Bikaner is a District in the northwest of the state of Rajasthan in northern India. The city is the administrative headquarters of Bikaner District and Bikaner division. It was formerly the capital of the princely state of Bikaner. The city was founded by Rao Bika in 1486 and from its small origins it has developed into the fourth largest city in Rajasthan. Just like Jaipur, Bikaner is called the Green City. The Ganga Canal completed in 1928 and the Indira Gandhi Canal completed in 1987 have allowed the farming of crops such as mustard, cotton and wheat. Other industries include wool production and the mining of gypsum, plaster of Paris and bentonite.
INTRODUCTION OF BIKANER:
A city - awesome and beautiful. A vast expanse of rippling sand and scorching son.An arid, rocky scrubland. It is situated on an elevated ground, surrounded by a seven-kilometer-long embattled wall marked by five gates.
The Rathore prince Rao Bikaji, the liveliest and most enterprising son of Rao Jodhaji of Marwar, founded Bikaner in 1488 AD. The harsh desert surrounds this rich city, no doubt few could gather courage to venture into this part of the globe.
The old part of Bikaner city is surrounded by a stone wall that is 15–30 feet (5–9 m) high and has five gates. Bikaner is now a trade centre for wool, hides, building stone, salt, and grain. Bikaneri woolen shawls, blankets, carpets, and sugar candy are famous, and there are also ivory and lacquerware handicrafts. The city has electrical and mechanical engineering works, railway workshop, and factories that manufacture glass, pottery, felts, chemicals, shoes. The old part of the city is overlooked by a fort and has numerous buildings of bright red and yellow sandstone. Within the fort are several palaces of different periods, a museum housing Rajput miniature paintings, and a library of Sanskrit and Persian manuscripts. Bikaner is situated in an arid tract of undulating sand hills where the breeding of camels, horses, and sheep is the principal occupation. Bajra (pearl millet), jowar (sorghum), and pulses are the main crops grown in the locality.
The fortified town still preserves the aura of medieval times, as it is protected by harsh desert and remained untouched by outside influence. The city is an exercise in architecture ,one gapes in awe at the embattled wall with ornamental gates.The lofty houses with excellent carvings still survive averring to the craftsmanship and prosperity of the people.
The Town is also famous for delicacies like Rasgullas ,Bhujias and Papads.It has become a big wool production centre,and has a unique Camel research farm.
HISTORY OF BIKANER:
Bikaner's history dates back to 1488 AD when a Rajput prince Rao Bika ji a descendent of the founder of Jodhpur (1459 AD)., Rao Jodha Ji established his kingdom here. Bika Ji chose a barren land called "Jungladesh" and shaped it into an impressive city, called Bikaner after the founder's name. Archeological surveys and excavations have established beyond doubt that civilization flourished here even before the Harappa period . Excavated statues, coins and carvings of stones and clay stands as testimony to this fact. Ever since the foundation of Bikaner till its accession into Indian Union in 1947 A.D. and there after it's integration in Rajasthan state in 30-3-1949 A.D., Bikaner has played a notable role in the history of the country.
City, north-central Rajasthan state, northwestern India. It lies 240 miles (386 km) west of Delhi.The city was the capital of the former princely state of Bikaner. About 1465 Bika, a Rajput chieftain of the Rathor clan, began to conquer the area from other Rajput clans. In 1488 he began building the city of Bikaner (“the settlement of Bika”). He died in 1504, and his successors gradually extended their possessions. The state adhered loyally to the Mughal emperors, who ruled in Delhi from 1526 to 1857. Rai Singh, who succeeded as chieftain of Bikaner in 1571, became one of the emperor Akbar's most distinguished generals and was named the first raja of Bikaner. As Mughal dominance ebbed, wars between Bikaner and the princely state of Jodhpur raged intermittently in the 18th century. A treaty establishing British paramountcy was concluded in 1818, and order was restored in the country by British troops. The rebellious behaviour of the local thakurs, or subsidiary chiefs, continued, however, until the princely state was made subject to the Rajputana agency in 1883. The state's military force included the Bikaner Camel Corps, which gained renown in China during the Boxer Rebellion (1900) and in the Middle East during World War I. In 1949 Bikaner, which by then totaled more than 23,000 square miles (60,000 square km) in area, became part of the Indian state of Rajasthan and was divided into three districts .
