[bee-kuh-neer, -ner, bik-uh-]
Bikaner, former native state, NW India. The state is now part of Rajasthan state. The region, almost entirely in the Thar desert, raises sheep and camels, spins and weaves wool, and mines coal. The city of Bikaner (1991 pop. 416,289), the capital of the former state, was founded in 1488. Manufactures include glass, pottery, shoes, chemicals, and electrical products. There are several beautiful 16th-century Rajput palaces and five colleges affiliated with the Univ. of Rajasthan.

Bikaner is a city in the northwest of the state of Rajasthan in western India. The city is the administrative headquarters of Bikaner District. It was 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 Ganga Canal completed in 1928 and the Indira Gandhi Canal completed in 1987 have allowed the farming of crops such as mustard, cotton and wheat. Other industries include wool production and the mining of gypsum, plaster of Paris and bentonite.

Bikaner has four sub divisions([tahsils]):
4.Sri Dungargarh.



Bikaner is located at . It has an average elevation of 243 metres (797 feet).


Being a prominent trade and tourist destination, Bikaner is connected to India's major cities via direct rail and road services. There is currently no passsenger air link to Bikaner.


Bikaner is connected to all India's major cities via broad gauge railway. The city has direct directly connections to Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Guwahati, Jaipur, Surat, Jalandhar, Thiruvanathpuram, Chandigarh, Jammu and Ahmedabad.


Bikaner is well served with roads and is linked directly to Delhi, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Haridwar and many other cities .

Air transport

Bikaner has a well equipped military airport at Nal and hopes to have a passenger airport in the near future.


Bikaner is situated in the middle of the Thar desert with very little rainfall and extreme temperatures. In summer, temperatures exceed 50 °C and during the winter it dips to freezing point.

Art & Culture

Bikaner is famous for its "Bikaneri Bhujia" and its sweets. Bikaneri Bhujia is a spicy snack made from moth dal, spices and edible oil. Bikaner is also known for its handicrafts and leather articles, for its palaces and for having Asia's biggest camel farm.

The city is also known for its intricately carved Jharokas. These red sandstone stone jalis (screens) are found on the windows of the Junagarh fort, temples and havelis (mansions of Northern India). Jalis would be used for ventilation and for women to watch the world while remaining hidden.

The red sandstone for these stone window screens was supplied by the nearby village of Dulmera.

Usta Art
Bikaner was and is the centre for Usta Art, a generic term for Art produced by Usta Masters. This generic term encompasses late-16th to early-20th Century techniques for paintings on paper and objects using translucent and opaque watercolors and a secondary technique incorporating embossed and unembossed gold patterns produced in the media of Naqqashi and Manoti, a proprietory Usta family art. The Usta family controlled the Bikaner Art School from the late-16th to late-19th Centuries producing such master artisans as Shah Muhammed and Nur Muhammed in the late-16th to early-17th Century, Rukn-ud-din, Nathu ji and Ahmed ji in the late-17th Century, Murad, Rehim ji I, Isa (Iso ji), and Sahab-ud-din in the mid-to-late 18th Century and Rehim ji II in the early-19th Century. The Usta family through the Bikaner School/tradition executed master works on paper, wood, stone panels, cloth, ceilings, glassware, and ivory, in the early-20th Century camel hide was added.

Recipients of NATIONAL AWARD
1. Hisamuddin Usta - 1967
2. Zaharuddin Usta - 1990
3. Muhammad Hanif Usta - 1991

Recipients of STATE AWARD
1. Zahiruddin Usta - 1984
2. Muhammad Asghar Usta - 1985
3. Muhammad Hanif Usta - 1988
4. Ajmal Hussain Usta - 1993

Fairs and festivals

  • Karni Mata fair
  • Gangaur
  • Kapil Muni fair
  • Camel festival: each January the state government organises a camel festival with camel races, various cultural events and a fire dance performed by the Sidh people.
  • Aksaye Tritya or "AKKHA TEEJ": the foundation day of Bikaner. This was the day when Rao Bika laid the foundation of the new empire. Every year on this day people from across the social spectrum enjoy themselves by flying kites or "CHANDA". They also enjoy a special meal, such as "Khichra and Imlani".

