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Laxmi Niwas Palace, Bikaner
|Founded by||Rao Bika ji|
|• Body||Municipal corporation|
|• Total||155 km2 (60 sq mi)|
|Elevation||242 m (794 ft)|
|• Density||4,200/km2 (11,000/sq mi)|
|• Official||Hindi, English|
|Time zone||UTC+5:30 (IST)|
|Telephone code||+91 151|
Bikaner (pronunciation (help·info)) is a city in the northwest of the state of Rajasthan, India. It is located 330 kilometres (205 mi) northwest of the state capital, Jaipur. Bikaner city is the administrative headquarters of Bikaner District and Bikaner division.
Formerly the capital of the princely state of Bikaner, the city was founded by Rao Bika in 1486 and from its small origins it has developed into the fourth largest city in Rajasthan. The Ganges Canal, completed in 1928, and the Indira Gandhi Canal, completed in 1987, facilitated its development.
The city celebrates its foundation day on Akshaya Tritiya by flying kites and eating special Rajasthani food that includes Bajre Ka Khichda and Imli ka Paani (Tamarind Water) among other snacks. The celebration lasts for two days, known as Chhoti Akha Teej and Badi Akha Teej. People can be seen flying kites during these two days right from the early morning at 5-6am till late sunset.
- 1 History
- 2 Transport
- 3 Climate
- 4 Food
- 5 Junagarh Fort
- 6 Laxmi Niwas Palace
- 7 Fort
- 8 Karni Mata Temple
- 9 Laxminath Temple
- 10 Bhandasar Jain Temple
- 11 Demographics
- 12 People from Bikaner
- 13 See also
- 14 References
- 15 External links
Prior to the mid 15th century, the region that is now Bikaner was a barren wilderness called Jangladesh. Rao Bika established the city of Bikaner in 1488. He was the first son of Maharaja Rao Jodha of the Rathore clan, the founder of Jodhpur and conquered the largely arid country in the north of Rajasthan. As the first son of Jodha he wanted to have his own kingdom, not inheriting Jodhpur from his father or the title of Maharaja. He therefore decided to build his own kingdom in what is now the state of Bikaner in the area of Jangladesh. Though it was in the Thar Desert, Bikaner was considered an oasis on the trade route between Central Asia and the Gujarat coast as it had adequate spring water. Bika's name was attached to the city he built and to the state of Bikaner ("the settlement of Bika") that he established. Bika built a fort in 1478, which is now in ruins, and a hundred years later a new fort was built about 1.5 km from the city centre, known as the Junagarh Fort.
Around a century after Rao Bika founded Bikaner, the state's fortunes flourished under the sixth Raja, Rai Singhji, who ruled from 1571 to 1611. During the Mughal Empire's rule in the country, Raja Rai Singh accepted the suzerainty of the Mughals and held a high rank as an army general at the court of the Emperor Akbar and his son the Emperor Jahangir. Rai Singh's successful military exploits, which involved winning half of Mewar kingdom for the Empire, won him accolades and rewards from the Mughal emperors. He was given the jagirs (lands) of Gujarat and Burhanpur. With the large revenue earned from these jagirs, he built the Chintamani durg (Junagarh fort) on a plain which has an average elevation of 760 feet (230 m). He was an expert in arts and architecture, and the knowledge he acquired during his visits abroad is amply reflected in the numerous monuments he built at the Junagarh fort.
Maharaja Karan Singh, who ruled from 1631 to 1639, under the suzerainty of the Mughals, built the Karan Mahal palace. Later rulers added more floors and decorations to this Mahal. Anup Singh ji, who ruled from 1669 to 1698, made substantial additions to the fort complex, with new palaces and the Zenana quarter, a royal dwelling for women and children. He refurbished the Karan Mahal with a Diwan-i-Am (public audience hall) and called it the Anup Mahal.Maharaja Gaj Singh, who ruled from 1746 to 1787 refurbished the Chandra Mahal (the Moon palace).
