Bikaner was founded by Rao Bika, second son of the founder of Jodhpur. The city figured importantly on the great caravan trade routes. A long city wall encircles the old city while all important buildings, including the fort and the palaces, are outside the city walls. The Ganga Canal, built between 1925 and 1927, brought prosperity to this otherwise arid desert region.
Junagarh Fort & Museum
The late 16th century fort was constructed by Raja Rai Singh, a general in the army of Akbar, the Mughal emperor. It housed palaces inside and subsequent Maharajas added luxurious suites. Don't miss the beautiful diwan-e-khas (private audience hall), Anup Mahal, Badal Mahal, Gaj Mandir and Hawa Mahal. A major feature of the fort and palaces is the superb quality of stone carvings.
Several rooms at the fort house an interesting collection of royal vestments, armory (enormous bore guns used from the back of camels), Maharaja Ganga Singh's 56 kilogram suit of armour, sword with ivory and crystal handles and a biplane presented to Ganga Singhji by the British during World War I. There are supposed to be only two models of this plane in the world.
One of the most impressive palaces constructed during the last half of the 19th century the Lallgarh Palace defies the bleak and rugged reality of the harsh Thar Desert around Bikaner. Lallgarh Palace was the most completely integrated example of Indo-Saracenic architecture.
Ganga Golden Jubilee Museum
Don't miss the exhibits at this interesting museum. You can enjoy terra-cotta ware, traditional Rajasthani musical instruments, a miniature of the Royal Bikaner train, antique carpets and royal vestments. You can also see the royal decree of Prince Jehangir advising Rai Singh to immediately proceed to Delhi as Emperor Akbar is dying.
Camel Breeding Farm
Just 8 km away from the city, at the govt. run camel breeding farm, you discover a lot about the Ship of the Desert. You learn that the long-haired camel with hair on its ears is the Bikaner variety, famed for its strength. The light-coloured ones are the ones from Jaisalmer, and are prized for their speed. The dark-coloured camels come from Gujarat and the female camels are prized for their milk-producing capacity.