Bikaner is a busy, smelly city in the dry Thar desert of Rajasthan and one of the least visited major cities in this state. Anyone who takes the trouble to go to Bikaner usually comes for the beautiful Junagarh Fort, with its red-stone walls on the outside and exuberant splendor inside. Indeed Junagarh is definitely worth a visit to Bikaner and as a starting point for a camel safari , the city is a perfect choice. Also, Lalgarh Palace is skipped by few people. Still, for us, the highlight of Bikaner was not Junagargh. We have skipped the camel safari and also Lalgarh Palace.
The old town of Bikaner
Eat here, sleep and sleep with the neighbors. You must have really seen this and these activities will be great for you. What you definitely do not see in the tour guide is a walk through Bikaner’s old town. Yet, in my opinion, this is an activity to be missed for who the true Bikaner wants to see. This ancient city center, like many cities in Rajasthan, is a breeze of alleys. Do not try to remember the road, you can not do that. It’s great to get lost here and walk a few hours on good streets, hooks to slap and peep through the gates of courtyards. Regularly somebody looks back and sometimes you have a couple of curious boys behind you, until someone calls them strictly.
The old town of Bikaner
Everywhere people have small studios or shops, usually in places where you do not expect this total. On a miniscule square is an ancient tree next to a temple and at a crossroads of slightly larger streets you find oxen and wooden carts ready to pick up or bring their cargo.
Many places in Rajasthan are famous for their beautiful haveli’s: large, old merchant houses. For example, in Jaisalmer, several of these haveli have been preserved for several centuries and have been a huge tourist attraction for years.Also in the rest of Rajasthan, people are increasingly aware that tourists are interested in these haveli’s and half-collapsed construction sites, drawn under a thick layer of soot and waste. With the money from the old sock of a wealthy Indian, they are transformed into a museum or heritage hotel. Original elements are often no longer available. Everything has been “restored” and modernized.Rich Indians and elderly Americans and Europeans love these kind of heritage hotels and try to stay overnight. Bikaner is also trying to pull out his haveli’s, but fortunately, the city still has many hidden haveli’s. As you walk around in the maze of the real old town, you stumble on one of those gems. None of these beautiful properties are listed in a travel guide. It’s like you’re looking for treasure without a card. No man looking at these haveli’s and no tourist in the surrounding area. To an old ridge it ticks on the head for a habbock crate and lives on it.
Beautiful haveli in the old town of Bikaner
the Chai Wallah
In Bikaner we drank the best chai we have ever tasted in India. The address of this good-looking, honest chai-wallah, in one of the many lanes that knows the old city, should be in capital letters in my guide. In a few minutes he brewed a cup of delicious milk tea, where he carefully added a variety of herbs, including last a few saffron threads. Of a tip, the best man did not want to know anything. “I just deserve my money and just do my job” we were told.
Bikaner’s best Chai-Wallah and 2 very nice old people in the old town
The peanut street
Those who drink tea at the chai-wallah should then, according to the Bikaner Travel Guide, be able to snack for snacks in the street. Peanuts and nuts are burned in the same way as it has been over a century. Of the roasted peanuts and sesame seeds, delicious sweet cakes are made with honey, the smell of which makes you immediately watering teeth.
The “Pindastraat” in Bikaner
The real life in Bikaner
Fortunately, such a Bikaner travel guide is not issued. Thus, these wonderful places remain for the time being and can continue to enjoy the local people, just like the occasional traveler who takes the trouble to see Bikaner’s real life in addition to the highlights.