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This article is about the city Bikaner in Rajasthan, India. For its namesake district, see Bikaner district. For other uses, see Bikaner (disambiguation).
Lalgarh Palace, Bikaner
Nickname(s): BKN
Bikaner is located in Rajasthan
Coordinates: 28°01′00″N 73°18′43″E / 28.01667°N 73.31194°E / 28.01667; 73.31194Coordinates: 28°01′00″N 73°18′43″E / 28.01667°N 73.31194°E / 28.01667; 73.31194
Country India
State Rajasthan
District Bikaner
Founded by Rao Bika ji
 • Body Municipal corporation
 • Total 28,466 km2 (10,991 sq mi)
Elevation 242 m (794 ft)
Population (2011)
 • Total 644,406
 • Density 3,887.9/km2 (10,070/sq mi)
 • Official Hindi, English
 • Regional Marwari
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
PIN 3340XX
Telephone code +91 151
Vehicle registration RJ-07

Bikaner (About this sound pronunciation ) is a city in the northwest of the state of Rajasthan in northern 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[1][2][3] and from its small origins it has developed into the fifth largest city in Rajasthan. The Ganges Canal, completed in 1928, and the Indira Gandhi Canal, completed in 1987, facilitated its development.


Further information: History of Bikaner

Prior to the mid 15th century, the region that is now Bikaner was a barren wilderness called Jangladesh.[4] In 1488 Rao Bika established the city of Bikaner. According to James Tod, the spot which Bika selected for his capital, was the birthright of a Nehra Jat, who would only concede it for this purpose on the condition that his name should be linked in perpetuity with its surrender. Naira, or Nera, was the name of the proprietor, which Bika added to his own, thus composing that of the future capital, Bikaner. Rao Bika was the first son of Maharaja Rao Jodha of the Rathor 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 Jungladesh. 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.[5][6][7]

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.[5][7][8]

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).

During the 18th century, there was internecine war between the rulers of Bikaner and Jodhpur and also amongst other thakurs, which was put down by British troops.[7]

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.[9]

Left: Lalgarh Palace, built (Indo-Saracenic style) for Maharaja Ganga Singh and named after his father, presently a heritage hotel and also a residence of the Bikaner Royal Family. Right: Ganga Singh as a member of the Imperial War Cabinet at No. 10 Downing Street, 1917.

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.[7][9][10]

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).[6] The Royal Family still lives in a suite in Lalgarh Palace, which they have converted into a heritage hotel.[7][9]


The internal transport system in Bikaner consists of autorickshaws and city buses. Bikaner railway station is on the Jodhpur-Bathinda line. Bikaner is connected to some of major Indian cities via broad gauge railway. The city has direct rail connections to Sri Ganganagar, Kolkata, Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai, Alwar, Bhubaneswar, Sambalpur, Bilaspur[disambiguation needed], Kanpur, Agra, Jalandhar, Baroda, Hyderabad, Guwahati, Jaipur, Surat, Gurgaon, Jalandhar, Puri, Coimbatore, Thiruvananthapuram, Chandigarh, Kota, Kollam, Jammu, Jodhpur and Ahmedabad, Pune, Indore, Vijayawada. However, there is no rail connectivity for other major Indian cities like Silchar, Indore,[clarification needed] Jhansi, Ranchi, Bhopal, Gwalior, Jabalpur, Kurukshetra, Faridabad.

Bikaner is well served with roads and is linked directly to Delhi, Jaipur , Agra , Alwar, Ludhiana, Sri Ganganagar , Bhatinda, Ambala, Ahmedabad, Haridwar, Jodhpur, and many other cities. National highways 11, 15, and 89 meet at Bikaner.


Sand dunes near Bikaner, Rajasthan

Bikaner is situated in the middle of the Thar desert and has a hot desert climate (Köppen climate classification BWh) with very little rainfall and extreme temperatures. In summer temperatures can exceed 45 °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 28–48.5 °C (82.4–119.3 °F). In the winter, it is fairly cold with temperatures lying in the range of 5–23.2 °C (41.0–73.8 °F).[11] Annual rainfall is in the range of 260–440 millimetres (10–17 in).[11][12]

Climate data for Bikaner
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 30.5
Average high °C (°F) 23.0
Daily mean °C (°F) 14.3
Average low °C (°F) 5.6
Record low °C (°F) −0.9
Average precipitation mm (inches) 5.7
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 42.7
Source: NOAA (1971-1984)[13]

Junagarh Fort[edit]

Junagarh Fort, Bikaner, Rajasthan, India

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[edit]

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 Golden Triangle Fort & Palace P. Ltd. The magnificent structure in red sandstone is one of the most popular destinations for tourists in Bikaner.[14] The Shri ram heritage a unit of Rao Bikaji Groups home stay owend / heritage hotel by Brigadier Jagmal singh rathore VrC,VsM descendant of Rao Bika ji Founder of Bikaner, Rao Bikaji Camel safari a unit of Rao Bikaji Groups

Karni Mata Temple[edit]

Main article: Karni Mata Temple

The world famous shrine of Karni Mata can be found in the town of Deshnoke 30 km south from Bikaner on the road to Jodhpur. Karni Mata is worshiped as an incarnation of Goddess Durga.


Population Growth of Bikaner City 
Census Pop.
1891 56,300
1901 53,100 -5.7%
1911 55,800 5.1%
1921 69,400 24.4%
1931 85,900 23.8%
1941 127,200 48.1%
1951 117,100 -7.9%
1961 150,600 28.6%
1971 208,900 38.7%
1981 280,400 34.2%
1991 416,300 48.5%
2001 529,690 27.2%
2011 644,406 21.7%

People from Bikaner[edit]

See also[edit]


  • Patnaik, Naveen. (1990). A Desert Kingdom: The Rajputs of Bikaner. George Weidenfeld & Nicolson Ltd., London.
  1. ^ "". Retrieved 2013-09-12. 
  2. ^ "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". Retrieved 2013-09-12. 
  3. ^ kalaloda. "Bikaner History, India". Retrieved 2013-09-12. 
  4. ^ "Bikaner". Archived from the original on 2007-08-19. Retrieved 2007-09-08. 
  5. ^ a b 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. 
  6. ^ a b 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. 
  7. ^ a b c d e "History". National Informatics centre, Bikaner district. Archived from the original on 12 December 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-07. 
  8. ^ "Junagarh Fort, Bikaner". Retrieved 2009-12-07. 
  9. ^ a b c Ring p.133
  10. ^ Ring p.132
  11. ^ a b "Bikaner". Archived from the original on 9 January 2010. Retrieved 2009-12-09. 
  12. ^ "Climate of Bikaner". Retrieved 2009-12-09. 
  13. ^ "Zahedan Climate Normals 1971-1984". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved December 21, 2012. 
  14. ^ "Laxmi Niwas Palace (Bikaner, Rajasthan) - Hotel Reviews". TripAdvisor. Retrieved 2013-09-12. 
  15. ^ "Historical Census of India". 
  16. ^ "Venugopal removed, T D Dogra is new AIIMS director,The Times of India". The Times Of India. Nov 30, 2007. Retrieved 19 May 2013. 
  17. ^ "SGT University". Retrieved 19 May 2013. 
  18. ^ "Information website about Akbar Khan, Bikaner, Rajasthan, India". Retrieved 2013-09-15. 

External links[edit]