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An update from Evaneos

Bikaner (India)

Practical information on Bikaner

  • Encounters with locals
  • Countryside
  • Desert
  • Place or Religious Monument
  • Festivals
  • Castle and fortress
  • Place or Historical Monument
  • Off the beaten track
2 / 5 - 3 reviews
How to get there
12 hours by bus from Delhi
When to go
From November to May
Minimum stay
Half a day

Reviews of Bikaner

Nina Montagné Seasoned Traveller
153 written opinions

The fortified city of Bikaner is located at the heart of the Rajasthan Desert on the Jaisalmer Road.

My suggestion:
Go and see the Bikaner school of painting, which is famous throughout India.
My review

On my trip to India, I stopped at Bikaner on my way to Jaisalmer, like many travelers do. Apart from the palace and the fort, there are few vestiges of the city's historic past to visit.

Lovers of fine arts will find the local painting school, which specializes in miniatures, much more interesting.

I do, however, have great memories of the breathtaking desert panorama from the heights of the fort, and of strolling at length through the old city's little streets, visiting its havelis and bazaars.

Desert view from Bikaner
David Debrincat Seasoned Traveller
459 written opinions

Located in the very north of Rajasthan, Bikaner does not possess the same charm as the other cities in the region. The city lies in the Thar Desert and the only advantage it offers is that it is close to Deshnoke yet not overly touristy.

My suggestion:
A camel festival takes place in January each year, with races and various other activities organized.
My review

This might upset Bikaner Tourist Office, but to be completely honest I hated this city. My experiences in Bikaner left me with the worst memories I have of my trip around India. As with cities like Hospet and Hassan, I went to Bikaner just as a basic stop on my travels.

The city does have the advantage of possessing a nice palace, the Junagarh Fort, but that's all. I encountered aggressive people here, and the atmosphere was very unwholesome. My wife got hit by a beggar whom she'd refused to give money to; a man blew his nose in his hands before offering to shake hands; and to top off the day, I had to forcefully intervene to help a female tourist who was being touched up by three young boys as the crowd looked on, amused.

Sorry to say it, but I thoroughly hated this horrible city and the experiences I had there. I hope that if you should happen to go to Bikaner you will have a more pleasant experience than I had.

At the market in Bikaner
Seasoned Traveller
17 written opinions

The fortified city of Bikaner stands in the north of Rajasthan. Tourists know it for its fort and the inhabitants of the Thar Desert know it as the place that hosts the camel festival at the beginning of January.

My suggestion:
Try the pastries at the market and take a trip to explore Deshnoke, a village 30 kilometers south of Bikaner, and its temple, where rats are revered. It's guaranteed to give you the shivers!
My review

I literally fell under the spell of the former princely capital of Bikaner almost from the very moment I arrived. Those who really love this kind of thing will be absolutely delighted. The little narrow streets, the bazaars, the cloth stalls, the red sandstone havelis, the Lalgarh Palace, the Temple of Laxmi Nath, the Ganga Theater building and the fort meant I immediately felt immersed in traditional, authentic Rajahsthani culture and history, and to tell the truth, I loved it. The historical center is a veritable open-air museum and losing yourself among its meandering streets is like taking a trip back in time.

Junagarh Fort, the jewel in the city's crown, dates from the end of the 16th century and is so finely sculpted that it will simply leave you amazed. Its courtyards, its palaces, its ramparts and its secret passages are just some of the good reasons to go and see it, and the view from the towers is simply stunning. An absolutely essential place to visit!