Saturday, September 1, 2012


My father got transferred to Bikaner, Rajasthan and for the first time we went to live outside Uttar Pradesh.By this time , being the youngest I was the only kid left at home with parents as my brothers were either working or studying.
We travelled bag and baggage to Bikaner changing trains at Delhi.Rajasthan is the most vibrant state of India,offset by the golden sand dunes which are a sight to behold.
It was an overnight journey from Delhi to Bikaner and the scenery was simply amazing, there were large sand dunes streching till what seemed eternity.Of course no one could escape the sand storms which raged at regular intervals and covered everything with fine sand.
Bikaner was an erstwhile princely state and the local people held the royal family, Maharajahs in great respect and regard.I remember the people used to get down from their bicycles when they saw the cars with the royal number plates! The rulers had integrated themselves into mainstream politics by joining political parties.
If there are Maharajahs can forts and palaces be far behind? The Junagarh Fort built in 1593 is steeped in history and and an imposing structure.The Lalgarh Palace built in 1903 has beautiful marble work and gardens.
Bikaner has many temples , the best known is the Mata Karni temple or the Rat temple where rats are revered and fed milk by the devotees.Only my father visited this temple as my Mom and I were scared of rats!
The people of Rajasthan are tall , sharp featured and colorfully attired , the women are dressed in embroidered blouses and lenghas or long skirts with matching 'odni'or dupatta which protects them from the relentless sun and sand.Both men and women wear Mojaris or handmade embroidered leather shoes which are practical for the terrain.The men use turbans and wear dhoti-kurtas , now of course most have started wearing modern dresses.
Camels are used for pulling carts, drawing water and transportation , no wonder they are called the 'ship'of the desert!Camel ride is a must, one feels on top of the world , the ride is bumpy but it is an experience of a lifetime.
Since my father had to make official trips to Delhi, my Mom and I used to tag along much to the chargin of my teachers as I missed school!

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