My trip to Rajasthan started from Bikaner (though many people tend to skip this city, don’t know why!), a simple city with a shiny and vibrant look of the state, has been very refreshing. Better if the choice of cities is from simple to gradually to more royal while planning the itinerary for Rajasthan, which keeps the charm of the places in order and the child like amusement in you also gets the flow of interest at a proper pace.
Places to visit in Bikaner, Rajasthan:
The two main attractions here are Karni Mata Temple and Junagarh Fort.
A little far away from main Bikaner city, about 20 minutes drive away is situated the widely worshiped temple among locals, the Temple of Karni Mata (an incarnation of Goddess Durga as per locales). The cars are allowed to park a little distance away from the temple area, from there one has to walk to the temple, the temple ground is famous for uncountable harmless rats (though they are called Kaaba/ Kabee- plural form, it is said that these kabees are the devotees of the Goddess who have come back in this form after their human life). Taking picture of the goddess inside the main temple is absolutely prohibited. Outside temple there isn’t any such restriction for photography. Built in the mid of a huge flat land the temple is simple and very photogenic. A good 30 minutes can easily pass by, as fast as just 5 minutes ago.
Junagarh Fort, Bikaner, Rajasthan:
Being famous for palaces and forts, in every city of Rajasthan, there is one definite palace to visit (entry fees applicable for all palaces; RS. 50 for Indians and RS. 300 for foreigners for this particular one). Roaming around the palace on your own is good, but the experience is only enhanced and full- felt with the help of guide, with stories and histories of the royal families. Without guide, the palace visit is like having a chocolate cake with only few drops of chocolate flavor in it! You get my point right?! So palace visit is in Rajasthan in must with a guide. Now a days, there are audio guides available at most of the palaces, which is a very good option, and you are on your own, enjoying the tour at your own pace but getting all the information which adds the enjoyment and knowledge quotient. Every palace has so many divisions and all of them have a justified reason to be built as such, number of awe factors are way too many, that before you are able to summarize them inside your active neurons, the guide will remind you “we are done!!” But this kind of very first time experience is exciting and incredible.
So in Junagarh Fort one can see the royal chambers, courts, royal kitchen, armories, royal clothing, sparking jewelled plafonds or panels; also there is a museum, which showcases the that time’s furniture, so many things which I haven’t seen or could imagine before, I liked the small air-crafts and the palanquins in that museum. It takes little more than 1 hour to look around the palace.
Must try food in Bikaner, Rajasthan:
**Did I say, Bikaner is famous for Ghevar? You got to have an addictive sweet-tooth to try this fried, crispy sweet cake bathed in sugar syrup. And the best part is to try a whole Ghevar with warm Rabdi. Rajasthan is quite famous for its diverse cuisine I should mention. This part of Rajasthan offers some good variety of Ghevar and its sweet sin!
**Stay in Bikaner, Rajasthan: 1-2 nights stay is good in Bikaner. I suggest better make it minimum 2 nights to blend in with the place.