Bikaner

Bikaner is an exceptionally rare jewel – a Rajasthani city of splendid havelis and palaces that somehow is still off the beaten track. It could be one of your finest finds if you like your destinations less trodden yet no less majestic or romantic.

Bikaner’s history and identity is inextricably linked with that of its ruling family and their seat of power, the red sandstone Junagarh Fort that lies at the heart of the city. Most of what was built by those warriors, the Rathores, scions of the Jodhpur royals, still stands, a testimony as much to the quality of the construction as to the arid conditions that prevent decay.

The expansive vistas of the Lallgarh Palace are another unmissable attraction. Its architectural plan was drafted by Sir Swinton Jacob, the foremost architect of the early 20th century. Lallgarh is reputed to be the best exemplar of a Rajput palace, its façade is composed of the pierced stone screens called jaalis. Part of Lallgarh is now a luxury heritage hotel and another a museum.

The Ganga Govt Museum, also known as Darbar Hall is housed in a majestic Palace building on its own. It is entirely taken up by clan memorabilia and a delightful collection of everything related to the royal family from a World War I fighter aircraft to the original sandalwood throne of the Rathores.

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Our Accommodation Ratings

Opulent: Exceptional, unashamedly the best of sheer luxury. (£££££)

Luxury: Outstanding levels of 5* comfort, hospitality and facilities. (££££)

Premium: Excellent levels of comfort and hospitality and a wide range of facilities. (£££)

Mid-Range: Good levels of comfort and hospitality, with a reasonable range of facilities. (££)

Simple: Clean and simple, no frills. Often in areas of natural beauty or near wildlife reserves. (£)