Our time in Bikaner was very short and sweet. Intended to be a quick stop-over to break up the long journey to Amritsar, we didn’t even plan to do a blog post for it. However, Bikaner was such an exciting, photogenic, dusty market city that it seemed unfair to miss it out.
Arriving in the dark, we were met by our brilliant guesthouse owner, Gouri, who rushed us through Bikaner’s crazy streets on the back of his scooter to his family home and guesthouse, Shanti House. After a delicious dinner with him, his wife and two daughters, we went to bed.
In the morning, Gouri took us for a tour around Bikaner’s Old City. The streets were well trodden but surprisingly quiet, overshadowed by grand Havelis indicating the (former) wealth of this merchant city on the Silk Road.
We ended up in Gouri’s favourite ‘breakfast street’ for a delicious Aloo and Radish Paratha, a secret spot the locals tend to keep to themselves.
Afterwards we were dropped in the markets of the New City, which was drastically busier, dustier and more hectic than the Old City.
Everyone in Bikaner was extremely friendly and as we walked around the markets we were handed (almost force fed!) fruit and vegetables to try, and even asked to help grind and mix spices.
Although we spent less than twenty-four hours in Bikaner, it made a big impression on us as an un-toruisty, bustling Rajasthani city.