Palace home after long drive to Bikaner

Trip Start Dec 27, 2016
Trip End Jan 18, 2017

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Flag of India  , Rajasthan,
Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Breakfast included another nice omelette this morning, then we left at 8.00 for the long drive to Bikaner. I didn't get a window seat this time, so couldn't take photos as we drove. Probably just as well as I've taken hundreds already. We headed back east along roads under repair practically all the way, through very flat, mostly semi-desert country. We saw a few Antelope of different species, as well as camels and herds of goats.

Not far past Pokaran we stopped at Ram Devi Temple. It is a very vibrant active Hindu temple, and a major place of pilgrimage for Hindus. The streets approaching it were colourful with sugar offerings, spices, garland sellers and such. Pilgrims and beggars were much in evidence. There was so much in the way of railings to channel the worshippers that it reminded me of immigration at an airport. After removing our shoes we entered the temple, reaching up to ring the bell placed there for the purpose. We sat down to listen to some musicians, and banged the ceremonial drum 5 times on the way out. Many soldiers were there. We were told that in 1971 the Pakistanis had bombed this temple but none of the bombs exploded. Ever since it has been a popular temple with the military.

We stopped for lunch at a wayside "resort" near Phalodi on a hill with views in every direction. Lunch was cheese sandwiches, muffins and fruit provided by our hotel. There was much more bread than we could eat, so a lot was fed to some very willing chooks and roosters.

Around Bikaner were a lot of gravel heaps, and camels towing carts.

Our accommodation in Bikaner was once the personal residence of Maharaja Ganga Singhji of Bikaner. It is huge, of finely carved sandstone, Along with dozens of photos of the Maharajah on hunting expeditions, Hundreds of antelope heads line the covered walkways, and the billiards room and bar have many lion and tiger skins and even a rhinoceros. My room has ceilings beautifully painted with gold floral decorations, and to get to the huge bathroom I have to walk up and down marble steps past my dressing room. Dinner tonight was all served at table, and was one of the best meals yet, baked potatoes and cauliflower moray as well as a couple of curries, and beautifully presented dessert of mousse, Indian halva and fresh fruit. At my table, Bernard reminisced about his time as a tour leader.
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swoald on

Waiting for the next exciting daily episode. Staying at palaces and hunting lodges all very good but - had to ask - do you get to stay at any Best Exotic Marigold Hotel equivalents ?

travellingsue on

Gosh no! Best Exotic Marigold way too downmarket ��

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