Named after the king Rao Bika and Nera, the leader of a Jat clan that once ruled this barren and wild land, Bikaner has spectacular architectural sites to offer. Situated in Northern Rajasthan it is the fourth largest city of the state. The Junagarh fort, Laxmi Nivas Palace and the Lalgarh Palace are the main attractions of Bikaner. The city is famous for sweets and namkin all over India.
The Junagarh fort originally named Chintamani was built by Raja Rai Singh. Built on a plain it has seven main gates and many palaces. It has 16th century Jain and Hindu temples and beautiful pavilions to boast of. The fort has a little Rajputana, Mughal and British touch to its architecture. The other palace, the Laxmi Nivas Palace was once the residency of Raja Ganga Singh, former king of Bikaner. Built in red sandstone, today it is a heritage hotel.
The Lalgarh Palace is a beautiful palace built with a blend of British and Italian style of architecture. Like the Laxmi Nivas Palace, Sir Swinton Jacob was the architect of this magnificient palace. Divided partly into a heritage hotel and a private royal residency, it houses a museum having important Sanskrit manuscripts and a Sanskrit library. Moolnayakji, a 15th century Vaishnav temple is also worth a wait in Bikaner. Once wild and barren, Bikaner today is a thriving city.