Up until the 15th century, the area around Bikaner was a wilderness. However, when an outpost rose from an oasis, an important trade stop established from the north and south regions of India.
In 1488, Rao Bika, son of the Majarstha Rao Jodha who founded Jodhpur, wanted a kingdom for himself. Therefore, he settled for the vast wasteland of Jamgladesh in the northern region of the Thar Desert and founded the ‘Settlement of Bika,’ or Bikaner. The city that rose from the dust now stands as Rajasthan’s fourth largest city, and a more pleasant change of pace if coming from the hectic metropolis of Delhi to the north or the dry desert to the south. The town grew wealthy over the decades and centuries, where a stroll through the center of town is evidenced of such as carefully crafted havelis, or merchants homes, adorn the streets.
Catching the attention of most explorers to Bikaner is undoubtedly the opulent Junagarh Fort, a 16th century masterpiece of architecture. Inside, the walls are plastered with skins of Bengal Tigers and leopards, a showcase of the wealth of the royal families who lived here, as well as expensive vases and artwork. One could imagine a symphony of song coming from one of the rooms where a royal wedding plays out, or parties taking place in the carefully crafted gardens filled with peacocks. For a city seemingly lost in Western India, the riches experienced here could surpass even the wildest of imaginations, and an evidence the wealth that the later periods of the Silk Roads brought to this region.
THE SILK ROAD JOURNAL
How We Got Here
We arrived in the desert via train from Bikaner to Jaisalmer. We further explored the desert from a two-day camel safari.
After a few days spent in chaotic Delhi, Bikaner was a delight in its slower pace and friendly locals, laying the foundation for the remainder of our time in Bikaner.
An unexpected invitation to a wedding in a palace, where we gazed at the festivities and dancing in amusement.
➨ Junagarh Fort
S N A P S H O T S O N T H E R O A D
W H E R E W I L L Y O U R J O U R N E Y T A K E Y O U N E X T ?
For a seemingly small town in the wastelands of Rajasthan, Bikaner surprised you with its opulent wealth and hearty welcome. But don't expect such a warm welcome in the next destination, as you are headed to the bustling and busy capital of India - Delhi