#Previous It is perhaps one of the lesser known tourist destinations of Rajasthan, but is equally beautiful and rich in heritage. Jaipur, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Ajmer, Udaipur, Chittorgarh, Mount Abu are all on the Rajasthan Tourism A list. But not Bikaner. Why? Because it is at the north west end of the desert triangle, away from the traditional North- South tourist circuit.

Train journey is very convenient.
The desert outpost is 440 kilometers south west of Delhi, a 9-hour drive by road. You first hit the NH8 to Chandwaji and then take the state highway to Chomu and finally the NH11 to Bikaner. If you do not want to drive you can go by bus or by train, both an 11-hour journey. The Bikaner Mail starts from Sarai Rohilla in North West Delhi at 9.20 pm and reaches Bikaner Station by 8.20 am. The nearest airport is Jodhpur that is 225 km or a 5-hour drive.

 

The Junagarh Fort
At the heart of this Rathore kingdom is the Junagarh Fort built by Maharaja Ganga Singh over 120 years ago. The massive fort surrounded by a moat is lavishly built with courtyards and luxury residences sprawled across. The Durbar Hall is intricately decorated and has a majestic high throne. The ceilings of the massive palaces are frescoed and the marble columns display traditional Rajasthani miniature work The Phool Mahal, the Karan Mahal, the Anup Mahal and the Chandra Mahal with exotic architecture are places to be seen.

The Museums of Bikaner
The Museums of Bikaner are rich and varied. The museum of Junagarh houses not only a varied collection of royal treasures, royal dresses, royal art and royal cars but also a World War I fighter aircraft. The Lalgarh Palace also has its own museum displaying primarily photographs and artwork, a collection of Sadul Singh. The Golden Jubilee Museum has artworks of Max Mueller as well as that of Kushan and Gupta periods.

The Jain temples of 16 th century
Like most Indian cities, Bikaner has its share of Hindu and Jain temples. The Shiv temple at Shivbari and the Ratan Bihari and Rasik Shiromani temples within the Ratan Bihari Park are worth a visit. However the most famous and worth watching is the Bhandashah Jain Temple dedicated to Parsvanath. The Jain temples of Rajasthan have some of the best architecture of the 16 th century that can be seen at the Dilwara temples of Mount Abu and across the state. Like all other Jain temples in Rajasthan, the Bikaner Jain temple too is famous for its intricate carvings on marble richly decorated with gold leaf paintings and mirror work.

The gesso work on camel leather
Work on camel hide called gesso work that is a rarity in other parts of the country is found in abundance in this desert land. The camel hide is buffed to transparency to get rid of its raw and rough edges and then made into bags, purses, camel leather flasks, photo frames and many other objects. At times gold miniature work is done on these bags to improve its show and design aspects. #MoreToCome