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Bikaner

beauty in the desert

sunny 22 °C

Another bus safari – where a 30-minute stop so our drivers could eat turned into a shopping spree – took us even further into the desert. It was so interesting to see how the landscape changed along the way – to the point where there was no more grass at all.

If you want to get a perspective on just how long this country has been around, Bikaner was founded in 1483 – and it’s in the Northwest part of the state – very close to Pakistan.

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This is one of quicker stops – we arrived about 3 – checked into our Palace – went immediately on a tour – came back for dinner, early to bed and even earlier to hit the road again.

We began with a tour of Junagarh Fort which was built in 1593 and is chock-a-block full of beautiful palaces, temples and pavilions. We were especially lucky because our guide was able to get us into the meditation room which is usually off limits.

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By now we’ve had a little over a week in India and the one thing I find the most remarkable is the sheer number of palaces there are here – and the over-the-top opulence you find in them.

We’re all used to royalty, that’s not the issue. But there’s a palace around just about every corner here – and inside you find walls and ceilings in pure gold, walls and columns inlaid with precious gems, marble floors and walls. You truly cannot imagine – or believe – what you are seeing. And to see it over and over and over again in every city and town and state just leaves you shaking your head in wonder!

Nothing does it justice – not the most eloquent words, not the best photographs. You have to see it with your own eyes.

We then went to a camel breeding farm – we did get to see a couple of babies – they’re much bigger than you’d think – and apparently start to walk after only a couple of days. One poor wee one was hungry and kept bugging its mother – who kept ignoring him. Finally he must have gotten on her nerves because she just laid down – and that was the end of that! “Go away! Don’t bother me! I have a headache! Go find your father!” is what she must have said.

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We also saw the crematorium which has been used by one of the royal families for hundreds and hundreds of years – and is still used to this day. And then a quick stop to see a local artist who paints the tiny miniatures that Rajasthan is famous for. This guy is in the Guiness Book of Records – he has a painting of a banyon tree that has over 17,000 leaves on it – and they are teensy! You need a very strong magnifying glass to see them.

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He told us that he does 5 minutes of yoga eye exercises every day – he showed us – without moving his eyebrows he can do circles with his eyeballs – I couldn’t watch it was making my eyes ache.

Anyway he paints these pictures without glasses. I have no idea how. I bought a tiny painting of a banyon tree which is done on a piece of sandalwood. Dinner at the hotel – in an open air dining room so we could see the stars – (fabulous tandoori chicken with scrumptious chickpeas, dahl, cauliflower and spicy mixed pickles) also came with entertainment – local musicians and folk dancers. Spectacular!!

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And then, bed. Tomorrow’s another day – and another early start.

Posted by a_broad 10:03 Archived in India Tagged luxury_travel

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Comments

Hi Fransi

I have just read your last three communications. Wow!!! This trip is even more spectacular than you imagined. The sites, and sounds, the architecture, the palaces -- unbelievable.

We leave a week today. As a matter of fact, we will be on the plane at this time next week. I hope that Portugal will offer a fraction of the sites that you are experiencing.

All is well.

Touch base soon.

Ellen

by EllenRosen

Fransi,
I never wanted to go to India, but after your commentary and pictures, I just said to Bill I want to go, I will call my friend Malathi who has been after me for 40 years to come to India with her, and maybe I am ready to fly...everything looks so fabulous, since I love gold and appulance, I am sure it would be for me...you are being enriched with splendor every day...the palaces are fabulous! I remember the camels from when we lived in Asia, Uzbekistan and Khazakstan... I also had a painted leaf that Malathi gave me.
Love Dana

by Dana Bell

Fransi,
I just did a quick recap on your trip since you left and I am completely immersed. It sounds like you're having a brilliant time and the itinerary looks stunning. I'm taken back (with a little envy), and will check in again soon. Keep it coming...
Cheers,
DA

by daitken

Well Fransi it is now at the point that my day hasn't really started or ended without a check on your travels. The pace is very hectic. Love the pictures and l agree there are so many times when a picture doesn't come close to actually seeing with the naked eye.

by awsmaunt

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