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Bikaner

A beauty nestled in the arid, rocky scrubland of rippling sands. Well the most fascinating part of Rajasthan journeys is the road travel giving you unending views of remote deserts and the straight lonely roads. One has to be careful as cattle and goats do pop in on highways and their turns and gestures are highly unexpected. The Shekhawati regions have harsh deserts with no dhabas along the way hence top up food before touching this route.  

Bikaner is a small city which cam much into focus due to Jaisalmer became major tourist attraction. Bikaner has a historic importance of being the old caravan route linking Persia and North India in Thar Desert.  Rao Bika established  Bikaner in 1486. The old part of Bikaner city is surrounded by a stone wall that is 1530 feet (59 m) high and has five gates. Well this some information I gathered from this new place. Ofcourse this place offers the best Rajasthan food - Dal Baati, Dal Fry, Besan Gatta, Churmu and Missi rotis.

The local baazars are colourful and Bikaner is famous for Haldiram, but apart from Haldiram there are lots of local shops too specialicing in bhujias and the local delicacies. To try out one is the Bikaner Bhujia Bandar at the station road. Gandhi market is good for shopping. One can also take home meetha pan and other mouth freshners from here.


Bikaner the city in the desert always had a colourful image in our minds. The long weekend combining a weekend and Gandhi Jayanti was an ideal time for a short trip to this land famous for delicacies like Rasgullas, Bhujias and Papads. Mouth watering!

Our route was :-

Delhi - Dharuhera - Bheror - Kotputli - Neem ka Thana - Jhunjunu - Udaipur wati - Sikar - Fatehpur - Ratangarh - Bikaner.


The total distance is 525 kms and we took around 9 hrs to reach Bikaner. A breakup with distance in tabular form is given below.


Destinations in Rajasthan
Place
Distance
Time

Delhi (start)
0
6.25 am (startup time)

Dharuhera
70 kms
7.20 am

Break 8.25 to 8.55 am

Bheror
67 kms
9.00 am
Toll of Rs 35/-
Kotputli - Right turn
23 kms
9.15 am

Neem ka Thana
48 kms
10.00 am

Jhunjunu - Udaipurwati
45 kms
11.10 am
Berfore Udaipurwati (4kms) there is a gol chakkar. Take a turn and then take right for Sikar.
Sikar
40 kms
11.50 am

Fatehpur
50 kms
12.30 pm

Ratangarh
107 kms
1.30 pm

Bikaner
75 kms
2.20 pm

Total distance
525 kms
9 hours

The road to Bikaner
The arid deserts
The short memorable trip of Bikaner

After a tiring trip we took  dinner at Gallops (the only non veg restaurant in Bikaner). The food was good and along with food one can take a blow of the hookah in various flavors. Ice cream at Nature's completed our memorable day. The next day we returned back to Delhi. 





Entry to Karni Mata temple
Pictures in Karni Mata temple
Pictures in Karni Mata temple
The next day morning after a light breakfast we set out for Deshnok. Kids were exicted about their visit to the rats temple. Since Dusshera was just over we were told that the temple was crowded and stinking and so on but still we took up 32 km away to visit world famous 17th century Karni Mata temple on a positive note. Karni mata is suppossed to be the goddess of the Bikaner Royal family. The temple as such was a illusion as such but once I stepped into the temple I had mixed feelings. Rats and rats everywhere (called the kabas ie the children of the goddess), some drinking milk, some lazying around, some sleeping, some relishing laddoos. Rats and rats everywhere, one has to really take care on each step as not to hurt one. It looked quite unbelievable that it was a temple. People were making offerings, some touching the rats with a sense of respect and placing the hand on their head. Karni mata is an incarnation of Goddess Durga.

After our prayers we returned back and took to the Basant Vihar for an ethnic Rajasthani lunch.
The carriage outside Basant Vihar hotel
Junagarh fort
The next destination after lunch was Junagarh fort one of the most impressing and beautiful, well maintained forts built in red sandstone. Built in 1593 by Raja Rai Singh this fort located in the city is not on a hill unlike the other forts. The imposing fort has 986 long wall 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- a majestic chapel where the royal family worshiped there 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 museum just within the fort complex has the the royal costumes of the kings and queens, their furnitures, cutlery and so on. World War I fighter aircraft, narrow passages, high narrow staicases, highest point of the fort and some places where one can take a few memorable clicks.

We had a chance to meet the present princess of Bikaner Princess Siddhi Kumari, and were awestuck at her simplicity and friendliness.


Some pictures in Junagarh fort
Some pictures from the museum
 
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