Attractions in Bikaner and nearby

Junagarh Fort

The fort was built by Raja Rai Singh, the sixth ruler of Bikaner who reigned from 1571 to 1612. Rai Singh had conquered part of Marwar and had been granted territory in Gujurat and Burhanpur by the Mughal emperor Akbar as a reward for his services as military commander. This, as well as funding from Jodhpur, enabled him to build the fort. Rai Singh held high rank in the imperial courts of both Akbar and his successor, Jehangir. During his imperial service he travelled extensively, giving him an appreciation of art and architecture. These ideas have been incorporated meticulously into the architectural style of Junagarh Fort.

Laxmi Niwas Palace

The Laxmi Niwas Palace is a former residential palace of the king of the former Bikaner state, Maharajah Ganga Singh in Bikaner in the Indian state of Rajasthan. It was designed by the British architect, Sir Samuel Swinton Jacob in the year 1902. The style of architecture is Indo-Saracenic. It is now a luxury 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.

Lalgarh Palace

Lalgarh Palace was built between 1902 and 1926 according to Rajput, Mughal and European architectural styles. The building was commissioned by Maharaja Ganga Singh (1881 - 1942) in memory of his father Maharaja Lall Singh and was designed by the British architect, Sir Swinton Jacob. It is coated in red sandstone and has several grand halls, lounges, cupolas and pavilions. The building features magnificent pillars, elaborate fireplaces, Italian colonnades and intricate latticework and filigree work. The palace houses the Shri Sadul Museum as well as the fourth largest library in the world. Though the Bikaner Royal Family still live in the palace, part of the building has been converted into a hotel operated by the WelcomHeritage Group.


Constructed in 1486, Moolnayakji was the first Viashnav Temple to be built in Bikaner. It was the principal seat of the Vaishanv sect. The first of the Bhagavad Katha Vachaks of the Rattani Vyas clan of Bikaner Shri Rattoji Vyas gave the Bhagavad Updesh to the king, Rao Bika and his aide Salloji Rathi. This practice is still carried on today. The presiding deity is Lord Moolnayak Krishna.

Laxmi Nath Temple

Laxmi Nath Temple is one of the oldest temples in Bikaner. The foundation of the city was laid here in 1488 by Rao Bikaji. The temple was erected during the reign of Rao Lunkaran and was added to by Maharaja Ganga Singh.


Kolayat is a famous pilgrimage spot with a temple dedicated to Kapil Muni who, according to his devotees, sat in meditation near the lake.

Karni Mata Temple

The 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.

Shiv Bari Temple

Built from red sandstone by Dungar Singh in the late 19th century, the temple is surrounded by a wall with battlements. It has a four faced black marble statue of Shiva and a bronze Nandi facing the Shiva Lingam. There are also two large reservoirs of water known as bawaris. The temple attracts thousands of visitors during Shravan (August) especially on Mondays.

Other attractions

  • Camel Farm
  • Sur Sagar
  • Public Park and Zoo
  • Raj Ratan Bihariand Rasik Siromani Temple
  • Lakshmiminath Temple
  • Bhandasar Jain Temple
  • Vaishno Dham
  • Ganga Golden Jubilee Museum
  • Rajasthan State Archives
  • Havelis
  • Devi Kund Sagar.
  • Gajner Wildlife Sanctuary.
  • Kalibangan.
  • Kolayat.


According to the 2001 India census , Bikaner had a population of 529,007. Males constituted 53% of the population and females 47%. Bikaner has an average literacy rate of 66%, higher than the national average of 59.5%; with male literacy of 74% and female literacy of 57%. 14% of the population is under 6 years of age.

Education in Bikaner

Bikaner is growing as a big centre for education. Good schools and coaching facilities provide students with plenty of opportunities.

The notable Universities and colleges:

For notable schools see List of schools in Bikaner, Rajasthan

Notable people from Bikaner

ex director defence recserch and development organization


  • Patnaik, Naveen. (1990). A Desert Kingdom: The Rajputs of Bikaner. George Weidenfeld & Nicolson Ltd., London.


External links

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