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  • December 22, 2017

Bikaner: A Majestic Grandeur of Rajasthan

Situated at the northern Rajasthan, Bikaner is a popular tourist hotspot, well-known for its princely era charm and ornate buildings. Established in the 14th century, Bikaner was a princely state that became a protectorate of British in the year 1818; however it prolonged for a short time post-independence in 1947. Earlier, before the mid-15th century, Bikaner region was a barren place known as Jangladesh that was ruled by Jats (1040-1488).

Thereafter, in 1488, Maharaja Rao Bika established the Bikaner city. Rao Bika was first son of Rao Jodha and the one who conquered arid country in northern Rajasthan. Later, he decided to establish his kingdom in Jangladesh. At that time, owing to the spring water, Bikaner was known as an oasis in between Gujarat coast and Central Asia trade route. In 1478, Maharaja Rao Bika made a fort that was around 1.5 km away from city centre, the fort is popularly known as Junagarh Fort.

After a century, the Bikaner state fortune carried on by the sixth Raja, namely Rai Singh from 1571-1611. The successful military exploits by Raja Rai Singh made him won various rewards and accolades from the Mughals. He was rewarded with lands in Burhanpur and Gujarat. As he had a great knowledge in architecture and arts, he made Chintamani Durg, popularly known as Junagarh Fort.

After that, from 1631-1639, under Mughals’ suzerainty, Maharaja Karan Singh built Karna Mahal Palace. Later, from 1669-1698, Anup Singh made some more substantial changes to the fort. In addition, the Karan Mahal was also redecorated with an addition of public audience hall, known as Diwan-i-Am or Anup Mahal. Then, from 1746-1787, Maharaja Gaj Singh renovated the Moon Palace, popularly known as Chandra Mahal.

From 1787-1828, Maharaja Surat Singh ruled and adorned audience hall with lively paintwork. In 1818, under reign of Maharaja Surat Singh, Bikaner came under British suzerainty and after that Maharajas started investing heavily in renovating the Junagarh Fort. Maharaja Dungar Singh, ruled from 1872-1887, built Badal Mahal, also known as ‘weather palace’. The palace was named keeping in mind the painting of rain and clouds that is rare in scorched Bikaner.

Reigned from 1887-1943, General Maharaja Ganga Singh was one of the well-known princes of Rajasthan. Appointed as Knight Grand Commander of Order of the Star of India, he catered as Imperial War Cabinet’s member and signified India at various Imperial Conferences while First World War and other events. Apart from this, he contributed in building private and public audience halls, and a durbar hall in the Junagarh Fort. Additionally, he built Ganga Niwas Palace that consists of various towers. Intricately designed by Sir Samuel Swinton Jacob, the palace was the third new palace, made in Bikaner. Later, Lieutenant-General Sir Sadul Singh (the son of Ganga Singh) ruled as Maharaja in the year 1943 and assented the state to the Union of India in the year 1949. After the death of Maharaja Sadul Singh, Karni Singh succeeded the title and ruled from 1924 to 1988. This royal family resides in Lalgarh Palace and converted the palace in a heritage hotel.

The World’s Leading Luxury Train, Maharajas’ Express gives travelers a great opportunity to witness the rich cultural heritage of Bikaner while enjoying luxurious amenities. All travelers have to do is visit the website, choose from well-planned itineraries, namely ‘The Indian Splendour’ and ‘The Heritage of India’.

To book your favorite itinerary, click here!

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