Founder of Bikaner - Rao Bikaji
Fairs and festivals :
- Camel festival: each January the state government organises a camel festival with camel races, various cultural events and a fire dance performed by the Sidh people.
- Aksaye Tritya or "AKKHA TEEJ": the foundation day of Bikaner. This was the day when Rao Bika laid the foundation of the new empire. Every year on this day people from across the social spectrum enjoy themselves by flying kites or "CHANDA". They also enjoy a special meal, such as "Khichra and Imlani".
Bikaner Havelies :
Carvings find best expression in Bikaneri havelies. Havelies are marvels in home architecture. Such havelies or residential houses do not exist anywhere in the world. They are the pride of Bikaner, says great author and philosopher, Aldous Huxley. They are situated in narrow lanes in the old city. Splendid abodes can be seen in the midst of streets that look serpent like and peaceful. They are marvelous mansions made of red stone and stand magnificently.
They stand spreading magic around. Their jharokhas (casements), entrances, latticed windows, divankhanas, Gumaharias or basements, are exotic. The -red stone gives a look that is like a red carpet forcing one to look and admire. The havelies were the residence of wealthy merchants who had a fancy for beauty and art. Nine months in a year they lived in far off lands to earn money and then came to this city to rest and enjoy and build havelies and live in them, show their wealth and status, their love , fascination for architecture and colours. The oldest haveli is perhaps four hundred years old but most of them are hundred years in age or around it. That is why they indicate a pattern of their own. They charm each and everyone who happens to see them. Their exterior is dominated by the jharokhas at once charming and capable of keeping spellbound. The jharokhas are exquisite carvings made alive by artistic creaters. They marvel in the beauty that lies in them and not merely in beholder's eyes. They are generally six feet long and three feet wide proving that small is beautiful.Smaller they are, the more beautiful they are likely to look. They form the most picturesque part of the haveli face. They also indicate the love for nature these creators of havelies had. leaves and flowers decorate every jharokha giving it an astonishing and pleasant natural effect. Jali or stone with small holes create unbounded beauty.
Every haveli has at least a second story. A mol or mahal is the most beautiful and artistic portion of this part and is normally adorned with golden work of carving . Mahal is the symbol of status. lt is rich in carvings. Golden carvings are the ardour of the mahal because it is here that dancing girls used to give performances in mahfils (parties). Some havelis have ceilings which instantly attract the viewer, earn his appreciation, amaze him, delight him. Every haveli consists of a number of rooms, big and small, made for special purposes and suitable for those purposes.
Some of the famous Havelies worth visit are:
- Rampuria Group of Havelies.
- Haveli of Bhairondan Kothari.
- Sampatlal Agarwal haveli.
- Haveli of Poonam Chand Kothari.
By Railways - Bikaner by train is very well connected to major Indian cities like Mumbai, Kolkata, Jaipur, Delhi, Jodhpur and Ahmedabad through Indian railways. Some of the most important trains that provide transportation service to Bikaner are Kalka Express that connects the city with Jodhpur, Bikaner Express, Chetak Express and Bikaner Mail that connect it with Delhi.
By Airways – One can also use airways to reach Bikaner. The nearest airport is the one at Jodhpur which is situated 235 kilometers away from the Pink City. The cities with which Bikaner is connected through air are Jaipur, Delhi and other major Indian cities.
By Roadways – The Pink City of Bikaner has very well developed network of road that connects with major cities nearby including Jaipur and Delhi. One can avail buses or private taxis that provide such transportation to Bikaner.