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Bikaner Tourism And Travel Guide
21.3° C / 70.4° F
November to February
2 to 3 Days
Nal Airport (15 kms)
Bikaner Railway Station (1.5 kms)
The desert city of Bikaner is among the top historic places in Rajasthan. From its establishment in the 15th century, a line of capable rulers converted these arid wastelands into one of the most prosperous cities in the region. With their association to the Mughals and then the British Raj, they were able to develop Bikaner both economically and artistically. The city is home to some of the most beautiful monuments and temples. Since it is partly encompassed by the Thar Desert, it shares cultural aspects of the other desert cities of Rajasthan as well, including their major festivals and food. Hence tourism in Bikaner will make you feel one with the sands of the desert. This is a tourist guide to Bikaner, especially designed to help you create a holiday best suited to your needs.
How To Reach
Reaching Bikaner today is as easy as it gets. With an airport of its own and a set of picturesque roads and railway lines you can reach Bikaner by whatever means you please. The easiest way to reach would be to take a flight connecting to The Nal Airport. The cheapest way to travel is by rail to The Bikaner Railway Station.
The Nal Airport is located about 15 km away from the main town and is connected by regular flight services from Delhi and Jaipur. An alternate option is to catch a flight to Jaipur International Airport and take the road to Bikaner. There are plenty of cabs and buses leaving for Bikaner from Jaipur.
This is one of the best ways to reach Bikaner if you are in the country. The Bikaner Railway Station is connected to almost all major cities in India by regular trains. The changing landscapes as you travel towards Bikaner are an added advantage of taking the train.
Bikaner lies at a distance of about 500 km from the national capital, Delhi. The national highways connecting Bikaner to other major cities consist of some of the most scenic roads in the country. The two options are to either hire a cab to Bikaner from Delhi or to take the various bus services available from here. The buses range in comfort and price and if you book early enough, you will find plenty of options open to you.
Within Bikaner, traveling by cab would be the most comfortable way of getting around. There are also the three wheeled auto rickshaws doing the rounds if you are looking for a cheaper option.
Weather and Best Time to Visit
Bikaner experiences hot and arid day time conditions throughout the year with the temperatures dropping a little during the winters. There is also some rain during the monsoon season but not enough to drastically affect the climate. It is easy to conclude then, that the best time to visit Bikaner would be during the winter months.
Summer (March to June):
The season is characterised by hot winds and is a very uncomfortable time to be here. However, there is an upside to all this. Since tourism is at a low during these months the rates of accommodation and holiday activities come down. The evenings are bearable so this would be a good time for sight-seeing and other tourist activities. The temperature can go as high as 45°C and averages at 30°C.
Monsoon (July to September):
These months are mostly hot and humid. Much like the summer, these months are also not popular among tourists. The occasional rain does cool the temperature by a bit while it rains. The temperature averages at 30°C.
Winter (October to February):
This is the most popular season among tourists. The day time temperature comes down to an average of 22°C and the nights can be very cold. It is the best time for sight-seeing and camel safari. The camel festival is also held during the winter, making these months even more appealing.
Things To Do
Bikaner can be described as a city of historic importance and this colours the tourist activities as well. Yet, you cannot fully describe the burst of experience that Bikaner is, as there are quite a few exciting and surprising activities awaiting you.
One of the first places that pop on any list is the Junagarh Fort. Built during the reign of Raja Rai Singh, the fort is a fine example of the prevailing art and architecture of the time. The complex comprises of many palaces later added by successors, temples, gardens and many more structures. The royal family moved out to a new palace, known as the Lalgarh Palace during the early 20th century. This is also an interesting place to visit for architecture lovers. Many of the old buildings in the city have survived the test of time and can still be seen today. These include the fascinating Havelis, most of which can be found at the Old City. Bikaner is also home to some of the most fascinating temples, be it the elaborately designed and gorgeous red sand stone Bhandasar Jain Temple or the oddly spiritual rat paradise that is the Karni Matha Temple.
Understanding the History:
What better way to understand the history and the culture of a place than to visit carefully maintained museums? Luckily, there are quite a few in Bikaner. Some parts of the Junagarh Fort that are permitted, have taken on a museum like quality with details pertaining to the time and throwing light on the art and culture of the era. The Ganga Museum actually has history that dates even further back to the prehistoric era. Some fascinating artefacts like terracotta, sculptures and coins can be seen on display. Another fascinating museum is the Prachina Museum exhibiting items that were in use in the palace for the past couple of centuries. It is interesting to see how items from all around the world had ended up in the palaces of Bikaner.
Attending the Camel Festival:
There are numerous Hindu and Jain festivals celebrated here and they make for a great time to be in Bikaner, but almost nothing compares to the unique camel festival. During winter, the Rajasthani tourism department organizes a two day camel fair. Though not a traditional festival in itself, it is a coming together of many traditional sports and shows put together to encourage tourism. The events include camel safari, various camel shows including camel racing and a beauty pageant! If you happen to miss the Camel Festival there is always the relief that you can take a Camel Safari, which is a year round opportunity. The safari takes you through the dunes of the Thar Desert and makes for a perfect out-of-the-world experience.
Bikaner’s food resembles the diet found across Rajasthan so this is a great place to catch some traditional Rajasthani Food. But there are a few specials that are so typical of Bikaner that sometimes they are almost synonymous. The Bikaner Bhujia, a popular snack and the Bikaner rasgulla, a soft round sweet, are two such examples. The street food here is also heavenly. Mainly consisting of savoury chaats, samosas and kachoris accompanied by spicy chutneys, they are to die for. Some of the best street food can be found at Station Road, the road beside Karni Matha Temple and Bhujia Street. There are a number of restaurants, some of which are on the higher end like the Laxmi Nivas Palace, that serve Rajasthani meals and other traditional fare.
Most of the tourist sites are lined with shops selling souvenirs, textile, handcrafts and jewellery. The road by the Junagarh fort, the road to Lalgarh Palace, and roads adjacent to other tourist attractions are lined with such shops. The main shopping street though is the one by Kote Gate. This part of town is almost completely drowned with shops and restaurants. Anything you may want can be found here and sometimes at cheaper prices too. The Bara Bazaar is known for its dry fruits and nuts and would be a good place to visit since the dry fruits are a speciality here.