In the morning we left Pushkar to our new destination, Bikaner – known as the Country of Camels.
Bikaner is a vibrant deserts city having fabulous forts and palaces that tell the world about the opulence of its rulers.
Bikaner was a large wilderness before the 15th century, known as “Jangladesh” and was under the rule of Rajputs.
Rao Bika, a Rajput ruler, built the city and name it Bikaner, after his name.
Shortly after, it became very rich city because it was an oasis in the middle of the Thar desert, on the trade route between Central Asia and Arabic sea.
Bika also built a fort here, and name it Junagarh Fort.
Once we entered the city, we stopped to visit Junagarh Fort which is an impregnable bastion that holds the distinction of having never been captured.
The fort complex houses some magnificent palaces constructed in red sandstone and marble and we feasted our eyes on amazing courtyards, balconies and windows.
In the 19th century, during the rule of Maharaja Surat Singh, Bikaner came under the rule of the British.
Maharaja Ganga Singh, who was one of the favorite princes of the British Viceroys and also very well-known visionary among the kings of Rajasthan, built the famous Ganga Mahal and Ganga Niwas Palace. He named this palace ‘Lalgarh Palace’ and shifted his royal residence from Junagarh to Lallgarh. The royal family still lives nowadays in the Lalgarh palace.
The royal family divided the palace in three parts. They kept one wing as the private royal residence where they currently live.
The Lallgarh Palace Hotel wing, which is still run by the current members of the royal family.
The Laxmi Niwas Palace Hotel wing, which is put under a trust and run by a private entity.
We spent the night at Lallgarth Palace and we had a glimpse of the royal life.
Although we were not so lucky to receive the best room, staying at this hotel was a wow moment for us.
The Lallgarh Palace has an exclusive blend of Oriental and European architectural styles, which is quite unique.
The hotel has that 19th century vibe when you look at the blinds, furniture or the swimming pool, but this is the real attraction of stayingnhere.
Our room had an interesting exit to the interior roof terrace of the palace.
In the morning our tuk-tuks were waiting for us and we wend around the city.Bikaner is one of the most popular city in Rajasthan, known for its beautiful palaces and havelis, with excellent architectural design of India’s glory era.
Not only the royal family was very rich but also the merchant class who had a lot of money from the flourishing trade route.
Of course they were not allowed to build palaces, instead they constructed this very elaborate houses in the city center called havelis.It is a pleasure to walk around these havelis. Their style is unique, combining of Rajput style perfectly blended with Victorian and Mughal architecture.
It is like walking in an open-air museum. The old city has a few gorgeous havelis, each one more beautiful then the next. Unfortunately most of them remained empty and locked up since the owners moved along the new commercial routes.
The pride of Bikaner is Rampuria havelis, which was the home of a famous merchants family, Rampuria.
For us it was a thrill to have a walk along this amazing place which looks like it is caught in a time warp.
At some point we stopped to visit a temple, Bhandasar Jain Temple, which is one of the oldest temples in Bikaner.
But before that we had a meeting with man with the longest mustaches in India.Jainism teaches that the way to liberation and bliss is to live lives of harmlessness and renunciation. The essence of Jainism is the concern for the welfare of every being in the universe and for the health of the universe itself.
The temple is decorated with mirrors, frescoes and leaf paintings.
Here we met a priest that showed us a blessing ritual, which was quite interesting.
Bikaner was a lovely city, and we had a real adventure here.