This city lies on the northern point of the triangle of desert cities. Bikaner is another royal walled city dating back to 1486 AD. It was, however, a major trade centre as it stood on the ancient caravan route which linked central Asia and North India with the Gujarat seaports. While other cities of Rajasthan are rich in lakes and pleasure pavilions, Bikaner seems quite bare in that respect. Given its severe climatic conditions, the wealth of its architectural heritage lies in its forts, palaces and temples. This desert town in the north of the state was founded on 1488 by Rao Bika, a descendant of Jodha, the founder of Jodhpur. Like many others in Rajasthan, the old city is surrounded by a high crenelated wall and like Jaisalmer, it was once an important staging post on the great caravan trade routes. Bikaner is now becoming more and more popular with travellers. Bikaner has a superb fort, camel safaris and 30 kms to the south is the extraordinary Karni Mata temple where thousands of holy rats are worshipped.

Special Interest
Fire Dance

Camel Dance

Junagarh Fort One of the most imposing forts of northern India– Junagarh Fort– has remained unconquered till date. This fort was built in 15th century by one of the most able and trusted generals of Akbar, Raja Rai Singh.

Lalgadh Place was designed by a Britisher for Maharaja Ganga Singh, this palace displays a magnificent blend of oriental and European style. The imposing red sandstone monument is designed by Sir Swinton Jacob for Maharaja Ganga Singh.

The Ganga Golden Jubilee Museum, It is one of the best in Rajasthan, houses an interesting collection of sculptures, terracotta ware, paintings and also musical instruments.

Deshnoke Temple, the famous 600 year old temple on the Jodhpur Road dedicated to Karni Mata, an incarnation of Goddess Durga. The temple has huge intricately carved silver gates, which were donated by Maharaja Ganga Singh Ji. The most interesting thing about this temple are the rats who scamper freely within the sanctorum of the temple. They are regarded as scared and are fed by priest and devotees owing to the belief that they will be incarnated as holy man.

The Gajner Wildlife Sanctuary is 32 kms away and located on the Jaisalmer road. Bluebull, chinkara and blackbuck can be found. There are flocks of imperial sand grouse too.

Camel Breeding Farm is 10 kms away from the city and probably the only one of its kind in Asia and managed by the government. This is one of the biggest Camel Breeding Farm of Asia. It is an institute of National Research Centre on Camel where different breeds of camel are produce and preserved. Bikaner Camel Corp (former Ganga Risala) was a famous fighting force will still maintain its importance in desert to keep Border security. At present there are about 500 camels with different breeds like Gujarat (Kutch), Arabic, Bikaneri, Jaisalmeri and Barmeri.

Travel Information
By Bus: There are frequent express buses from Bikaner to Udaipur, Ajmer, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Jhunjhunu and Kota.
By Train: There are several trains from Bikaner to Jaipur, Jodhpur, Delhi, Mumbai, Howrah and Jammu

Fire Dance
The people who dance on fire bare feet belong to Sidh Community, are followers of Sant Jasnath Ji. Their origin place is Katariasar village, situated 45 kms away from Bikaner in remote area where Sant Jasnath Ji had meditation. A group of 12 to 15 persons dance on burning fire with music and drums take maximum 45 minutes. Before beginning their performance, they take one hour for meditation. These people (Sidh Community) are purely vegetarian, found only in this village.

Camel Dance
A trained camel fully decorated with its colorful costumes make dance in different actions with music and drums. Its performance is maximum for 40 minutes.

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