Bikaner is possibly the most underrated city in Rajasthan. It is a destination that is neither widely visited nor is it known like the popular nearby cities of Jaipur, Udaipur, Jodhpur and Jaisalmer. In fact, it is often only seen as a good stopover en-route to Jaisalmer or Jodhpur. Except in reality, it has much more to offer than that or its famous namkeens and sweets.
Boasting plenty of ancient edifices, architectural marvels, and streets full of Instagrammable sights, Bikaner is a photographer’s paradise in every sense of the word. Home to intricate havelis, plush palaces, mesmerising forts, and a glorious past, it is a city frozen in time in the middle of the Thar Desert. From exploring splendid temples, to seeing picturesque sand dunes and cenotaphs, you will be surprised to know how much there is to grasp in Bikaner.
So, if you are looking for a city in Rajasthan that has the princely charm and grandeur that the state is famous for, but without the crowds, then Bikaner is perfect for you. In this article, I have compiled a list of the 11 best Instagrammable spots in Bikaner that I personally loved. All you have to do now is get yourself there and explore!
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1. Junagarh Fort
Because how can you travel to Rajasthan and not see a picturesque fort, right? Built in the late 16th century by Raja Rai Singh, Junagarh Fort is one of the most famous landmarks of Bikaner. It is renowned for the exquisite work of sixteen rulers that called it home during different eras, showcasing several architectural designs with both Rajput and British influence.
When visiting Junagarh Fort, you will not only see parts of the fort that were constructed in the 16th century. But also go on a journey through time by gazing at other mahals and architectural elements that were added afterwards by succeeding kings. My favourite was the Chandra Mahal with its lavish gold plated deities, bedrooms and paintings. The detailing on the walls there was unlike anything I had seen before!
From numerous rooms and courtyards, to temples and palaces built in completely distinct decors, Junagarh Fort indeed is a must-see Instagrammable spot in Bikaner. During the two hours that my family and I spent there, I don’t think my camera stopped clicking for more than a minute or two at once.
How to get there: Junagarh Fort is located in the middle of the main city of Bikaner and is easily accessible by taxi, auto-rickshaws, private cars and more. Since it is one of the very few forts in Rajasthan that is not built on a hilltop, you can even reach here by foot if staying nearby.
Opening times: 10 am – 4:30 pm
Best time to go: Bikaner is not that crowded in general, so anytime is good to visit most places there. But since this is the most famous spot in the city, I would still recommend to be one of the first ones in at 10 am.
We visited at 3:30 pm and were still able to take unobstructed pictures after waiting a few minutes at some spots. Still if you can, try to arrive earlier as the fort is huge and you will need more time to see it properly and not feel rushed.
Entrance Fee: INR 50 for Indian nationals and INR 300 for foreign tourists. Student discount is available with a valid ID.
2. Rampuria Haveli
Acknowledged as the pride of Bikaner, the Rampuria Haveli is a cluster of seven ornate mansions belonging to a wealthy merchant family of the bygone era. They were constructed in the 15th century using the signature red sandstone of Bikaner called Dulmera. Today, they are widely admired and captured for their exquisite designs, jharokas and carvings.
Honestly speaking, Rampuria Haveli is the place in Bikaner that I was the most excited to visit and photograph. The architecture of these traditional homes and their aesthetic colours always intrigued me to visit Bikaner and learn about the years of history that these small, winding lanes have witnessed. Having been there finally, I can attest that these havelis are every bit as beautiful as they look on Instagram (if not more).
If you only have time to visit one place in Bikaner and love beautiful buildings, then definitely head here. The small area with the havelis is a treat for the eyes, especially those of street photographers and door lovers. From turquoise to red, brown, golden and more, be ready to come across several Instagram-worthy doors and windows here. I loved the architecture of these havelis so much that I ended up going there twice!
How to get there: The most photographed Rampuria Haveli (which is also a homestay!) is located on Joshiwara street in the walled city of Bikaner. The roads there aren’t that big, so it is best to hail an auto-rickshaw to drop you there or hire one for a few hours. You can also get there on foot and see the area on a heritage walking tour.
