Blogs from Bikaner, Rajasthan, India, Asia


Asia » India » Rajasthan » Bikaner February 4th 2018

Return to India 9 (click on 'previous' below the panoramas for earlier blogs) 2nd February 2018 Forts, Rats, Vultures ad Cranes Bikaner, Rajasthan Continuing the travels of two somewhat elderly brothers, David (of ‘the grey haired nomads’) and the younger, Mike, (aka, ‘keep smiling’). It's mild enough for shirt-sleeves on our short stroll after breakfast today, from our hotel to the enormous sandstone Junagarh Fort on the edge of town. Like many of Rajasthan's forts this one is built to impress, that's for sure. Constructed back in the mid-sixteenth century for ruler Raja Rai Singh, this truly massive fort covers an impressive 5.28 hectares! It's impossible not to stand and stare in wonder at its enormity; let's close our eyes for a moment and take a deep breath before we move on: past the boating lake, ... read more
Junagarh Fort
Inside the Royal chambers
Sound horn and move over!

Asia » India » Rajasthan » Bikaner February 2nd 2018

The alarm clocks sounded their merry chimes far too early. We’d have liked more time with our hospitable host, Raisal, and could easily have spent many more happy hours exploring his interesting little town. But, there's no rest for the wicked - and, with our combined age of 155 years, these two old farts had had plenty of time to be bad so, after a hurried breakfast, Santosh quickly ushered us to our car and we bid a reluctant farewell to Khandela. Off towards the Thar Desert we headed. An uneventful two-hour journey brought us via Sikar and Sujangarh to a long, flat, straight road with even more potholes and missing tarmac than usual. Thankfully, we only had to endure 5 kms (3 miles) of constant bouncing and zigzagging before we reached the entrance to the ... read more
One of the salt-pans at Tal Chhapar
Male blackbuck lekking

Asia » India » Rajasthan » Bikaner July 28th 2017

Rajasthan is a state filled with palaces and forts in all major cities. The ones in Chittorgarh, Jodhpur and Kumbalgarh are very well known, but the Junagarh Fort in Bikaner is quite underrated. The reason I call this a fort unlike any other is that this is not perched on a hill like the other ones. It is right in the center of the city of Bikaner. The city and civilization is built around this fort without disturbing its historic value. The royal family that belong to this fort reside in the Lalgarh Palace in the city's outskirts. This palace is strictly off limits for tourists, but trust me the palace is a sand stone marvel which you can look at all day long! The fort looks very simple from the outside. The entry ticket (Rs.50) ... read more
Nursery for royal babies
Paintings on the ceiling
One of the halls

Asia » India » Rajasthan » Bikaner June 20th 2017

Namaste from India! Home to 1.2 billion people and currently experiencing temperatures of 40+ degrees! We had read before arriving that you don't come to India for a holiday; you come to experience it. And one week in to our two week adventure here, we would have to agree although we are hoping to avoid experiencing the infamous Delhi Belly! Driving here is insane and anyone taking to the streets are known as the Triple D's - Delhi Dare Devils! Drivers have one hand on the horn at all times. The rules of the road appear optional. Indicators - what are they for? Roundabouts - if we're taking the last exit, why go the whole way around when you can just turn right? Dual carriageways - one way traffic? Think again. Cows. Dogs. Goats. Bikes. Rickshaws. ... read more
India Gate
Brad Pitt himself
Delhi temples and monuments

Asia » India » Rajasthan » Bikaner February 20th 2016

Geo: 28.0199, 73.3176 Up early , breakfast and depart 7.30am.Long drive to Bikaner, 2 stops, arrived at 1.45pm for quick lunch. 3.15pm left for National Camel Research Centre. Very interesting seeing the different camels and breeding centre. Also the museum describing how important camels are for the desert dwellers, for transport, milk, hair & hides. Then had a icecream made from camel milk, tasty & creamy. Back to Palace hotel for a look around, our room 3rd floor overlooking back courtyard. Our room was upstairs across the rooftop to a lovely secluded room. Fixtures & fittings were quirky, a little old and strange but this added to the old world feel. Our bathroom was huge, down an internal hallway overlooking a courtyard. Bedroom quite large with a lovely comfortable bed. Small fridge which was noisy so ... read more
Camel farm2
Camel Ice Cream
Tuk Tuk at Camel Farm

