FRIENDLY AND HASSLE FREE
We really enjoyed the absence of touts in Bikaner. Or maybe they just never found us. The local people are however really helpful in regards to finding directions etc. They did not understand much English, but that did not pose a huge problem. Hand signs seemed to suffice.
And their wonderful smiles showed us that we were welcome in their desert city. We saw no other Western tourists on our visit.
The photo is of Tofi- our self -appointed guide.He was knowledgable, and a pleasure to be with. We enjoyed his company- and never felt that he was just after money. He seemed to just enjoy meeting people from another country, and plied us with all sorts of questions.
In fact the first city we really visited in India
It showed us that we would see a lot of previous richness in India.
A lot of beautiful palaces - a lot of old houses
all different - but each one a jewel of architecture !
Devi Kund/Royal Cenotaphs
Devi Kund:-The royal crematorium has several exquisite cenotaphs (Chhatris). Each Chhatri is dedicated to the memory of rulers of Bikaji dynasty and is situated on the exact place where they were cremated. The Chhatri of Maharaj Surat Singh is a fine example of architecture. The ceilings of the Chhatris displays some delicate Rajput paintings.
Open 9 AM to 5 PM
Entrance Fee Rs 10 with Camera
Oh Rats ... Again!(...cont.)
We took a local bus out to the small town of Deshnok to visit the Korni Matar temple. I definitely remembered going there before. I had been not just a little bit apprehensive about visiting a temple over-run with holy RATS!
Realising that, of course, it would be cruel to freak Juliet out by over-playing it, I told her, “For god’s sake, if one bites, don’t scream or panic. It will cause them all to attack en-mass. And having your legs lacerated by the fangs of over two thousand foot-long Indian rats is no joke!” And, “Oh… and try to walk through the temple with your knees together. They have an uncanny habit of running up people’s trouser legs!”
Having removed our sandals, Juliet tentatively stepped over the raised threshold and into the temple, now dreading what she had been previously looking forward to. I strode on in, feeling quite at ease. But then I already knew the rats were more like bloated mice and were so well fed by pilgrims, the last thing on their minds would be having a nibble on the feet of two sweaty cycle tourers.
Having padded around a while on rat crap, with holy offerings doused in rat pee squelching up through our toes, we left and took a moment to reflect with a glass of masala chai at a tea shop.
A day relaxing, cleaning the bikes and washing clothes and off south again.
We discovered our mug shots had appeared in a regional newspaper, with a write-up about our trip in Hindi. This was handy, as we could now show it to whoever wanted to know about what we were up to but couldn’t understand English.
The three day ride to our next destination was pleasant enough, cruising the ever increasing undulating desert hills in the scorching heat, lost to the mesmerizing vista of rural India, with fitting soundtracks from my MP3 player.