Opening times: All day
Best time to go: Sunrise or early morning is the best time to visit the Rampuria Haveli. All of them are located on a small lane that sees two way traffic throughout the day. We visited at both 6:30 am and 10 am during our stay, and found the latter a little tiring due to vehicles continuously going up and down the street. Besides, the light is also best in the morning for photography if you want to avoid backlight and shadows on the buildings.
Entrance Fee: Free
3. The Walled City of Bikaner
Although the Rampuria Havelis are the most iconic and photographed part of the walled city of Bikaner, there is a lot more to discover and capture in this area. We spent a few hours strolling in the narrow lanes there and stumbled upon many more beautiful havelis, Instagrammable doors and temples.
Similar to other places in Rajasthan, the old city of Bikaner was also protected by a large wall. When entering or leaving this area, make sure to stop at the grand Kote Gate and snap a picture or two. It is one of the famous landmarks of Bikaner that has gone through the test of time and is still standing tall even after 500 years of existence. The many local shops and eateries dotted along the Kote Gate are worth checking out too.
If you are fond of wandering around without a plan, then keep an hour or two aside and walk the length and breadth of the Old Town streets to uncover historic gems. The popular Bhanwar Niwas Palace is also located in this part of Bikaner. Belonging to the same merchant family as the above havelis, it is now a heritage hotel that was constructed in 1927 for Bhanwarlalji Rampuria. You can enter inside and look around it’s scrumptious courtyard or stop for a meal and some tea.
CG’s tip: Bhanwar Niwas Palace was closed when I visited Bikaner, so make sure to call them up before visiting to double check.
How to get there: The roads leading to Kote Gate are not tiny and you can easily drive there and park your car behind Ratan Bihari temple. From there, I would recommend exploring the area on foot or hiring an auto-rickshaw.
Opening times: All day
Best time to go: Early morning is an ideal time to explore the walled city too as Bikaner gets quite hot during the day. You can visit the Rampuria Haveli first and then continue on the same street to discover more architectural gems nearby. On your way back, you can stop at Kote Gate to visit the colourful bazaar and indulge in the city’s famous sweets and snacks while souvenir shopping.
Entrance Fee: Free
4. Seth Bhandasar Jain Temple
Out of the many temples in Bikaner, Seth Bhandasar Jain Temple is the most beautiful to see. Dedicated to Sumatinatha, the 5th Tirthankara, it is a three-storey religious landmark that is a sight to behold because of its splendid interiors. From delicate leaf-paintings and colourful frescos, to patterned mirror work and detailed stone carvings, every corner there is photo-worthy.
The Seth Bhandasar Jain Temple (aka Bhanda Shah Jain Temple) was built in the mid-15th century and has a fascinating tale related to its construction. According to the legends, it was made using 40,000 kg of ghee (clarified butter) in place of water in the mortar to combat the scarcity of the latter in the region. I had no clue about this before visiting, but the priest said that visitors can verify for themselves in the summer months when the ghee starts to melt and rise up. Looking back, some corners there were slippery for sure!
CG’s tip: When visiting this temple, you will have to take off your shoes. The floor was incredibly clean when I went. But if you are going there in the afternoon when the sun is up, then the floor outside can be really hot to step on (trust me, I know). Another thing to note is that you cannot wear or take any leather products inside this temple.
How to get there: The roads leading to this temple are very narrow and cannot be easily accessed via four wheelers. I would recommend you to visit here in an auto-rickshaw or on foot for a seamless experience. This Jain Temple is only a few minutes away from Rampuria Haveli, so you can easily club your visit there with this and the other parts of the walled city.
Opening times: Morning or evening hours; as the temple closes for a few hours in the afternoon and reopens from 4 pm onwards.
Best time to go: Seth Bhandasar Jain Temple is a hidden gem in Bikaner and is largely free of tourists. However, there are often locals praying in the morning hours, so it would be best to visit when it reopens at 4 pm for nice pictures. You can snap some photos inside the temple and then also visit the top for a beautiful sunset overlooking the old city. Just make sure to not go too late as it gets crowded again for evening aarthi (prayer).
Entrance Fee: Free, but there is a INR 25 charge for videos.
