Rao Bika, a young Rathore Rajput prince dared to penetrate the Thar Desert, with its endless stretches of sand dunes, the sun blazing down mercilessly with temperatures often exceeding 45 degrees, and an acute shortage of water. The arid landscape and absence of trees ensured that there was no shelter from the frequent harsh storms. The new kingdom of Bikaner was founded here by this young prince. He thus laid the foundations of a dynasty in 1465, more than five hundred years ago. Successive generations of the family have fought various battles valiantly in faraway lands in India and the world, achieving notable successes. They did not hesitate to spill their blood in protecting their country from invaders.
In recent times, Mahraja Ganga Singh (1887-1943) was the most outstanding ruler, who transformed large areas of dry parched land of the state into lush green fields by building the Ganga Canal in 1927. He was a valiant soldier, a great builder and a famous statesman. His successor Mahraja Sadul Singh (1943-50) was co-architect of India’s unity and played an eminent role in the accession of the princely states to the Dominion of India in 1947. His son Maharaja Dr Karni Singh (1950-88) was a Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha) for twenty-five years and a world renowned sportsman.
The Maharajas of Bikaner by Rajyashree Kumari Bikaner is a fascinating exploration of the deeds and achievements of twenty-five generations of the Royal House of Bikaner. The book is a riveting account of their contribution to art, music, literature and culture, peculiar to Bikaner, and how each of the twenty-five generations have contributed to the growth and development of this once-arid region.