589 AD. The foundation was laid on Monday, Phugan Sudi 12 V.S. 1645 i.e. 17th February, 1589 A.D. and it was completed on Thursday Magh Sudi 6 V.S. 1650 i.e. 17th January 1594 AD. Later on this fort became the most magnificent example of architecture and great centre of art. The present fort is a composite structure, the result of intense building activities of many rulers through four centuries and one of the precious gems of Indian architecture in the midst of Thar Desert.

The structures built within the Junagarh fort are the palaces and temples, which are made of red Stone and marble. The palaces are described as picturesque with their assortment of courtyards, balconies, kiosks and windows. The fort, the temples and the palaces are preserved as museums and provide insight into the grandiose living style of the past Maharanas of Rajasthan.The fort is called “a paradox between medieval military architecture and beautiful interior decoration”.

 

About Junagarh