5. Laxmi Niwas Palace
Laxmi Niwas Palace is the grandest amongst all the palaces in Bikaner. It was completed in 1902 and was the former residence of the late Maharaja Ganga Singh Ji. Nowadays, it is a luxury heritage hotel that is a sight for sore eyes due to its dreamlike splendour.
The exterior of this palace-turned-hotel is massive and there are a lot of picturesque corners to admire and capture whilst there. Even if you are not planning to stay at Laxmi Niwas Palace in Bikaner, I would still recommend visiting to tour the property and have a meal in their royal dining room. The Rajasthani Thali that I had there was one of the best I have ever tasted, and I live in Rajasthan!
The Laxmi Niwas Palace is built using the traditional Dulmera sandstone of Bikaner with detailed carvings. It is made in the Indo-Saracenic style and has an abundance of beautiful sights to offer to visiting photographers. The big garden at the front of the hotel, in particular, is ideal to shoot the entire palace. The swimming pool area with the turquoise windows and rooftop with picturesque chhatris and arches are also equally photo-worthy.
How to get there: Laxmi Niwas Palace is located on Dr. Karni Singhji Road. You can drive here in your own vehicle or hire a taxi to drop you. The guard at the entrance of the hotel will ask for the purpose of your visit, so it is best to have a lunch/dinner reservation or hotel booking from before.
Opening times: All day
Best time to go: Before sunset for sure. Since it is a luxury hotel, the property is not that crowded and you can take nice pictures without people photobombing. The sunset from their roof is really beautiful, so make sure to take photos at the ground level first and then head to the top floor. After this, you can end your visit with an early dinner in the main courtyard.
Entrance Fee: INR 500 for non-hotel guests which is deductible from your dining bill. For overnight stays, you can check the prices and availability here.
6. Lallgarh Palace
Lallgarh Palace is another luxurious palace in Bikaner. It is situated in the same complex as Laxmi Niwas Palace and was the residence of Maharaja Ganga Singh Ji. In fact, the royal family of Bikaner still has a private wing in the property, where they live even today. The other sections, however, have been restored into a heritage hotel managed by the emperor’s trust.
The Lallgarh Palace was also built in the red sandstone of Thar Desert with stone carvings. If you are fond of royal history and treasures, then you can also visit the Sadul Niwas wing of Lallgarh Palace that houses a museum dedicated to royal artefacts. But, keep in mind that visitors of just the museum aren’t allowed to access the hotel section of the property without a reservation or booking.
I personally did not get the time to tour the Lallgarh Palace from inside, but have seen beautiful pictures of its delightful interiors on Pinterest. The indoor swimming pool, in particular, looks straight out of a Wes Anderson movie. If you are visiting or staying at the nearby Laxmi Niwas Palace, then you can also get a bird’s eye perspective of Lallgarh Palace from the roof. It really is a splendid sight at sunset!
How to get there: Lallgarh Palace is adjoining Laxmi Niwas Palace, so you can simply walk the distance between the two. You can stay at either and visit the other as per your convenience. If staying elsewhere, you can reach the palace complex by a private vehicle or taxi.
Opening times: The hotel is open all day, but Sri Sadul Museum is operational only from 10 am – 5 pm every day except Sunday.
Best time to go: It is not a very busy touristic landmark in Bikaner, so you can visit whenever you get the chance. I would just recommend to club your visit to both the palaces together to avoid coming to the same location twice.
Entrance Fee: INR 10 for the museum. For overnight stays, you can check the current rate and availability here.
7. The Thar Desert
Similar to the golden city of Jaisalmer, Bikaner is also located in the Thar Desert. If you are not travelling to the former, then make sure to at least visit the sand dunes in Bikaner to get some beautiful desert photos whilst in Rajasthan. Just keep in mind that the landscape of Bikaner is a little more humble when it comes to big dunes.
There are several activities and experiences that you can choose from to make the best out of your trip to the desert. From a camel safari at sunset, to staying overnight in a camp, to dining under the stars in the middle of nowhere, the options are nearly limitless. Irrespective of which one you go for, sand dunes and the desert will make for a great Instagram backdrop!