Asia » India » Rajasthan » Bikaner January 27th 2016

The train was already 15 minutes late as it pulled out of Abu Road station just after midday. I’d reserved a second class seat in what’s called '2A Class', an air-conditioned carriage with seats that convert to sleeping berths by night. My seat number was occupied by one of a group of people who insisted that they’d also booked it. They hadn’t of course – they just wanted to sit together. With the train conductor’s help, I was given a vacant berth nearby – in a private compartment still set up for night-time use, with one upper and one lower berth, complete with bed linen. Everyone was happy! It was a daytime train but, as it noisily click-clack, click-clacked northwards, the scenery was monotonous dry earth, scrub and a few sand-coloured hills interrupted only by ... read more
The overwhelming Republic Day crowd
'Sorry, stadium full'
Republic Day marchers

Asia » India » Rajasthan » Bikaner January 15th 2016

15/01/16 Arrive in beautiful Pathankot for breakfast and join my Rajastan bound sleeper train @ 11am, climb aboard my favoured shelf,a chilly ride with most under big blankets, doze along before reaching Bikaner junction at midnight. 16/01/16 rough sleep the night in the station waiting room and head out at 7, check my pack into a nearby "hotel", walk to the Town, get in on student rate(?) impressive architecture at scale, decorative & well worth a visit just to see the weapon exhibits & cool old photos, via the post office to the bhandasar temple in the old city, return back to town and catch a 20 inr bus to Karni Mata temple 30ks from town. An irresistible trip to what's known locally as the mouse temple, local descendants of the late Karni Mata fully intend ... read more

Asia » India » Rajasthan » Bikaner August 17th 2014

Geo: 28.0199, 73.3176After leaving Mandawa in the early morning we headed farther out into the Thar Desert. After much driving our first stop of the day was at the 600 year old Kami Mata Temple. The temple is notable for the RATS that live there. Yes, we said rats. There is a Hindu rat god and locals consider a holy rat running over your bare feet to be particularly auspicious. The building was quite ornate on the outside and then when you went inside there were rats running freely everywhere. Because it was a temple you were not allowed to wear shoes inside but socks were allowed. The rats looked very diseased and unhealthy. The whole place was disgusting!After scrubbing our feet with disinfectant we then headed off to Bikaner, an old walled city. There we ... read more
Our dancing teacher
Ornate window in fort

Asia » India » Rajasthan » Bikaner July 23rd 2014

Day 4 - Bikaner and Camel Safari The train journey was a welcome improvement to the ones that I suffered in China! I got on the train, made my bed, was then asleep within the first ten minutes. I was so ready for a marathon sleep. We arrived into Bikaner early in the morning and reached our hotel by 8am. We were driven down in local jeeps to a village hotel called The Tamarind. We have a couple of rooms to freshen up and change. I had breakfast of cornflakes with yoghurt closely followed by toast and jam with a lovely cup of black tea! Ankur explained that this hotel belonged to the late Mahataj Bhairon Singh, Prime Minister of Bikaner State. I really feel like I am in,The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel'! Bikaner is a ... read more

Asia » India » Rajasthan » Bikaner March 4th 2014

Geo: 28.0199, 73.3176 Last night we slept in one of the old royal palaces of a Maharajah, the Hotel Basant Vihar Palace. It is another beautiful very old building, gated off and set far back from the crazily noisy, busy road. We heard nothing as we slept last night, not even the stealthy scurrying of the large cockroach I found dead on the bathroom floor this morning. Today my roommate and I plan on exploring this palace before we head out to Singjy's nephew's home for a Rajput family breakfast (vegan: vegetable oil will be used instead of ghee), one that we will help make. The first chappati or naan or roti is always fed to the cow; if a family does not have a cow, it is fed to whatever cow happens to be walking ... read more

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