Spread over 6000 acres, the forest of Gajner was transformed into a famous shooting
reserve for sand grouse when Maharaja Ganga Singh of Bikaner built the palace next
to the Gajner Lake.
Sir Ganga Singh was also an avid wildlife conservator. He introduced different breeds
of deer and birds into the state sanctuaries, had wildlife preserves replanted,
and ensured that wardens were posted to prevent poaching. There was a ban on hunting
of animals during the breeding season and the killing of female animals and their
young was strictly prohibited.
Maharaja Karni Singh, grandson of Sir Ganga Singh, converted the hunting preserve
of Gajner in to a wildlife sanctuary, a haven to endangered antelopes like the chinkara,
black buck, blue bull as well as other rare animals. The sanctuary and lake attract
more than a hundred species of migratory birds during the winter. Today you can
shoot to your heart’s content, but with a camera.
Bikaner (30 kms from Gajner)
The history of Bikaner state dates back to 1488 AD, when it was established by the
Rajput prince Rao Bikaji a descendent of the founder of Jodhpur, Rao Jodhaji. Bikaji
selected this barren land called Jungladesh (jungle land) and shaped it into an
impressive city called Bikaner. However, archeological records, civilizations flourished
in this region much before the Harappan period. The city wraps layers of history
and interesting anecdotes within its narrow streets lines with havelis and palaces.
Arts & Crafts:
- Gesso work – camel hide products
- Leather handicrafts
- Lacquer and wooden artifacts
- Blue pottery
- Durries or carpets
- Tie and dye fabrics
- Tribal silverware
- Kundan jewellery and artifacts
Jewellery, handicraft and handlooms – can be organised at Dungar Niwas Courtyard
for large groups who wish to purchase authentic products and witness artists at
Discover the rich cultural and eco-heritage of Bikaner as you visit:
Museums & Collections:
Raja Rai Singh built this formidable fort in the late 16th century. Magnificent
in marble and red sandstone, the fort’s extensive wall has 37 bastions and two entrances.
When you enter through the Karan Pol, the interiors of the fort unfold palatial
spaces such as the Anoop Mahal with its gold leaf painting, Chandra Mahal (moon
palace), Phool mahal (flower palace, with mirror inlay work), Har Mandir (royal
place of prayers), Ganga Niwas and Rang Mahal (palace of pleasure), The Durbar Hall,
Gaj Mandir and the Sheesh Mahal (mirror chamber).
This Indo Saracenic architectural beauty is the work of Samual Swinton Jacob, the
British engineer commissioned by Maharaja Ganga Singh of Bikaner to build the Lalgarh
Palace in 1898.
Sir Ganga Singh Golden Jubilee Museum
The museum has one of the finest collections of Rajasthan art with unique collection
of terracotta, weapons, litho prints, miniature paintings of Bikaner school; coins
of Harappan civilisation; and sculptures of the Gupta and Kushan era as well as
of the late classical time. Managed by the Government of Rajasthan, the museum is
currently located in a new building in the Civil Lines.
This museum was established by the royal family, in 2000, to present the cultural
heritage of the place. It brings to life the long lost court traditions and glorious
lifestyle of the Bikaner royalty. Essentially a craft museum, the Prachina Museum
creates a platform for local artists to display their traditional crafts.
The costume gallery displays the clothes of a glorious era when clothes were designed
keeping in mind the wearer’s social status, personal tastes and personality.
Also on display are European wine glasses, cut glass bric-a-brac object d’art, cutlery
and crockery used in the regal kitchen, perfumes, ethnic carpets, unique jali rugs
and delicately carved period wooden furniture.
Camel Breeding Farm
At Jorbeer, 10 km from Bikaner, is a breeding farm for the ship of the desert. It
was launched in 1984. An elite flock of Bikaneri, Jaisalmeri and Kachchhi camel
has been developed and are maintained at the centre.
