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Things To Do In Bikaner
Bikaner is home to the erstwhile Rajputana royalty. This culturally rich city still retains its regal charm with numerous breath taking palaces, forts and temples. Guaranteed to leave you enchanted with its grandeur, here are some of the best things to do in Bikaner, from visiting palaces like the Junagarh Fort and Lalgarh Palace to paying respects at the Karni Mata Temple; not to forget the awesome desert safaris atop camels.
This majestic fort was built in 1478 by Maharaj Rao Bika. The fort complex houses a number of palaces and temples. The mesmerising mirror and lacquer work, especially in the Zenana section are a visual treat. Karan Mahal, Phool Mahal and Anoop Mahal are among the other attractions in the fort. The fort also has a museum that displays the royal jewellery, costumes, paintings and some Rajput armament.
Gajner Palace and Wildlife Sanctuary
20 kms form Bikaner, close to the Gajner lake, the erstwhile royal residence of Maharaja Ganga Singh has now been converted into a heritage hotel. Situated in the middle of a forest, the red sandstone palace is surrounded by the Gajner Wildlife sanctuary which was earlier the hunting grounds of the royal family.
This palace is surely among the top places to visit in Bikaner for architecture enthusiasts. The palace commissioned by Maharaja Ganga Singh in the memory of his father Maharaja Lall Singh is an exquisite amalgamation of Rajput, Mughal and European architecture. It has now been restored and converted into a luxury hotel. It also houses the Sadul Museum displaying a collection of trophies and personal artifacts of the royal family.
Karni Mata Temple
Dedicated to Karni Mata, an incarnation of Maa Durga, this 15th century temple houses over 20,000 rats. Legend has it that Karni Mata asked Yama, the god of death to restore her dead son’s life. On his refusal, she herself restored his life and declared that henceforth her family will not die; instead they will be reincarnated as rats.
Sand Dunes Safari
A Sand Dune Safari is a must do in the city of Bikaner. You can choose between jeeps or camels for the safari. Most packages include a dinner and a folk program with a sunset view of the dunes. You may even choose to camp at the desert. Depending upon the duration of your trip, you could cover many destinations like Raisar, Balakaya, Kichan and Dhora.
Bikaner’s triple arched Kote Gate is the biggest of the five gates that lead you to the old city. On one side of the intricately carved gate you have the royal Rajputana havelis while the other side leads you into a colourful marketplace. Truly a shopper's paradise, one can purchase local handicrafts and camel hide goods here.
Dedicated to the fifth Tirthankar, Sumatinath, the three storeyed Jain temple is adorned with sandstone carvings and vibrant paintings. The interior of the temple depicts the lives of the 24 tirthankars. It’s said that 40,000 kgs of ghee was used in the mortar to make the temple and on hot days, one can still feel the ghee seeping out of the floor.