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Bikaner was a princely state in the pre-Independence India and was one of the largest states under the Rajputana Agency. It was founded in 1465 by Rao Bikaji, the descendant of Rao Jodhaji, who was the founder of Jodhpur. After Independence, the state of Bikaner which was being ruled by Maharaja Sadul Singh joined the Indian Union. The Bikaner region is located in present-day Rajasthan, and shows the influence of a long history of the royal rule in its monuments and historical architecture.
(Visit Bikaner to witness the royal heritage of the place by hiring a taxi in Jaipur).
Forts and Palaces
Home to the Rajputs of the Rathore dynasty, Bikaner is home to many forts and palaces that have turned into popular tourist attractions, such as the Junagarh Fort, built under Raja Rai Singh 1593 and presenting an amiable blend of the Gujarati, Mughal and Rajput style of architecture. Crocodiles were believed to have been bred in the water moat that surrounds this fort. Anup Mahal, Ganga Mahal, Hawa Mahal are some of the many attractions inside the fort that mesmerize tourists.
Maharaja Ganga Singh had the Lalgarh Palace built in 1902, dedicated to Maharaja Lal Singh Ji, his father. The palace is built with red sandstone, standing as a beautiful example of the blend of Mughal, Rajput and European architectural styles. The palace lawn also provides tourists with the chance to view glorious peacocks. Since the palace has been converted to a luxury hotel, only the museum is accessible for public visits.
Museums and Temples
The legacy of Rajput rule in Bikaner is also seen in its rich museums. The Ganga Singh Museum and the Sadul Singh Museum are two especially popular examples. The Ganga Singh Museum was founded in 1937 by Maharaja Ganga Singh and holds relics from the Harappan civilization as well as the time before that. The museum also houses collections of paintings, Rajput weapons, pottery, etc.
The Sadul Singh Museum is located within the Lalgarh Palace and portrays the lives and the passions of the three kings of Bikaner – Maharaja Ganga Singh, Maharaja Sadul Singh, and Maharaja Karni Singh are displayed in the form of portraits here.
Bikaner is also home to temples that have been around for centuries. Shri Laxminath and the Jain Temple bear testimony to the rule of the Rajputs. Shri Laxminath is easily one of the oldest temples in the region, established under Maharaja Lunkaran Bikaner in 1526. The temple is aesthetically built, with white marbles and red sandstone, along with sculptures and paintings. The main deities of the city of Bikaner, Goddess Laxmi and Lord Vishnu are the main deities here.
The Jain Temple is also one of the oldest temples in the region and was completed in 1514. Its intricate and inspiring architecture includes pillars, frescos, and gold leaf work, constructed in Rajput style with white marble and red sandstones.
Bikaner’s present architecture holds a mirror to the time it was ruled by the royals, which can be easily discerned on a visit to the city. Hire a Bikaner taxi and witness the architectural brilliance of the erstwhile princely state!