Scientists at the centre, using molecular markers, have successfully identified
genetic variations within and between camel breeds. They have also produced two
camel calves using the technique of embryo transfer. The Centre has also generated
useful information on double-humped camel found in Nobra Valley of Laddakh (in Jammu
The centre is an important spot on the tourist map of Rajasthan. And is open on
all days from 2.30 pm to 5.30 pm for visitors.
- Sir Ganga Singh Public Park & Zoo – This is a popular destination
for families thanks to its small zoo, where children can enjoy viewing a variety
of domestic animals
- Ratan Bihari Temple Park - This magnificent 19th century shrine,
built like a mansion by Ratan Singhji and Sardar Singhji in the Ratan Bihari Park,
is worth a visit.
- Tessitory Public Gardens - This spot is named after Dr LP Tessitori
, an Italian scholar who came to Bikaner in 1915, and made a great contribution
to the bardic literature of this region. He worked and died in Bikaner.
Ancient temples & sites:
- Bhandasar Jain Temple (5 km from Bikaner) - This 16th century temple
is dedicated to the 5th Tirthankar of the Jain faith. It is decorated with exquisite
mirror work, frescoes and gold leaf paintings. It is carved in red sandstone and
- Shiv Bari Temple (6 km from Bikaner) - Built by Dungar Singhji
in the late 19th century, this temple is surrounded by a battlement wall. It has
four-faced black marble Shiva statue and a bronze Nandi facing the Shiva-Lingam.
This red sandstone temple attracts thousands of visitors during Shravan (Feb) especially
- Devi Kund (8 km from Bikaner) - This is the site for the royal
cenotaphs. While most chatries are hand carved in red sandstone, Maharaja Suraj
Singh's chhatri is the most impressive - created entirely in white marble with paintings
on the ceiling.
- Karni Mata Temple (30 km from Bikaner) - This famous shrine is
one of the most popular pilgrimages of the region. The Mata is the tutelary deity
of the erstwhile Bikaner dynasty. The temple is unique as its rats, called kabas,
are venerated and the shrine is a sanctuary for them: They move freely in the temple.
It is believed that these kabas carry souls of future charans (bards - children
of the goddess) who inhabit the town of Deshnok. It is highly auspicious to sight
a white kaba. The temple has fascinating huge silver gates and marble carvings that
were donated by Maharaja Ganga Singh
- Kolayatji Temple (51 Km from Bikaner, on highway to Jaisalmer) -
From Gajner it’s an easy drive to Kolayat, an old pilgrimage. Legend has it that
Kapil Muni of the Vedic fame shed his body under a banyan tree here. Kolayat has
a series of charming marble temple, sandstone pavilions and 32 ghats (bathing places)
built around a huge artificial lake that never dries. You see see sadhus and pilgrms
taking a holy dip, surrounded by the vast emptiness of a timeless atmosphere and
the golden desert. On Karthik Purnima day a grand fair is held in which devotees
from all over the country come for a holy dip in the lake.
- Kalibangan (205 km from Bikaner) - Located in Hanumangarh district,
this is an interesting archaeological site with remnants of the pre-Harappan and
Harappan settlements. Archaeological digs at Kalibanga reveal that Rajasthan had
been an important centre of the ceramic industry. The paintings on the ancient pottery
from Kalibanga bear a close resemblance with Harappan designs. The Harappan ruins
include a cemetery and a fortified citadel.
- Regal dining in the Sand Dunes. A jeep or camel safari, for 10 to 50 guests, adds
to the sense of adventure and the natural beauty of the sand dunes near the Gajner
sanctuary. Dance and music make it a magical evening on the sand dunes.
- Birdwatch at Gajner Sanctuary
- Sail in the Solar Boat
- Know the Gajner Calender of Events to plan your next visit
- Jeep Safari
Desert Car Rally; Desert Festival
Celebration of Holi, the festival of colours
Romance of the Raj
Local handicrafts and handlooms on display and sale
Art Camp – painters and sculptors invited
Jewellers from Bikaner and the rest of Rajasthan invited for the Jewellery Exhibition
Desert Dance, Kolayat Festival