Bikaner is THE right choice if you looking for a peaceful vacation in an un-commercialized version of Jaisalmer. It is a city in the Northwest of Rajasthan, India and has a lot to offer to the tourists who are looking for 3-4 days of rejuvenating vacation.
Bikaner and its Unheard Beauty
We took train#12457 from Sarai Rohilla station for Bikaner. It is about 10 hours of journey but super comfortable in the 2 tier AC coach. We reached in the morning at about 10 AM. We had booked our stay in Laxmi Niwas Palace. Our entry was quite dramatic in a three wheeled rickshaw while other guests came in high-end luxury cars. It was funny! The sight was jaw dropping! Yes, it is truly a Palace!
The staff of Laxmi Niwas Palace is very hospitable and treat you like Kings and Queens.
What’s more: When we entered the room, we saw a wax-sealed personalized invitation for a Rajasthani Folk Dance performance in the evening. We had our eyes wide open and never before we had experienced this level of hospitality. The suite itself was a grand palatial room with very high ceiling, vintage fireplace, jharokhas and antic wardrobes. It was so enormous that our voices were echoing in when we entered into the room.
We relaxed during the day and left the room in the evening for a site tour of the palace. The ideal time for photography would be in the evenings or early morning with the sunrise. You can get the best shots during this time.
The Rajasthani folk music was very relaxing. Post this, we tried our hands on Billiards in a room filled with Lion and tiger skin trophies won by the kings as shooting rewards. It rained heavily that night so we did room service for dinner and enjoyed Planet Earth, Desert documentary which did put us to sleep after a while.
The breakfast was a gala feast. It had a combination of all kind of cuisines and the servings were made on the table. We managed to get a bike to tour around Bikaner and started for Rampuria Haveli right after our breakfast. The ride to the haveli is through the city and feels completely different from where we were staying. We did a guided tour of Bhawar Niwas Hotel and were mesmerized to see that everything in the room was GOLD plated!! Bhanwar Niwas is the grandest of the famed havelis belonging to the Rampuria family and is situated inside the walled city of Bikaner.
Post the tour, we set out for something adventurous: Karni Mata Temple which is also known as the temple of rats. Enroute you will find barren lands with herds of camels enjoying the heat. Finally we reached the temple and saw insane number of rats. It is considered good luck if you are able to spot a white rat. So the locals are seen sitting and searching for the white rat for hours! There are lot of eateries around the area so you can take a pitstop for lunch.
After refueling ourselves, we started our journey towards Camel Research Institute. Camels and Bikaner are inseparable from each other.The ICAR-National Research Centre on Camel, Bikaner, is a Premier Research Centre of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) which is an autonomous organisation under the Department of Agricultural Research and Education, Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India. We saw many camels, did a camel ride, had camel milk and icecream; and bought camel souvenirs.
We reached the Palace after our trip and were just in time for the Bachhu Khan’s group performance of Sitar and Veena instruments in the moonlit night near the swimming pool.
We spent a lazy leisure morning by doing some photography of the Palace. We intended to do desert safari in the evening and reached the guest house opposite to Sophia School. We met Mr. Vijay Singh Ji who narrated lot of stories about his father, Jai Singh Ji who was in the Army. Mr. Vijay also told us about Khuri as a must go destination in winter time. The Safari started from Raisar so we drove till there. Kishore Ji and Vikram Ji made the safari very special. They took a lot of pictures and let us ride the camels on our own.
After the camel safari, we left for the railway station. On our way, we went to the famous Bhikaram Chandimal Sweet Shop which is the most famous sweet shop in Bikaner. It is very close to the railway station. This was the true icing on the cake!
When we came to Bikaner, we thought 3 days is more than enough. But guess what, we were short of time. We missed out on a few attractions which included the Junagarh Fort built by Raja Rai Singh. In the interest of time, we preferred to experience the local lifestyle than the Fort. However, if you do have time, do not miss out on this one.
We loved our time and would definitely visit again….
37 Comments Add yours
I have to admit, I’ve never heard of Bikaner! 🙁 But it looks AMAZING! I’d love to go there in the future, India is one of my favourite countries! x
A new perspective has been found! I’ll surely plan a trip to bikaner!
This place looks and sounds amazing. We talk a lot about traveling to India, as a photographer, I think that it will inspire me so much..