Following Maharaja Gaj Singh, Maharaja Surat Singh ruled from 1787 to 1828 and lavishly decorated the audience hall (see illustration) with glass and lively paintwork. Under a treaty of paramountcy signed in 1818, during Maharaja Surat Singh's reign, Bikaner came under the suzerainty of the British, after which the Maharajas of Bikaner invested heavily in refurbishing Junagarh fort.
Dungar Singh, who reigned from 1872 to 1887, built the Badal Mahal, the 'weather palace', so named in view of a painting of clouds and falling rain, a rare event in arid Bikaner.
General Maharaja Ganga Singh, who ruled from 1887 to 1943, was the best-known of the Rajasthan princes and was a favourite of the British Viceroys of India. He was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the Star of India, served as a member of the Imperial War Cabinet, represented India at the Imperial Conferences during the First World War and the British Empire at the Versailles Peace Conference. His contribution to the building activity in Junagarh involved separate halls for public and private audiences in the Ganga Mahal and a durbar hall for formal functions. He also built the Ganga Niwas Palace, which has towers at the entrance patio. This palace was designed by Sir Samuel Swinton Jacob, the third of the new palaces built in Bikaner. He named the building Lalgarh Palace in honour of his father and moved his main residence there from Junagarh Fort in 1902. The hall where he held his Golden Jubilee (in 1938) as Bikaner's ruler is now a museum.
Ganga Singh's son, Lieutenant-General Sir Sadul Singh, the Yuvaraja of Bikaner, succeeded his father as Maharaja in 1943, but acceded his state to the Union of India in 1949. Maharaja Sadul Singh died in 1950, being succeeded in the title by his son, Karni Singh (1924-1988). The Royal Family still lives in a suite in Lalgarh Palace, which they have converted into a heritage hotel.
Bikaner railway station is a major Railway Junction in North Western Railway zone of Indian Railways. The first Railway link to Bikaner was established in 1891 & it has underwent many administrative modifications since then.
Today Bikaner Railway Station is efficiently well connected to National Capital Delhi and Rajasthan State's capital Jaipur along with major Indian cities like Jodhpur, Sri Ganganagar, Rewari, Howrah Kolkata, Mumbai, , Kanpur, Agra, Allahabad, Surat, Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Pathankot, Bhatinda, Amritsar, Haridwar, Jammu, Chandigarh, Pune, Hisar, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Guwahati, Puri, Coimbatore, Thiruvananthapuram,Bhubaneswar, Bilaspur, Indore, Jalandhar, Baroda, Ratangarh, Jaisalmer, Barmer, Alwar, Nagaur, etc.
Bikaner is well served with roads and is linked directly to Delhi, Jaipur, Agra, Sri Ganganagar, Jodhpur, Alwar, Rewari, Ludhiana, Bhatinda, Ambala, Panipat, Surat, Ahmedabad, Ajmer,Haridwar, Jaisalmer, Bhilwara, Churu, Sikar and many other cities.
National Highway 11 (India) and National Highway 62 (India) passes through Bikaner. Earlier NH-11,15,89 crossed through the city but that numbering has been modified in recent years. Link to old numbering is List of National Highways in India (Old numbering). The internal transport system in Bikaner consists of autorickshaws- traditional & CNG.
Bikaner has Domestic Civil Airport Nal Airport which is located 15 km west of the city. Regular flights to Jaipur JAI and Delhi DEL commenced in 2017-18 under UDAN scheme of Narendra Modi Govt.  
Schedule of flights in Indian Standard Time is:-
Delhi to Bikaner : 09:45 AM to 11:15 AM, Bikaner to Jaipur : 11:45 AM to 12:45 PM, Jaipur to Bikaner : 01:15 PM to 02:15 PM, Bikaner to Delhi : 02:45 PM to 04:10 PM
Bikaner is situated in the middle of the Thar desert and has a hot semi-arid climate (Köppen climate classification BSh) with very little rainfall and extreme temperatures. In summer temperatures can exceed 48°C, and during the winter they may dip below freezing.
