The Junagarh fort, built in 1593 A.D., is a formidable structure encircled by a moat and with some beautiful palaces within. These palaces, made in red sandstone (Dulmera) and marble, make a picturesque ensemble of courtyards, balconies, kiosks and windows dotted all over the structure. The imposing fort has 986 long walls with 37 bastions and two entrances. It is approached through the Karan Poal which is the main entrance. Among the palaces of interest are Anop mahal, Ganga niwas and Rang mahal or palace of pleasure. The Anoop Mahal is famous for its gold leaf painting. Har Mandir is a majestic chapel where the royal family worshiped their Gods and Goddesses. Chandra mahal or moon palace has exquisite paintings on the lime plaster walls and Phool mahal or the Flower palace is decorated with inset mirror work. The gigantic columns, arches and graceful screens grace the palaces. Karan Mahal was built to commemorate a notable victory over the Mughal Aurangzeb. The other important parts are Durbar Hall, Gaj mandir, Sheesh Mahal or mirror chamber etc.
At Devi Kund Sagar is located the Royal Crematorium. There are a number of exquisite cenotaphs which were built in memory of the deceased members of the ruling family of Bikaner. The Chhatries (Cenotaphs) of the early rulers were made of red sandstone, and the ornamentation on some of them greatly resembles the carving work on some of the buildings of the Fatehpur Sikri. Maharaja Suraj Singh's Chhatri is the most impressive of all, created entirely with white marble and adorned with spectacular Rajput paintings on the ceiling. The later cenotaphs were made from marble and very beautifully sculpted and ornamented. Rajput paintings adorn the ceiling of some of the cenotaphs.
Situated 205 kms from the city of Bikaner, is the small town of Kalibanga. The remnants of the pre-Harappan and Harappan settlements have been found at this place. A site of delight for the archaeology enthusiasts, its archaeology dates back to the Harappan and pre-Harappan times. Archaeology at Kalibanga reveals that Rajasthan had been an important centre of the ceramic industry. The paintings on the ancient pottery from Kalibanga bear close affinity and resemblance with the Harappan designs. The contemporary potters of Rajasthan were fully aware of the ceramic handicrafts and industry of the Indus Valley civilisation. The extensive remains of the pre-Harappan and Harappan civilizations, found at this place in the Hanumangarh district, are of immense interest. This place houses immense treasure of our past and is of particular interest to archaeology enthusiasts. Discovered by A. Ghosh (director-general of the Archaeological Survey of India), this site, is of archaeological significance because it contains both pre-Harappan and Harappan remains; and therein can be seen the transition between the two cultures. Although the pre-Harappan culture worked copper and produced pottery, it had no writing system, and its ruins lack the orderly layout and use of baked brick that is found in the later Harappan sites. Excavations reveal that Rajasthan had been an important centre of the ceramic industry. The paintings on the ancient pottery bear close affinity and resemblance with the Harappan designs. The contemporary potters of Rajasthan were well aware of the Indus Valley ceramic handicrafts and industry. The Harappan remains include a cemetery and a fortified citadel.
Ganga Golden Jubilee Museum was established in the year 1937 near the Lalgarh Palace in Bikaner. The museum is now run by the Government of Rajasthan, and the venue of the same has been shifted to a new building in the civil lines in 1954. It has one of the richest collections of Terracotta ware, weapons, paintings of Bikaner school and coins. The exhibits are splendid master pieces from the time of the Harappan civilisation, the Gupta Empire in India and the Kushan era and sculptures of the late classical time. Some principal sections of the museum are: Maharaja Ganga Singh Memorial, local arts and crafts, history, sculpture, terracotta and bronzes, armory, miniature paintings and folk-arts, Dr. L.P. Tessitori Memorial Section, and Lithoprints of the British interpretation of the war of Independence 1857. Among the major exhibits of the museum is the Furgal (Silk Robe) of Prince Salim dating back to 1596 AD. It was presented by Crown Prince Salim, to Raja Rai Singh of Bikaner, one of his closest officials. The Historical Mughal Farmans, are another interesting display here. The History of Bikaner contains a colourful record of war adventures. More than half a dozen rulers lost their lives while participating in the imperial campaigns of the Mughals. Various 'Farmans' bearing original Imperial seals, issued by the Emperors - Jahangir, Shah Jahan, Aurangzeb and Shah Alam, are preserved in this museum. Apart from these, the museum houses a fine collection of exquisite miniature paintings in Rajasthan, the finest collection of early terracotta art in the country, sculptures, lacquered works and wood and stone carvings.
Gajner Palace has often been described as 'an incomparable jewel in the Thar desert'. The palace stands on the embankment of a lake. The architecture of Gajner palace is truly outstanding. Built in red sandstone with intricately carved pillars, jharokhas and screens, the craftsmanship here is amazing. A part of the palace has been transformed into a hotel. The Gajner Wildlife Sanctuary provides shelter to chinkaras, blackbucks, blue bull (nilgai), wild boar and flocks of imperial sand grouse and many other birds and waterfowls which flock here in large numbers.
These are the various places of leisure tourism that the district of Bikaner offers its tourists.