Junagarh Fort is counted among the most popular tourist attractions of Bikaner. This inaccessible fort was constructed by Raja Rai Singh in the year 1593. The fortress is surrounded by a moat and houses several beautiful palaces like Anup Mahal, Ganga Niwas, Rang Mahal, Chandra Mahal, Phool Mahal, Karan Mahal and Sheesh Mahal.
Anup Mahal is famous for the mesmerising gold leaf paintings. Chandra Mahal is adorned with exquisite paintings, which are made on the lime plaster walls. Tourists can see attractive inset mirror work in Phool Mahal. Karan Mahal was constructed to commemorate the victory of the kings of Bikaner over the Mughal king, Aurangzeb. These palaces have been constructed using red sandstones, which are also known as Dulmera.
The fort has 986 longwalls, 37 bastions and two entrances. Tourists can enter by the main gateway, the Karan Pol, to the fort. There is a majestic chapel, Har Mandir, located inside the fort. It was used for the worship of gods and goddesses by the royal families of Bikaner. Durbar Hall, Gaj Mandir, and Suraj Pol are the other famous attractions of the fort.
Lallgarh Palace was constructed in 1902 by King Ganga Singh using red stones. This beautiful palace was built in memory of his father, King Lal Singh. The architect behind this palace was Sir Swinton Jacob, who designed the building’s framework by excellently collaborating Rajput, Mughal and European styles of architecture on one platform. The splendid lattice and filigree work in sandstone is the prime attraction of the palace.
The overhanging balconies of this palace attract tourists in large numbers. Dancing peacocks and swinging bougainvillea enhance the beauty of the garden of the palace. The city of Bikaner is only 3 km away from this palace. Tourists can avail public transportation from the city to reach the palace, which remains open from 10 am to 5 pm.
Kote Gate is an ideal place for ardent shoppers. The place offers an opportunity to buy creative Rajasthani art forms and handicrafts at quite reasonable prices. Tourists can also lay their hands on buffed camel hide articles, miniature paintings, Khadi articles and wood carvings here. Besides, they can also treat their taste buds by feasting on delicious bhujias and rosogollas available here.
Laxmi Nath Temple, located in Bikaner, is counted among the oldest historical monuments of the city. Rao Bikaji laid the foundation of Bikaner here in this shrine, in the year 1488. Owing to this, it holds a unique position among all other tourist attractions. This temple was built during the reign of Rao Lunkaran. It is dedicated to the Hindu deity Vishnu and his consort Laxmi. The temple looks resplendent with exceptional architectural style which enthrals a large number of tourists.
Bhandasar Jain Temple is one of the most beautiful shrines, located at a distance of 5 km from Bikaner. It is a 15th century temple dedicated to Sumatinath, the 5th Tirthankara in Jainism. Tourists can see mesmerising mirror work, frescoes and gold leaf paintings on the walls of the temple. According to a belief, pure ghee and coconuts were used in the foundation of the temple.
The temple is famous for its carvings, wall paintings, structural beauty and elegantly designed idols. The red sandstones and white marbles have been beautifully carved. Tourists can also enjoy a panoramic view of the Bikaner city from the highest floor of the shrine.
Ganga Golden Jubilee Museum is located near the Lallgarh Palace in Bikaner. This museum was established in the year 1937 and is presently run by the Rajasthan government. It proudly displays a rich collection of terracotta ware, weaponry, paintings, sculptures and coins. Here, the tourists can also see great artworks dating back to the ancient Harappan Civilisation, as well as Gupta and Kushan era.
This museum is divided into various sections, namely Maharaja Ganga Singh Memorial, Local Arts and Crafts, History, Sculpture, Terracotta and Bronzes, Armoury, Miniature Paintings and Folk-Arts.
Gajner Palace is a famous tourist spot situated on the banks of a lake inside a forest in Gajner near Bikaner. This palace was built by King Ganga Singh using red sandstones. During the ancient times, this palace served as a hunting and retreating lodge for the kings of Bikaner. The pillars, jharokhas and screens of the palace have been intricately carved and are the major attractions of the monument.
