History Files


Far East Kingdoms

South Asia




Rajputana (Bikaner)

Bikaner was one of the Rajput kingdoms of Rajasthan which existed in sixteenth century India in the modern north-west of the country. The Rajputs were Hindu warrior clans, and the word 'rajput' itself literally means 'the son of the king', with the people being known for their valour. This particular state was centred around the city of Bikaner, with its territories lying in the north-west of the modern state of Rajasthan. It was a region of wilderness until Rao Bika established a city there in the late fifteenth century.

There were a number of small Rajput kingdoms which emerged between the sixth to thirteenth centuries, including Amer, Bundi, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Malwa, Kannauj, Mewar, and all were eventually conquered by the Moghuls.

(Information by Abhijit Rajadhyaksha.)

1465 - 1504

Rao Bika

Born 1438. Of the Rathore clan and founder of Bikaner.


Rao Bika is a member of the Rathore clan and is the son of Rao Jodha of Jodhpur. Following a disagreement with his father he leaves Jodhpur and founds the city of Bikaner after building his fort, Rati Ghati, on the site. He ends the rivalry between his clan and the Bati clan by marrying the daughter of their ruler. When refused the family heirlooms (the sandalwood throne, 'Pugal', plus an umbrella, a sword, and a horse) by his brothers, he marches to Fort Mehrangarh and subdues his brothers. He does not harm them, simply regaining his rightful property.

During his reign he also subdues the Jats, Pathans, Bilochis, and Kyamkhanis and annexes their territory to his kingdom. He eventually dies at his fort.

1504 - 1505

Rao Naroji

Son. Lost control over some of his nobles.

1505 - 1526

Rao Lunkaranji succeeds Naroji and subdues the rebelling nobles. He later defeats a Moghul army under Prince Kamran, but dies in battle against the nawab of Narnaul.

1505 - 1526

Rao Lunkaranji

Brother. Married the daughter of the ruler of Mewar.

1526 - 1542

Rao Jait Singhji


Jait Singhji defeats the Bidwats, Chahals,and Johiyas, and expands the kingdom's territory by taking portions of Marwar. He is subsequently killed in battle by Marwar's forces under Rao Maldev.

Fort Bikaner
Bikaner Fort was founded by Rao Bika at the same time as he founded the kingdom

1542 - 1571

Rao Kalyan Singh


Kalyan Singh is forced to flee his kingdom by the forces of Marwar, but he soon recovers it from Rao Maldev thanks to the help of Sher Shah Suri. He also resists an onslaught by the Moghul emperor, Akbar.

by 1570

The Moghul emperor, Akbar, gains the submission of Bikaner, along with the other Rajputs of Bundi, Jaisalmer, and Jodhpur.

1571 - 1611

Raja Raj Singh I

Son. Subdued Jodhpur. Died in the Deccan at Burhanpur.

Raj Singh marries the princess of Jaisalmer, and later becomes Emperor Akbar's general. His own daughter is married to Prince Salim, son of Akbar (and later the Moghul Emperor Jehangir).


On his deathbed, Raj Singh passes over Dalpat in favour of his younger brother, Sur Singh. Dalpat rebels and declares himself king.

1611 - 1614

Raja Dalpat Singh

Son. Usurped the throne. Served as a commander in Moghul army.


Sur Singh takes his brother prisoner and seizes his throne. Dalpat Singh is killed at Ajmer while trying to escape from captivity.

1614 - 1631

Raja Sur Singh


1631 - 1669

Raja Karan Singh

Son. Deposed.


Differences have arisen between the king of Golconda and the Moghul governor of the Deccan, Emperor Shah Jahan's son, Aurangzeb. Aurangzeb's own son is Prince Muhammed, and he is deputed to attack Golconda. Anup Singh, son of Raja Karan Singh, aids him, winning the fort of Golconda.


