Bikaner

The city of Bikaner was founded in 1488 from Jangaldesh or the country of wild bushes. It has been almost 550 years since its inception and the city has spread across the desert and has also acquired expertise viz, camel breeding and dry irrigation which is unique to it. Bikaner city along with its rocky scrubland, is located on an elevated plain in the desert. The old city is encompassed by a long embattlement wall which intermittently breaks to give way to five huge gates. Now a major trade center for wool, building stones, carpets, blankets, salt and grain, Bikaner has emerged as the lifeline of the state.

Attractions:

Ganjer Palace:The Royal family of Bikaner has created many numerous architectural marvels in Bikaner. The Gajner palace, often remembered as ‘a jewel in Thar desert', was conceptualized as a summer resort for the royal families. Maharaja Ganga Singh of Bikaner, upon insistence from his young bride ordered the creation of this amazing palace which stands tall on the embankment of a lake. The palace has been a witness and acted as the backdrop for numerous lavish shoots and grand entertainment. The palace has been tastefully carved in red sandstone and is famous for its intricately carved jharokhas, pillars, and screens. 

Junagarh Fort:The famous fort of Junagarh was constructed by Raja Rai Singh in 1593. The fort is one of its kinds with a strong, innovative and formidable structure which is encircled by a water moat which is believed to have bred crocodiles in the past. An amazing network of havelis with courtyards and balconies, watch towers, armory, halls and other the fort exudes an aura of red sandstone (Dulmera) and marble. The grand fort has a long rampart which is almost a 1000m long and is studded with 37 bastions and two entrances.Various monuments such as Ganga Niwas, Rang Mahal, Anop Mahal with it's delicate gold leaf painting. Har Mandir - the majestic shrine, Chandra Mahal with its paintings on lime plasters Phool Mahal with its exquisite inset mirror work and Sheesh Mahal with its unique mirror chamber adorns the fort.

The Lallgarh Palace: named after Maharaj Lal Singh is an architectural marvel in red sandstone, dedicated by his loving son, Maharaja Ganga Singh. The palace has been tastefully designed and decorated with liberal help from the British designer Col Swinton Jacob. Best part about the Palace is its unique blend of architecture which amalgamates the unique styles of the Rajputana, Islamic and European culture. Further, the architectural poetry has been adorned with exquisite latticework as well as filigree work.The palace walls are replete with memories of past etchings, hunting trophies and some nostalgic life size paintings. Leisure and shooting facilities for trap and skeet shooting have been specially installed by the Maharaja for his visitors.

Karni Matha Temple:One of its kind, the Karni Mata temple at Deshnoke is world famous for its, hold your breath, rat worship. Thousands of black, grey as well as the special white rats (kaba) reside within the shrine premises. The temple is 600 years old and it is widely believed that feeding the rats at this temple and getting touched by them would bring good fortune. It is also believed that these rats would reincarnate as holy men especially the white rats are considered auspicious. The temple, with silver gates and overhead mesh to protect the rodents from birds, is carved out of stone and marble. The sanctum houses an image of Karni Mata holding the famous trident/ trishul in her hands. Milk, sweets and grains can be offered to the rats from the large bowl which is always crowded with these ever eager rodents.

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