The climate in Bikaner is characterised by significant variations in temperature. In the summer season it is very hot when the temperatures lie in the range of 28–53.5 °C (82.4–128.3 °F). In the winter, it is fairly cold with temperatures lying in the range of −4–23.2 °C (24.8–73.8 °F). Annual rainfall is in the range of 260–440 millimetres (10–17 in).
|Climate data for Bikaner|
|Record high °C (°F)||32.9
|Average high °C (°F)||23.0
|Daily mean °C (°F)||14.3
|Average low °C (°F)||5.6
|Record low °C (°F)||−4
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||5.5
|Average precipitation days||0.8||1.0||1.5||0.9||2.6||3.2||6.6||5.6||3.0||0.6||0.3||0.5||26.6|
|Average relative humidity (%)||49||43||34||25||27||39||58||61||52||36||40||48||43|
|Source: IMD extremes up to (2010)|
The city is most famous for its savoury snack Bhujia which is sold all over the world. It is also known for a large variety of namkeens that are offered and the spicy papad which is another speciality. The Samosa and the Kachori which you get at every nook and corner are highly recommended by the locals.
The Junagarh Fort and its temples and palaces are preserved as museums and provide insight into the grandiose living style of the past Maharanas of Rajasthan.
Laxmi Niwas Palace
The Laxmi Niwas Palace is a former residential palace built by Maharajah Ganga Singh, the ruler of the former state of Bikaner. It was designed by the British architect, Col Samuel Swinton Jacob in the year 1902. The style of architecture is Indo-Saracenic. It is now a luxury Heritage hotel owned by the royal family of Bikaner.
Karni Mata Temple
The Karni Mata (करणी माता) Temple or the Rat Temple of Rajasthan is situated around 30 km away from the Bikaner city and is dedicated to Karni Mata, a famous mystic of her times, believed to be an incarnation of goddess Durga. The locals will be quick to point out that the creatures running around in the temple are not rats, they are kaabe (plural, kaaba singular). Kaabe are believed to be reincarnations of humans who had been devotees of Karni mata, and the brevity of human life did not sufficiently satisfy their devotion.
The construction of the temple was completed in mughal style, in the early 20th century by Maharaja Ganga Singh. The temple was further adorned by Kundanlal Verma of Hyderabad-based Karni Jewelers in 1999. The silver gates of the temple and the marble carvings were also donated by him.
Mukam Bishnoi Temple
The Mukam Temple can be found in nearby Nokha. The Mukam is holy place of 29 rules follower Bishnois.Bishnoi sect was founded by Guru Jambeshwar.Bishnois are much protective about nature.Mukam Temple is the place where the soul of guru Jambeshwar lies on every no moon day (amavasya) there is mob of Bishnois in the temple.
Built by Maharaja Rao Lunakaran, Shri Laxminath Temple is one of the oldest temples in Bikaner and just 4 kilometres away from the famous Junagarh Fort. Lord Vishnu and Goddess Laxmi, grace the sacred sanctum of the temple. The most exquisite artwork inside the temple apart from the shrines is the doorway which is embellished in silver work. Festivals like Janmashtmi, Nirjala Ekadashi, Rama Navami, Diwali and Gita Jayanti are majorly celebrated at the temple.
