Maharajas' Express Blog

Experience the grandeur of Rajasthan in Bikaner

Bikaner is an important tourist destination in the Indian state of Rajasthan. The city offers a slice of everything that the state has to offer – sand dunes, royal forts and palaces, ancient temples, local cuisine and camels. It is because of this varied escapes, the city remains a favorite destination amongst tourists from all over the world.

Bikaner is located at a distance of approximately 430 kilometers from India’s national capital Delhi. The city is well connected by roads and railways and is an ideal week-end destination for tourists.  The nearest airport is Jodhpur, located 250 kilometers away.

Bikaner was founded in 1488 AD by Rao Bikaji, a royal prince from the erstwhile royal family of Jodhpur. The city derives its name from its founder. The old part of the city is built on a slightly raised platform, guarded by a wall measuring seven kilometers in length with five entrance gates. This ancient part of the city is dotted with markets that sell local handicrafts and merchandise and is a major tourist attraction.

Bikaner has plenty to offer for tourists. A quick insight into the most prominent sites are as follows:.

Karni Mata Temple: The Karni Mata Temple also known as Deshnok Temple or Rat Temple is a six century old temple located in Bikaner. The temple is dedicated to ‘Karni Mata’ (Karni Mother) who is considered to be a reincarnation of Goddess Durga, an important female deity in Hinduism. What makes this temple unique, is the presence of thousands of rats within the temple premises. According to popular belief, the rats in this temple are considered pious and devotees feed them with food. Nobody hurts the rats and as such their population continues to increase every day. It is an interesting sight to view millions of rats getting fed by devotees inside the temple.

Junagarh Fort: The Junagarh fort offers a peek into the grandeur and opulence of erstwhile Indian royalty. The fort was built in the 1478 by Rao Bika, the second son of Rao Jodha. The entire fort is built of red sandstone and white marble. Some of the interior walls are embellished with beautiful carvings, paintings, glass and lattice works. The Junagarh fort should definitely be on the itinerary of every tourist visiting Bikaner

Lalgarh Palace & Museum: The Lalgarh Palace & Museum was built by Maharaja Ganga Singh in the year 1926. This palace was designed by famed British architect Sir Samuel Swinton Jacob and is a good example of the fusion of Indian, European and Mughal architecture. The palace was used as a residence by the royal family of Bikaner who still continue to retain a portion of the palace. The palace houses the Sadul Museum which is ranked as the fourth largest book library in the world. The palace also has a luxury hotel within its premises.

Desert Safari: The Desert safari is the most sought after activity in Bikaner by tourists. It includes a camel back ride on the sand dunes of the Great Indian Thar desert followed by a choice of activities that visitors can choose from depending on their personal preferences. The most prominent of these is witnessing the sunset from one of the many camps located in the sand dunes. These camps offer visitors the comfort of witnessing the sunset across the vast expanse of the desert which is a spectacle in its own right. This is followed by traditional dance performances by local artistes and a dinner of delicious local food.

Maharajas’ Express guests get to experience each of these tourist attractions on their visit to the city aboard the luxury train. Guests can be assured of lifetime memories and unmatched comfort when they visit this royal Bikaner with the Maharajas’ Express.