The Thar Desert is a large sandy region in the northwest of India and east Pakistan. Far from the preconceived idea of what may be a desert, there are wild camels roaming the Thar, herds of goats, donkeys and the people's cows. It seems as if between the people here and their way of life have had an unbreakable bond for centuries, except in those areas which have been exploited by tourism which seeks precisely that,something that is genuine. It is a pity then to find plastic bottles in the dunes, as if this were a Eurodisney that forgot to install some bins. We were on 'Safari' riding a dromedary camely, which rather proved to be a trip to see the sunset at the Thar Desert. At night we dined by starlight with entertainment including music and dance, and the next morning we were able to enjoy the sunrise in the dunes before having to return to Jaisalmer.
The fort in Bikaner is in the city center next to the public park. It was built between 1589 and 1594 by Raja Rai Singh, a general in the army of the Mughal emperor Akbar. Inside you can visit the different royal apartments. Its main feature is that it is one of the few fortresses of Rajastan that isn't high on a hill. There is even a room decorated with stripes, which is thought to help precipitation, as this city is extremely dry and lacks rain. It is open from 10:00 to 17:00.
In the desert of Rajasthan one can enjoy the view of the city of Binaker, a city in the "triangle of desert cities", after a hot day in the city by passing the Silk Road. It gave me peace and tranquility and it took me back to the medieval times by a close hill, leaving the chaotic side of India for a few moments with their sacred cows everywhere, its merchants, its colors, its aromas,
The Rat Temple, was built in the 15th century and rebuilt in the 19th. Today it is a great center of pilgrimage where the faithful celebrate weddings, perform prayers, or make offerings to the rats, incarnations of the troubadours of Karni Mata. The day we visited, they were having a wedding party inside the temple. The boy wore a turban of orange and gray with street clothes. They hung a pink shoulder cloth that held the bride, who was with a red dress and wore pretty golden figures and completely covered her head. The "Karna Mata Temple" or Rat Temple in India is a sacred place for worship and consecration. The rats, who do not know their divine condition, drink the milk that the Brahmans placed in large containers around the courtyard entrance of the shrine and parade as the queens of the place. You can enter with socks if you do not fear the rats/mice.
This is the biggest camel farm in Asia. The Bikaner camel played a key role in the kingdom, in its economy and defense. The camel farm that lies between sand dunes was created in the year 1960 to improve the breed. They raise camels with longer eye-lashes to protect them during sandstorms. Camels in Bikaner are famous for their capacity, unlike Jaisalmer who are famous for speed. The camel breeding farm is largely for domestic transportation, but even today it is also for military use (the Bikaner Camel Regiment dates back to the year 1465 and today the army has a camel regiment first class).
In the 18th and 19th centuries the city became a haven for rich merchants and bankers, ve felt safe in the desert against the troubled North India. Some family left while doing business in other areas. This is the origin of the lovely havelis of Bikaner, sandstone mansions with many floors, shutters, balconies and balustrades.They are adored with Wooden windows with iron frames. Descendants of the original owners still live in these places. These havelis are grouped in the narrow streets of the walled city. The most important are the Rampuria and Kothari.
Bikaner is a royal city in the desert whose history dates back to the year 1488, and it still retails a medieval atmosphere. The location on the ancient caravan routes made it an important trading center. Bikaner is on high ground and surrounded by a wall of 7 km with 5 doors. Its streets, havelis and bazaars are very crowded and suck you into the chaotic activity. What impressed me was the amount of people that were in the main street. Barriers lowered and a locomotive was passing through the streets near the crowd, and the people still didn´t move out of the way.