The Bikaner Camel Festival is also popular amongst both domestic and international tourists. It happens every year towards the end of January and is a fun event to witness and learn more about the local life. You can also visit ICAR-National Research Centre on Camel to learn more about them. After all, they are the state of animal of Rajasthan.
How to get there: Some of the safari companies in Bikaner offer pick up and drop off from/to your accommodation. If you are looking to visit on your own, then you can hire a private taxi or auto-rickshaw to reach there.
Opening times: All day
Best time to go: Sunset is the best time to visit the Thar Desert. The sand dunes can be really hot in the afternoon, so it is better to go later. After all, there are very few things that are more beautiful than a sunset in the desert.
Entrance Fee: It depends on the excursion you choose. Have a look at the offers from the popular Rao Bikaji Camel Safari here.
8. Devi Kund Sagar
Devi Kund Sagar, also known as Bikaner Royal Cenotaphs, is one of the best places to visit in Bikaner. It is a crematorium ground of the Bikaner royal family, with hundreds of beautiful cenotaphs or chattris built in their honour. These cenotaphs are particularly interesting to visit for their admirable Rajputana and Mughal architecture.
The chattris that were constructed earlier are made in the red and pink sandstone that is seen throughout the city. The newer ones, on the other hand, are built in white marble and are equally as picturesque. The newest cenotaph at Devi Kund Sagar is of Maharaja Narendra Singh Ji, the last reigning king of Bikaner, who passed away in 2003.
When visiting the Royal Cenotaphs, remember to be respectful and to not climb on any of the cenotaphs as they are considered sacred. I have come across a few pictures on Instagram with people standing on the top, so it is important to point out that that is not actually allowed. Trust me, the pictures and videos from the ground will be just as Instagram worthy!
CG’s tip: You will be required to take your shoes off when entering. The floor can be a little dirty, so carry some dirt removal wipes to clean your feet afterwards.
How to get there: Devi Kund Sagar is located around 9 km away from the city centre of Bikaner. I would recommend hiring a taxi or auto-rickshaw for a few hours and visiting the cenotaphs in that. The area near the cenotaphs felt a little deserted to me, so it is best to arrange for the same transport to bring you back to the main city.
Opening times: 9 am – 5 pm
Best time to go: Being a hidden gem in Bikaner, Devi Kund Sagar doesn’t see that many visitors. We went there near closing time to avoid the harsh light during the day and absolutely loved how magnificent the chhatris looked during the golden hour. There were only a handful of people at that time and the light was incredible to take photos in as well. I would recommend to avoid going in the afternoon as the floor can be really hot to walk on.
Entrance Fee: INR 5 for Indian tourists and INR 10 for foreigners.
9. Gajner Palace and Gajner Wildlife Sanctuary
Situated on the shores of the pristine Gajner Lake, the Gajner Palace is an oasis surrounded by lush green forests. It is a luxury heritage hotel that was once a hunting lodge of the rulers of Bikaner. The Gajner Wildlife Sanctuary is only a few steps away from the palace.
From beautiful pillars and domes made with red sandstone, to distinctive terraces and balconies overlooking the lake, staying at Gajner palace is perfect for you if you are looking for an escape close to nature. You can ask the property to organise a private jeep safari in the sanctuary or go on a boat ride on the lake to take the surroundings in.
The setting of the Gajner Palace is incredibly serene and the best thing is that you can visit there even when not staying at the property. Although if you can, I highly recommend spending a night (or two) there. With day visitors yet to arrive, the early morning hours are unbelievably serene with just birds and peacocks around.
How to get there: The Gajner Palace is located at an approximate distance of 33 km from the city of Bikaner. The best way to reach there from Bikaner is via taxi, which will take you around 30 minutes depending on the traffic. There are also buses leaving from Bikaner Junction to Gajner, but this option can get tiring if you are planning to return the same day.
Opening times: The hotel is open all day to guests and the Gajner wildlife sanctuary timings are 10 am – 5 pm.
Best time to go: The best time to visit Gajner Palace, Lake and Wildlife Sanctuary is morning and evening. Afternoons in Rajasthan are generally too hot to explore comfortably. More so in Bikaner, due to its close proximity to the desert. Besides, the soft light at sunrise and sunset reflects beautifully on the lake and is ideal for photos.