Outside the palace, tourists can see migratory birds like imperial sandgoose. Apart from birds, antelopes, blackbucks, nilgais, chinkaras, blue bulls and deer can also be spotted here.
The Royal Cenotaphs are prime tourist attractions, located at a distance of 8 km from Bikaner. These red sandstone cenotaphs were built in memory of the members of the Bikaner dynasty. The carving patterns on these resemble those on the Fatehpur Sikri. The cenotaph of King Suraj Singh is most attractive of all. It was constructed of white marble while Rajput paintings were used to decorate the ceiling.
Camel Breeding Farm is located at a distance of 8 km from the city centre of Bikaner. It is known as Government Camel Breeding Farm and is, supposedly, one of the biggest camel reproduction farms in Asia. This farm was founded by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research in the year 1984.
The centre is dedicated to breeding and training of camels, over an area of 2000 acres of land. Exclusive research studies and experiments on camels are also carried out by the members of this organisation.
Sadul Singh Museum is a famous tourist attraction, which is located on the 1st floor of the Lallgarh Palace. It is also known as Shri Sadul Museum and exhibits a number of old photographs, hunting trophies, Georgian paintings and artefacts. Basically, this is an art museum dedicated to the successful kings of Bikaner including the kings Ganga Singh, Sadul Singh and Karni Singh.
Separate sections in the museum are dedicated to the display of the heroic deeds and biographies of different renowned kings of Bikaner. A separate unit is dedicated here to the life and heroic deeds of the kings. The museum remains open for visitors from Monday to Saturday (10 am to 5 pm).
Shiv Bari Temple was constructed by Dungar Singh during the 19th century. The shrine is surrounded by an embattled wall which guards the temple against enemy attacks. The temple has a four-faced black marble statue of the Hindu deity Shiva and a bronze statue of the Nandi bull facing the Shivaling. Here, the tourists can also see two large water reservoirs, popularly known as baoris. This shrine is located 6 km away from Bikaner and is famous for its miniature wall paintings. This red sandstone temple attracts a large number of devotees from all over the country.
Ratan Behari Temple is a magnificent religious centre, which has been made out of white marble. It displays the Indo-Mughal architectural style of construction.
The temple is dedicated to the Hindu deity Krishna and is located close to the Junagarh Fort. The shrine was built in 1846, by the 18th king of Bikaner state.
Kolayat Temple is one of the prominent shrines located at a distance of 51 km from Bikaner at Kolayat. Kolayat is the place where the Vedic sage, Kapil is believed to have shed his body under a Peepal tree. The marble temples located here are adorned with beautiful pavilions made of sandstones. In addition to the temples, the place has 32 ghats which have been constructed around a giant artificial lake. Devotees regard it holy to take a dip in its water.
A grand annual fair is held here on the full moon day of the Indian month of Kartik. Cattle fair is the main attraction of the people visiting the fair. The town of Kolayat is connected to Bikaner by road and rail.
Gajner Sanctuary is a popular tourist site for wildlife enthusiasts visiting Bikaner. Chinkaras, blackbucks, nilgais, desert foxes and wild boars can be seen here in large numbers. Birds, like imperial sandgrouse and waterfowl, flock the sanctuary in large numbers. Earlier, this reserve forest used to serve as a royal hunting place for the kings of Bikaner.
Kalibangan in Bikaner is a place of immense historical importance. The ruins at this site provide a glimpse into the prehistoric era. Thanks to the efforts of archaeologists, one can see the remnants of various achievements of the Indus Valley Civilisation at Kalibangan. Excavations have revealed a prehistoric cemetery, ploughed field, along with various objects of daily usage.
Also, apparent from these ruins is the advanced water harvesting system, credited to the ancient civilisation. Being the first ever township of India, the place definitely is worth a visit for anybody who takes pride and interest in the rich heritage of India.