A war of succession erupts when Moghul Emperor Shah Jahan falls ill. With Karan Singh as one of his supporters, Aurangzeb defeats Dara Shukoh in battle using a mixture of guile and bravery and subsequently seizes power. Karan Singh's later reward is to be deposed by Aurangzeb for dereliction of duty at Attock. He is exiled to Aurangabad in the Deccan, where he dies.

1669 - 1698

Maharaja Anup Singh

Son. Died at Adoni in Deccan.

1698 - 1700

Maharaja Sarup Singh

Son. Succeeded aged 9. Died of smallpox at Adoni.

1700 - 1736

Maharaja Sujan Singh

Brother? Succeeded aged 10. Broke off ties with declining Moghuls.

Sujan Singh assists Emperor Aurangzeb in the Deccan, and successfully wards off attacks from Jodhpur and Nagaur. Once it becomes clear that Moghul power is fading, Sujan Singh breaks off ties (and Moghul control).

1736 - 1745

Maharaja Zorawar Singh



Wars against Marwar are triggered when Abhai Singh of Marwar attacks Bikaner. The capital is saved through the intervention of Raja Sawai Jai Singh II of Jaipur, although Zorawar Singh has to quell rebellions by his own nobles.

1745 - 1787

Maharaja Gaj Singh

Nephew and adopted son.


Maharaja Gaj Singh makes peace with Marwar against the wishes of his nobles. He is also the first of his line to mint his own coins.


Maharaja Raj Singh II

Son. Reigned for 13 days.


Maharaja Pratap Singh

Son. Succeeded aged 6. Died same year, perhaps killed by uncle.

1788 - 1828

Maharaja Surat Singh

Uncle, and regent during Pratap's short reign.

Surat Singh's reign is one of mixed fortunes. He resolves border disputes with Jaipur, and concedes the payment of indemnity to the Marathas after their attack, incurring huge debts in the process. He later applies for British protection after an internal rebellion.

1828 - 1851

Maharaja Narendra Ratan Singh



Narendra Ratan Singh supplies camels to the British in India during their Afghan campaign.

1844 - 1845

The British in India annexe Sindh in 1844, and the Sikhs attack British divisions at Ferozepur. The First Anglo-Sikh War is triggered in 1845. The Sikhs fight well, but eventually succumb to the disciplined British army following betrayals by some of their Dogra generals. Narendra Ratan Singh supplies help to the British for this campaign.

1851 - 1872

Maharaja Sardar Singh


1857 - 1858

The Indian Mutiny (or Great Sepoy Rebellion) against British rule erupts among East India Company native army units at Meerut, near Delhi, but after some hard fighting in places it is suppressed, with Sardar Singh providing support. The British Parliament places India under the direct control of the empire's Viceroys.

1872 - 1887

Maharaja Dungar Singh

Adopted son. Succeeded aged 18.

Dungar Singh is the first to introduce electricity to Rajasthan. he also sets up a police force, a hospital and a modern administrative system.

1887 - 1943

Maharaja Sir Ganga Singh

Brother. Succeeded aged 7.

Sir Ganga Singh accompanies the British army in its campaign into China. He later proves to be an excellent administrator like his brother and ushers in an economic revolution complete with judicial system, banking system, a boosted infrastructure, and public utility works.

1943 - 1950

Maharaja Sadul Singh

Son. Born 1902. Acceded to the Indian union.

1948 - 1949

India achieves independence from Britain and begins the process of taking control of the princely states. Mewar is one of the first of the princely states to merge with the new dominion. Later in 1949, twenty-two princely states of Rajasthan merge to form the Union of Greater Rajasthan, acknowledging the maharana of Udaipur in Mewar as their head.

1950 - 1988

Maharaja Karni Singh

Son. Born 1924.


On 1 November, the state of Rajasthan comes into being. The Rajasthan rulers give up their sovereignty but enjoy privy purses.

1970 - 1971

In 1970 the Indian Parliament decides to abolish the institution of royalty, and the following year the rulers of the former princely states are de-recognised and their privy purses and titles snatched away from them.

1988 - 2003

Maharaja Narendra Singh

Son. Born 1946.

2003 - Present

Maharaja Raviraj Singh