Entrance Fee: INR 100 for the day visitor entry. For overnight stays at Gajner Palace, you can check the prices and availability here.
10. Narendra Bhawan
Depicting glorious tales of the last reigning king of Bikaner, Maharaja Narendra Singh Ji, Narendra Bhawan is a boutique heritage hotel that also happens to be one of the iconic Instagrammable spots in Bikaner.
From artistic interiors and modern décor, to dreamlike façade and a pleasing courtyard, every corner at Narendra Bhawan is perfectly curated and designed. In the two nights that my family and I spent there, I found myself grabbing my camera every few seconds throughout our stay. Like all of this wasn’t enough, there also is a rooftop pool overlooking the entire city.
So if there is one hotel that I could recommend you to stay at when visiting Bikaner, then this aesthetic property would definitely be it. I didn’t get the opportunity to try all of their experiences during my visit, but the Merchant Trail that takes guests into the labyrinth of the Old City is perfect for those looking to explore the havelis of Bikaner with a guide.
How to get there: Narendra Bhawan is located in Samta Nagar, not too far from Laxmi Niwas Palace. You can visit Narendra Bhawan by a taxi or auto-rickshaw. As for the way back, you can ask the hotel to arrange for a transport for you, but there are often auto-rickshaws available on standby outside.
Opening times: All day
Best time to go: The building of Narendra Bhawan looks its absolute best with soft light reflecting on it at sunrise and sunset. But if you are looking to take interior shots, then anytime during the day is good too.
Entrance Fee: Free if you are staying there or visiting for a meal. For overnight stays, check prices and availability for Narendra Bhawan here.
11. Bikaji Ki Tekri
If you were thinking that I must have covered all the forts and palaces in Bikaner by now, then you are mistaken. Built by Rao Bika, the founder of Bikaner, Bikaji Ki Tekri was actually the first fort in the city. It was constructed around 500 years ago and is the oldest standing structure in the region.
If you like visiting off-beat landmarks, then make sure to stop by here and amble around. The fort itself is more on the humble side when it comes to extravagant architecture, but is worth visiting for its historic significance. The chhatris of Rao Bika, along with a few other emperors, are also situated at Bikaji Ki Tekri.
CG’s tip: If you find the front entrance to be closed or locked from inside, then simply knock and wait for the guard to show up. He will open the door and let you in.
How to get there: Bikaji Ki Tekri is located in Hammalon Ki Bari, close to Seth Bhandasar Jain Temple. The roads in this area are tiny so I would recommend visiting in an auto-rickshaw, two-wheeler or on foot. You can hire an auto-rickshaw for a few hours and club all the spots in the area together.
Opening times: 10 am – 6 pm
Best time to go: Bikaji Ki Tekri is not a majorly visited landmark in Bikaner, so you can go there anytime during the opening hours and have a majority of the place free of big crowds. If you are visiting the walled city area in the morning, then you can simply head here once it opens.
Entrance Fee: Free
Map of the best Instagrammable Spots in Bikaner
To make your time in Bikaner even more convenient, I have also created a custom map containing all the best Bikaner photo points for you. This way you can club places that are closer in one outing and plan your trip more easily.
Just click on the bracket in the upper right corner and the map will automatically open in Google Maps on your device. You can leave it open to come back to it later or share with friends and family.
That’s a wrap on the best Instagrammable spots in Bikaner from me! I had an incredible time exploring this lesser visited city in Rajasthan and loved taking pictures at these spots. I hope that this list about the best Bikaner photo spots turns out to be useful for you. In case you are looking for more information about Bikaner, my Bikaner travel guide and Devi Kund Sagar guide may also be helpful.
If you have any further questions about Bikaner, or India in general, then don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. I love hearing from you and helping you plan your next trip!
Want to keep reading? You may also like my other posts on India such as “The Best Instagrammable Spots In Jaipur“, “A complete guide to Amer Fort” and “A Complete Travel Guide to Munnar: The Tea Capital of Kerala, India“.
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