The deserts fascinate from a distance but it is only the true lovers of sun and sand who make it their homes and create miracles smack in the middle of the dry arid land mass. The city Bikaner narrates a similar tales of hardship and bravery of the founder, Rao Bikaji, a descendant of Rao Jodhaji.
The city of Bikaner was founded in 1488 from Jangaldesh or the country of wild bushes. It has been almost 550 years since its inception and the city has spread across the desert and has also acquired expertise viz, camel breeding and dry irrigation which is unique to it. Bikaner city alongwith its rocky scrubland, is located on an elevated plain in the desert. The old city is encompassed by a long embattlement wall which intermittently breaks to give way to five huge gates. Now a major trade center for wool, building stones, carpets, blankets, salt and grain, Bikaner has emerged as the lifeline of the state.
The handicraft industry of Bikaner and especially the Ivory and Lacquer ware articles are exquisite. The city acquires a yellowish red hue from the presence of various red and yellow sandstone buildings. The fortified town has a medieval charm about it which oozes from every street traversed by the tourists. Bikaner is renowned for the innovative idea of the filter (intricately carved Jharokas)specially created to provide the womenfolk with an window to view the proceedings outside whilst being hidden.
Apart from the regular tourism features associated with the desert, Bikaner boasts of a unique for overlooking it as well as a thriving market of various Rajasthani art forms. The taste buds can be satiated with a wide assortment of Bhujias, Rasgullas, Papad and Thandai. The Usta art of miniature paintings and gold embossing which is undertaken upon the ceilings, walls, pillars of buildings as well as wooden & glass items and ivory is a speciality of Bikaner.
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by Madhav Srinivasan on Dec 07, 2011
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Travel within city
Bikaner is a very popular tourist destination and one of the thriving cities in the state of Rajasthan. Getting around the city of Bikaner is very easy, given the number of modes of travel present in the city and the sheer number of travel options available. You can travel around Bikaner using any one of these modes and inner city travel is actually a very cheap affair.
The main mode of inner city travel available in Bikaner is its cycle rickshaw. Cycle rickshaws are very much prevalent in this part of India, and in Bikaner it is an ideal mode of transport. You can opt for a cycle rickshaw ride for charges ranging around 5 to 10.
Tongas, or horse pulled carriages are also a much preferred mode of travel, and these cost around the same as cycle rickshaws. Bikaner has only horse carriages and cycle rickshaws because almost all the lanes in this city are very narrow and prone to clogging through sandstorms. Horse drawn carriages or tongas will charge you anywhere around Rs 5 to 20, depending on the distance covered.
You can also rent out a bicycle for a day from one of the local rental agencies, and this will help you travel through the city at your leisure. Rental charges are around Rs 10 per hour or 100 a day. Tongas can be hired for Rs 250 a day.
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