Bikaner is a district in the northwest of Rajasthan, formerly the capital of a princely state. The city was founded by Rao Bika in 1486 and from its small origins it has developed into the fourth largest city in Rajasthan. In the past Bikaner occupied an important position on the ancient caravan routes and served as a prime trading centre to merchants from West/Central Asia. A 7 km long wall with five gates surrounds the city. 30 kms south of Bikaner is Deshnok – famous for its temple (Karni Mata) which is full of rats. These free-roaming rodents are worshipped as reincarnations of departed souls.

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