Ballin in Bikaner (April 2012)

Today I woke up on a train at sunrise. The group was picked up by two white SUVs that weaved through the quiet streets of Bikaner in the early morning. I knew our plan for Bikaner was a camel safari but I didn’t know much about Bikaner the town or the Hotel Bhairon Vilas, our surprisingly lavish lodgings. The hotel seemed like an oasis in the dry landscape of Bikaner with had painted walls and ornate furnishings.

IMG_1732 We had a chance to freshen up and have breakfast at the hotel, then we were off to meet our camels. P1030540

I immediately saw the one I wanted. I called her Fleur cause she was the only camle with a flower on her nose and quite the poser.

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I led the caravan as we rode for two hours then paused for lunch.

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We had an amazing Indian lunch all prepared outdoors by our guides.

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After lunch I read and took photos of Fleur munching on a tree. I think she loves the camera.

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During the next two hours we rode to a local watering hole and across more desert to our campsite. It was all ready and prepped four our arrival and I was happy to give my bum a rest and stretch my legs.

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We  had some tea and biscuits (cookies) in the shade of the sand dune then raced to the top and watched the sunset. Our guides made another delicious meal outdoors with chipati, dal, tomato chutney, rice and a vegetable curry. Over dinner we talked about India, our previous travels and things we love about home. As the night grew on we watched the stars come out as well as the bugs. They are big in the desert. Huge beetles and ants scurried about in the sand near our tents making me paranoid to sleep. It took me hours to finally calm down and get some shut eye. Although sleeping on sand is a bit firm and uncomfy, I enjoyed camping in the desert and would do it again in a heartbeat.

I woke up early due to the heat beating down on my tent and had breakfast alfresco.

P1030606We rode camel carts back to town and returned back to our hotel. My room was extremely purple with great views of a nearby fort.

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View From My Room BikanerAfter I cleaned up from the overnight camel safari, had lunch and relaxed a bit, I went with the group to the Karni Mata Temple (also known as the Rat Temple) in Deshnoke, 30km outside of Bikaner. Its called the Rat Temple because its teeming with rats which are feed and seen as sacred. If you see a white right its said to be good luck. I was a little grossed out by the smell and being outnumbered so just took a few snaps and then left.

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Since it’s a temple I was required to take my shoes off to enter. I basically boiled my feet when I got back to the hotel. After, the Rat Temple I had dinner on a rooftop, watching the sunset and danced to local music. IMG_1735

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Overall, really enjoyed Bikaner and went to sleep looking forward to our next stop, Jaisalmer.

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