Bikaner (Rajasthan)

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In 1488 Rao Bika established the city of Bikaner. Rao Bika was the second son of Maharaja Rao Jodha of the Rathor clan, As the second son of Joda he had no chance of inheriting Jodhpur from his father or the title of Maharaja. He therefore decided to build his own kingdom in what is now the state of Bikaner. Though it was in the Thar Desert, Bikaner was considered an oasis on the trade route between Central Asia and the Gujarat coast as it had adequate spring water. Bika’s name was attached to the city he built and to the state of Bikaner that he established. Bika built a fort in 1478, which is now in ruins, and a hundred years later a new fort was built about 1.5 km from the city centre, known as the Junagarh Fort. Ganga Singh who ruled from 1887 to 1943, was the best-known of the Rajasthan princes and was a favourite of the British Governors-General. The royal family still lives in a suite in the Lalbagh Palace, which they have converted into a heritage hotel.

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