Bhandasar Jain Temple
Bhandasar Jain Temple is known for its beautiful leaf paintings, frescoes and ornamented mirror work. This temple was constructed by Bhandasa Oswal in the 15th century. This temple is constructed using red sand stone with beautiful paintings on walls and pillars of the sanctum and mandapa. The temple is dedicated to the 5th tirthankar sumatinatha. The temple consist of garbhagriha, antarala, mahamandapa and ardhamandapa
National Research Centre on equines, Bikaner Campus
The National Research Centre on equines, Bikaner Campus was established on 28 September 1989 for conducting research for improving the technologies for optimization of production potential of the equines. The campus has state-of-art laboratories for conducting research in equine genetics, nutrition, medicine, reproduction and management. The Campus has the responsibility to generate technologies for augmenting equine performance in order to uplift the socio-economic status of poor equine owners. Conservation and propagation of equines through ecotourism has recently been initiated. The elite Marwari horses of Rajasthan, Kathiawari horses of Gujarat, Zanskari horses of Ladakh, Manipuri horses of Manipur and Poitou donkeys of France are maintained and bred here. An Equine Information Centre and a Museum has been developed for the depicting the basic and technical details about the horses. Cryopreservation of semen, artificial insemination, ultrasonography and endoscopy of equines is routinely carried out here.
As of the 2011 Census of India[update] the population of Bikaner city was 644,406 placing it in the top 70 major cities of India and 5th in Rajasthan. The female to male ratio in the city was 904/1,000. The literacy rate in the city was about 79%, male literacy being 87% and female literacy being 71%.
|Population Growth of Bikaner City|
People from Bikaner
- Aditi Rathore - Leading Indian TV actress. Most famously known for the show Naamkarann.
- Rao Bika - Founder of Bikaner
- Karni Singh - politician and clay pigeon/skeet champion.
- Col Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore - Olympic medalist trap shooter, Former Minister of State for Information & Broadcasting, now Sports Minister
- Rameshwar Lal Dudi - politician
- Bulaki Das Kalla - politician
- Bharat Vyas - Bollywood lyricist
- Anuradha Acharya - CEO, Ocimum Bio Solutions Multinational Company
- T.D Dogra - Former Director All India Institute of Medical Sciences New Delhi. Vice-Chancellor of SGT University, Budhera, Gurgaon, Haryana.
- Mohammed Usman Arif - Politician and former Governor of Uttar Pradesh.
- Ghulam Mohammad - Music composer, Bollywood
- Santosh Joshi - classical singer
- Pannalal Barupal - Indian independence activist, Congress MP from Ganga Nagar.
- Harish Bhadani - Hindi and Rajasthani Poet.
- Rao Bika - Founder of Bikaner
- Surajratan Fatehchand Damani - Member of the 2nd Lok Sabha of India from the Jalore constituency of Rajasthan and a member of the Indian National Congress (INC) political party. He later become member of 4th, 5th and 6th Lok Sabha from the Solapur constituency of Maharashtra.
- Devi Singh Bhati - Ex-member of the Rajasthan Legislative Assembly from Kolayat in Rajasthan state in India.
- Raja Hasan - Play back singer, a finalist on Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Challenge 2007.
- Kishan Singh Rathore - recipient of Mahavir Chakra for bravery displayed in Indo-Pakistani War of 1947.
- Mubarak Begum
- Sandeep Acharya - crowned the winner of Indian Idol (season 2) on 22 April 2006.
- Shiv Kumari of Kotah - an Indian Hindu royal and the daughter of Maharaja Ganga Singh of Bikaner.
- Rajyashree Kumari - former shooter from India. She was conferred the Arjuna Award in shooting in 1968.
- Sidhi Kumari - member of Rajasthan Legislative Assembly from Bikaner East, elected in 2008 on as a candidate of Bharatiya Janata Party.
- Nand Kishore Achyarya - Indian playwright, poet, and critic who was born in Bikaner, Rajasthan
- Arjun Ram Meghwal - elected to the 15th and 16th Lok Sabha, lower house of the Parliament of India from Bikaner constituency, Rajasthan in 2009 and in 2014. Also awarded the Best parliamentarian Award in 2013.
- Magan Singh Rajvi - former Indian football player. He hails from Rajasthan. He was given the Arjuna Award in 1973 for his achievements as a football player.
- Narpat Singh Rajvi - former Minister and MLA
- Abdul Rehman Rana - Pakistani former politician and soldier from Jaranwala, the city of Faisalabad, Punjab, Pakistan.
- Akbar Khan - visually impaired Singer, Composer, Writer and a Banker honoured with National Award in 1989.