Heard about many beautiful places in India. That outside view of Laxmi Niwas Palace is so nice. Wish I can see India in the future.
Overtime I read of a trip to India I figure out how I would feel! So diverse and varied, so full of surprises and so hard to fully understand. The place of your stay looks beautiful, kingly!
Camel Safari is me and my girlfriend’s dream. I envy you now 🙂 great experience
I wonder where the white rat being lucky came from. That really is a palace though! I would have loved to stay there.
I have never been to India never mind say Bikaner. It looks like a vastly exciting place from the photographs. The Temple of Rats is something I haven’t come across before now I don’t mind rats but there are a lot of people I know that would be very freaked out Ha Ha!
Beautiful post and great pics. After reading your post I can’t wait to visit Bikener. Thank you for sharing 😀
Wow that room coated in gold is so beautiful, would love to visit! I really like the photos you took, looks something new! What a destination.
WOAH that gold room at the hotel looks incredible!!!! I would love to stay there sometime and visit Bikaner as well.
Lovely write up sona!
I could definitely see myself imagining life as a royal when visiting here. The place is spectacular.
This is such a gorgeous place! I would love to visit and explore everything that is there for myself. Travel outside the US is something that is on my bucket list.
Omg what a fabulous place!!!!! I would love to visit one day, especially if the hospitality is awesome 🙂
Wow very nice blog. I have also write down about Bikaner railway station. I ll appreciate if you can share it. If you want you can write a guest blog on our website.
Hey Ankita, we will be happy to write a guest blog for you. Do let us know what you need. 🙂
Wow, $600 is a great value for a vacation. The gold accents of the Bhawar Niwas Hotel are very pretty. I’d also be kind of nervous to ride a camel…aren’t they worse than a donkey in stubbornness?
This is such a beautiful place. I would love to visit and see the architecture and opulence first-hand. The photos are simply breathtaking.
What a great opportunity to visit such a beautiful place. There are so many places in the world I want to visit.
Excuse me for my ignorance where is Bikaner in the middle east? India? Either way it looks like you will be staying in royalty it so nice and swanky!
Hey! Bikaner is in Western Rajasthan. Rajasthan is the desert state in India with some of the most famous palaces in the world. 🙂
Its amazing that they treated you like kings and queens and that it was only 600 dollars. That is not a bad price for luxury I have to say!
What an interesting place to visit! Love the camels, although I am not so sure about the rats…not sure I could handle that one 🙂
I don’t think it’s right to pass up on an opportunity to go to such a lovely place! I would definitely want to live like a king… err, queen! Love that there’s so much that you can see and do here!
What a beautiful and intriguing place! I would love to visit India, and would really enjoy this hotel, and seeing those camels.
I want to visit India someday so bad. I have never heard of this part of it before, but it looks so interesting. I would love to visit it someday.
Oh my gosh. That palace is so remarkable and must be an incredible place to stay. India is certainly on my bucket list and your post has made me want to move it up a notch or two!
I would love to visit India! I love the diverse culture and the land looks gorgeous! I had never read about this region before this. I’m interested!
What a gorgeous place! I love visiting places with old buildings and architecture! This looks amazing.
So beautiful and that gold room is jaw droppingly gorgeous! Then… you had to show me rats. Why are they considered lucky?!
Hi Rachel, Thanks for asking that question. There is a very popular legend about this temple. Laxman, Karni Mata’s stepson drowned in a pond while he was attempting to drink water. Karni Mata prayed day in and out and implored Yamraj, the god of death, to revive him. Yamraj agreed and revived Laxman and all of Karni mata’s male children as rats.
Amongst these thousands of rats, you can spot white rats as well. These white rats are considered an avatar of Karni mata. If one of them is killed, it must be replaced with one made of solid silver/gold.
Your journey looks like a real adventure. To be honest, I’m not familiar with this part of India, but I read about the Karni Mata Temple some years ago. I’m curious though of riding a camel.
Ww what a gorgeous place. I want to visit here.
Loved the post! I’ve always wanted to go to India. It’s a dream of mine! the place looks amazing <3
I have never been outside of the US (except for my honeymoon in Cozumel Mexico). I will add this to my list of places to travel to!
wow, you weren’t kidding when you said you could live like a king. This place is amazing. Not sure about the temple of the rats though, ewe.