I love to cruise through this part of Rajasthan… At first sight desolate, but let’s be honest I have not yet seen a place in India which is desolate. The area is becoming more arid… cows and other mammals using the man-made roads to their advantage.. women as always beautifully wrapped in colors.
My friend really “has to go”. No facilities around obviously. Searching for a bush she can hide behind. Note that she stands out with her blond hair. We don’t want her to be an attraction… Think we chose a special spot with a lot of cadavers of cows and other things with only leathered skin, horns, bones and teeth left. Brrr….
Google maps is wrong … or our driver is too careful or we take too much time on our breaks. Probably a mix of all of these things. Any calculated time needs to be doubled to get the actual time spent to get from A to B. A lesson learnt for next trips. Maybe I am exaggerating a bit… add 50% to the Google calculation and an hour break or so.
And here we are in Bikaner. I didn’t have high hopes for the Janargarh Fort. When I researched and read comments, it was all about how disappointing this one was compared to other forts like in Jaipur or other more visited places. I don’t agree at all! I like it that it is less crowdy. I think it is really lovely they provide a free guide for a group of visitors. You can chose to opt out of the group once inside (which we did as we are always exploring in our own way… and we need a lot of time to see everything). It is big with many different styled chambers, inner courts etc. A lot of great photography opportunities without too many other tourists in your way. I found also there were more local tourists here, which is always fun in my opinion. I don’t mind when there are many people around, but I don’t like it if they are mostly non-local. It just degrades the whole experience. Anyhow we spent more than 2 hours here at ease… whereas I thought we probably would need only one hour.
Since this morning at breakfast in Mandawa there was something different about the way the staff was looking at me. As I always do when in India or Bangladesh I wear Indian attire, nice-colorful-easy-fitting-absolutely-feminine-flattering-decent attire. I like it and think it is respectful towards the local population. It continued the whole day, pictures taken subtle or more obvious, heads turning, doors opened, smiles and more smiles. This is soooooooooooooooooooo good for my confidence. My friend has never seen me so confident in the last 18 years (of course she is not 100% of the time with me everyday and as good friends she also sees my vulnerable side a lot…). She jokes that she is no longer “number one” referring to her standing out with her blond curly hair and blue eyes and getting all attention from everyone the first day. Is this why she makes grand entries by tripping over stairs or whatever may or may not be on the floor? This will not be the last time she trips… it will be a red line throughout the vacation.
Next stop is Deshnok, the Rat Temple. As I thought it was so different and interesting, I will make a separate post out of that one.
When we return we “need to” do some shopping. Our driver brought us to one of those places where you get the full show and probably good prices (for them). But you know what, I didn’t mind this time. They worked for the money, I found it an interesting display of good salesmenship, good quality goods, nice offered chai and they took the time even though it was closing time. We were joking all the time and by the time we wanted to leave the owner in a mood of joyfulness wanted a big hug, spreading his arms to grab us…. “no” we said “we have been told we are not allowed to get too close to men here”. That was not really nice from us and hereby I apologize. For all of you still going to Bikaner say hi from us: Maharaja Crafts Factory.
We stayed at the Hotel Harasar Haveli. We slept well, we ate well (lunch, dinner – breakfast was a bit thin), it was clean. All good and good price. We were at the top floor (no elevator… good exercise) all the way at the end and woke up by the lovely parrots just in front of our window. Cool.
Again as with Mandawa, I could have spent more time here in Bikaner… we didn’t wander through the city center, we didn’t visit the cenotaphs, we didn’t get to the camel breeding farm and didn’t see the Jain temple. But what we visited we did it thoroughly and had lots of fun.