- Ambika Dutt Ranga - Indian footballer
- Kanwar Sen - Civil Engineer
- Indra Chandra Shastri - Indian author and philosopher
- Ahmad Bakhsh Sindhi - was Law and Justice Minister in Rajasthan
- Colonel Rao Bahadur Thakur Sir Sadul Singh was a senior administrator in Bikaner State.
- Sudhir Tailang - cartoonist
- Shaukat Usmani - member of the émigré Communist Party of India and Freedom fighter
- Hisam-ud-din Usta - artisan-painter
- Vijay Shankar Vyas - agricultural economist of India
- Shri Harakh Chand Nahata, Indian businessman and social leader
- Khemchand Prakash - music composer in Hindi film industry.
- Shiv R. Jhawar - Indian-American author, public speaker and entrepreneur
- Satish Kumar - renowned philosopher from Dungergarh Bikaner.
- Mubarak Begum - Indian vocalist who sang in the Hindi and Urdu languages.
- Radhakishan Damani - Famous investor and founder of D-Mart
- Begum Para-Bollywood Actress, her father was chief justice of *Bikaner State.
- Magra sheep
- Bikaner State
- Bikaner Camel Corps
- Bikaneri Bhujia
- List of universities and colleges in Bikaner
- List of schools in Bikaner, Rajasthan
- Patnaik, Naveen. (1990). A Desert Kingdom: The Rajputs of Bikaner. George Weidenfeld & Nicolson Ltd., London.
- "Bikaner City Population Census 2011". www.census2011.co.in. Government of India.
- "bkn.co.in". bkn.co.in. Retrieved 2013-09-12.
- "PRACHINA - Bikaner Cultural Centre & Museum, Prachina - Cultural capital of marwar, Bikaner Museum, Prachina Museum, Bikaner Royal family, Western influence in Bikaner, Contemporary Crafts, Bikaner Period Room, Ritual Crafts, Aristocratic Textile & Costumes, Royal Portraits, Glass and Cut Glass Objects, Decorative Wall Painting, Aristocratic Locomotive, Museum Galleries". Prachinamuseum.org. Retrieved 2013-09-12.
- kalaloda. "Bikaner History, India". Travelgrove.com. Retrieved 2013-09-12.
- "Bikaner". Archived from the original on 2007-08-19. Retrieved 2007-09-08.
- Ring, Trudy; Robert M. Salkin; Sharon La Boda (1996). International Dictionary of Historic Places: Asia and Oceania. Bikaner. Taylor & Francis. p. 129. ISBN 1-884964-04-4. Retrieved 2009-12-07.
- Ward, Philip (1989). Northern India, Rajasthan, Agra, Delhi: a travel guide. Junagarh Fort. Pelican Publishing Company. pp. 116–119. ISBN 0-88289-753-5. Retrieved 2009-12-07.
- "History". National Informatics centre, Bikaner district. Archived from the original on 12 December 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-07.
- "Junagarh Fort, Bikaner". Archived from the original on 2009-04-16. Retrieved 2009-12-07.
- Ring p.133
- Ring p.132
- "Flights to Bikaner". The Times of India. Retrieved 2017-09-28.
- "Delhi-Bikaner direct flight launched". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 2018-03-15.
- "Bikaner". Archived from the original on 9 January 2010. Retrieved 2009-12-09.
- "Climate of Bikaner". Retrieved 2009-12-09.
- "Laxminath temple".
- "Historical Census of India".
- "Venugopal removed, T D Dogra is new AIIMS director, The Times of India". The Times Of India. 30 November 2007. Retrieved 19 May 2013.
- "SGT University". Retrieved 19 May 2013.
- "Information website about Akbar Khan, Bikaner, Rajasthan, India". Akbarkhan.co.in. Retrieved 2013-09-15.
- Bikaner travel guide from Wikivoyage
- District Government Site
- Bikaner Diary a short documentary series on Bikaner