Set your life on fire. Seek those who fan your flames. – Rumi
After Jaisalmer my next stop was Bikaner, merely due to the fact that the train connection to Amritsar is rather poor – I had to choose between a short stop in Delhi or a long one in Bikaner, and as I liked the idea of exploring another city I didn’t initially planned for I settled for the latter option.
As it turned out, sightseeing opportunities in Bikaner were rare, but my friend Rivant still managed to show me the fort, ruins and some crazy temple, in which you had to walk through water and to crawl through tunnels in order to reach the next shrine, comparable to a fun park somehow. 😀
Close to Bikaner (more precisely, in Deshnok) the famous Karni Mata Temple is located, a popular Hindu temple in which approximately 20 000 black rats live, which are supposed to be reincarnations of Karni Mata’s male children.1 As I heard from this temple already some years back, I was eager to see it with my own eyes, and actually it was the first stop we made that day. The reason why it was not included in my “what I’ve done” list above is simply that the Hindu festival Dussehra was taking place the same day, resulting in huge crowds in front of the temple, waiting more or less patiently in line in order to enter. It would have taken me at least three hours to visit the temple this day, and as it was incredible hot and the bulk of people just too overwhelming, I decided to skip it without any further hesitation – In the end, it was not THAT important to me as it seemed to be the case for the rest of the people around. 😉
Instead we visited another temple with rats close by, and I managed to get a photo shoot with one not completely sick looking white rat – Yay! 😀
While Dussehra spoiled my intended visit of the Karni Mata temple, it also provided me with my personal highlight during the evening in return. Traditionally, Dussehra refers to Lord Rama’s victory over the ten-headed demon king Ravana – I will quote Wikipedia here in order to give you an idea what the whole thing is about:
In most of northern India and some parts of Maharashtra, