The Oasis of Thar Desert
An oasis in the bosom of the great Thar Desert, Bikaner, the fourth largest city in Rajasthan is a melting point of history, culture and royalty! Founded by Rao Bika; the eldest son of Maharj Rao of Jodhpur, in 1486, it was initially a barren land called as ‘Jungladesh’ and it belonged to a Nehra Jat named ‘Nera’. Later, Nera accepted to surrender on the condition that his name should be associated with the city’s mane. Thus, this royal city got its name.
Be it during the prehistoric times or in the modern time, this magnificent oasis has always played a significant role in Rajasthan’s history. While during the ancient times, the city served as an important trade route between Central Asia and Gujrat Coast, it now boasts of being one of the most sought after places to visit in Rajasthan.
Once the capital of the princely state of Bikaner, the city came under the suzerainty of Mughal empires during the reign of its sixth ruler Maharaja Rai Singhji. Already a wealthy state, Bikaner became one of the richest states under the sovereignty of Mughals, while art and architecture were on their best forms. Historical landmarks like ChintamaniDurg or the Junagarh Fort, Karan Mahal Palace, Zenana Quarter, and Chandra Mahal were built during this period.
Later, by the 18th century, the state went under the suzerainty of British rule. Even while under the British governance, Bikaner’s wealth and prosperity were at the peak; Badal Mahal is the best example to cite this. During this period, the state witnessed the rise of Ganga Mahal, Ganga Niwas Palace and several other glorious piece of architecture.