Tuesday 24 September 2019

Travelogue of Bikaner: Laughing City in Desert.Famous for Bhujyas.

Mera naam hai chameli
Main hu Malan albeli
Chali aayi main akeli Bikaner se
Mera naam hai chameli
Do you remember this song of film Raja aur Rank (1968).

This song was haunting me since my student life. That caused Bikaner in my dream for a long time, but never had a chance to plan a visit.

Bikaner was our 4th destination in Rajasthan. We board for Bikaner from Jaisalmer at 11.00P.M and reached Bikaner early morning at 5.00.A.M. Railway station of Bilkaner was well managed with a grand Rajasthani architectured building. Platforms were calm peacefull and clean.Retiring room was on first floor. Portor lifted our luggage and kept in our reserved rooms.

Lal garh Fort-Bikaner

Bikaner brings to life everything you want from a desert town; the dust-swirled vibrancy, the grand forts, the narrow lanes of a walled city, the red stone houses and the strange, familiar feeling of an outpost town with mixed threads of history lingering in the air.

History of Bikaner

Bikaner is said to have been founded in 1488, on a barren desert area called Jungaldesh by a Rajput Prince Rao Bika Ji, son of Rao Jodha Ji who founded Jodhpur.

Lal Garh Fort-Bikaner

Provoked by his father, Prince Bika Ji went on a campaign with a small military contingent of 500 soldiers and 100 cavalry men to establish his own Kingdom. 

After subduing the Chieftains of Rajputs clans and Jats in the vicinity, Bikaji established his kingdom in the middle of the Thar Desert which came to be known as Bikaner. It evolved into a beautiful city and an independent kingdom.

After subduing the Chieftains of Rajputs clans and Jats in the vicinity, Bikaji established his kingdom in the middle of the Thar Desert which came to be known as Bikaner. It evolved into a beautiful city and an independent kingdom.

Other version for establishing a new kingdom is narrated: -- As the second son of Jodha he had no chance of inheriting his father’s territory of Jodhpur or to the title of Maharaja. He, therefore, reconciled and decided to build his own kingdom at Bikaner.

Juna garh Fort
Our first place of visit in Bikaner was Junagarh Fort.Hired a three wheler auto rikshaw from rly station which charged Rs.50/=.Entry fees costed Rs.50/=each.

There was a waiting line for the visitors. Visitors can sit there on the benches. A guide was calling people in groups. The palace tickets include services of a guide. That guide will roam you around the palace and will tell all about the history of this palace.
Junagarh Fort was constructed by Raja Rai Singh, a general in army of  emperor Akbar in 1593.This grand fort is not on a hill top ,as many other forts of Rajasthan.

It has picturesque courtyards, and designed as a perfect mix blend of Moghal, Rajput and Gujrati style of architecture.  The main attractions inside this fort are Dungar Mahal, Anup Mahal, Ganga Mahal, Chandra Mahal, Hawa Mahal and Diwan-e- Khas.The Palace is well maintained and an eye feast for tourists.Junagarh Palace proved a heaven for my camera.

Lal Garh Palace.
About one hour visit of Junagrh Fort, we came out of this awesome palace,and reached Lal Garh Palce,which is about 3.00 Km  from here. This palace was built in 1902 by the Maharaja Sanga Singh in the memory of his father the Maharaja Lal Singh Ji.

Lal Garh Palace.was designed by an European architect, Sir Swinton Jacob. Thus, the overall architecture of this palace presents a superb blend of the Rajput and Victorian art influences.

Now, this property has been converted into an awe-inspiring heritage hotel known as the Luxmi Niwas Palace. The royal family still lives in a special suite in the Lalgarh palace, which they have converted into a heritage hotel.

After a beautiful mesmerizing trip to Junagarh fort and Lal garh Palace. We were hungry and exhausted. Decided to back in market around railway station for lunch. There were dozen hotels around.

The Rampuria Group of Havelies
"If dreams are cast in stones or if stones can sing they would be like the exteriors and interiors of Bikaner havelies".

The fine detailed carvings on the wall of the Havelis suddenly put you in to vintage mood .They make you think how Bikaner used to be when once the wealthy merchants who built these buildings lived here.

Rampuria group of Havelies are known for their more than 400 years old architecture splendor.

Originally, the havelies were the residence of wealthy merchants who had a fancy for beauty and art. For a major part of the year, they used to live in far-off lands where they went to earn money. They mostly came back to the city to rest, and enjoy and thus went on to build these havelis for leisure and relaxation.

Karni Mata Temple of Deshnokh

Besides its palaces Bikaner is highly popular for its temples.The most popular among them is Mata Krni Temple at a distance of about 26 Km in Deshnokh.

The Karni Mata Rat Temple of Bikaner was the most unique and freaky attraction.It was in my dream, since I saw a Tv. programme on Discovery Channel, over this temple.

This is only temple of world, where rats are pious and are worshiped. It is believed that around 20,000 rats live in remplex and are free to roam anywhere in temple complex.Devotees feed them milk and sweets to seek blessing of Devi Karni The Goddess.

An interesting fact that everyone told us was that these rats never leave the temple even though they are free to do so. I say, why leave when you are given a steady stream of tasty milk and treats. Worshipers make pilgrimages to the Karni Mata Temple not only to worship the rats, but to also heal their ailments.
Bhujya’s of Bikaner
Many people remember Bikaner only for its amazing, Forts, Palaces, Haveli’s, Camels, Sand Duens etc. But this desert city Bikaner is known international for it salted and spicy Bhujyas. Haldi Ram and Bikano are famous Brand names.
In 1877, during the reign of Maharaja Shri Dungar Singh, the first batch of bhujia was produced in the princely state of Bikaner.
The credit of packaging this savory delight in packets and taking it to the world goes to Haldiram, and over 20,000 kgs of Bhujia are produced in Haldiram’s Bikaner factory every day. The local halwais of the bazaar themselves produce over 30,000 kg of bhujia daily.

This ends two days visit of the Laughing City ‘The Bikaner”.My camera is full of with sweet memories of colorful desert city.Next destination was Jaipur. It was interesting to hear people still refer to royalty as “Hamare Maharaj” (our king).

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