Rajasthan The Heritage State- Bikaner
Heritage Hotels in India
Heritage Hotels in Rajasthan
Bikaner takes its name from the prodigious Rao Bikaji, who boldly fought desert clans for 30 years to carve out the kingdom in 1486. Bikaji was the son of the Rathod Raja of Marwar (Jodhpur) Rao Jodha. The son fell out with the father -- when he was questioned before a darbar about his expansionist dreams -- and lead his own team of horsemen further north, to victoriously set up Bikaner.
The city was already on the old caravan trade route that linked Central Asia, China and the Middle East to North India and the Gujarat seaports. The harsh desert climate aided Bikaji's descendants in preserving a leisurely lifestyle and custom that remained unchallenged by outside intervention. By the 16th century, the conflict with the Delhi Sultanate did not last. With the decline of the Mughals, the kingdom signed a peace treaty with the British in the 17th century. In the latter part of that century, a more Maharaja Ganga Singh preserved the economic integrity of the city until Bikaner became a part of the Indian union in 1947.
Bikaner and the Mughal influence
Bikaner's war -- and eventual peace -- with the Mughals began in the 16th century when the Mughal empire constituted a new order. But with time, energy and a climate that was on no one's side, the Bikaner armies routed the Mughals in their early encounters. But sometime later that century, Akbar's diplomacy won over the Bikaner Maharajas' resolute isolation. Now several rulers of Bikaner commanded the Mughal armies with distinction appropriating lands in Gujarat in the west to the Deccan in the south.
The poet-king Prithviraj Singh went on to became one of the Nine Gems of Emperor Akbar's court. With peace by their side and a prosperous trade, it became known for its gold and silversmiths, weaving centres, perfumes and leathercraftsmen. Arts and music thrived. The miniature painting style here combined the Rajput and the Mughal style of depiction.
British rule in Bikaner
In the shadow of a declining Mughal rule, the symbiotic independence of Bikaner was shattered and the 18th century saw a slide in its pomp much like the rest of Rajasthan. The Marathas could not traverse its desert barriers but it became an easy prey for the British who in 1818 signed a treaty of 'perpetual friendship' with Bikaner.
The exertions with the British bankrupted Bikaner by the middle of the 19th century. The once happy province was now a grubby colony. But, the camels saved the decade. A steady supply of these animals to help the British in the Afghan war brought money back to the coffers. The money was used by the rulers to modernise administration, build infrastructure like hospitals, introduce electricity and create a strong police force to check the rampant anarchy that prevailed. In 1949, Bikaner became a part of Rajasthan.
A hot spot close to the Thar desert. Bikaner lies to the north of Jaisalmer in the sandy state of Rajasthan. The 7 km long walled city has a pink hue similar to that of Jaipur largely due to the use of burnt pink sandstone used to construct the fort and the palace.
Outside the railway station, the hotels are along Station Road. From the main KEM Road you can access the walled city and Junagarh Fort. To the south is the Karni Mata Temple.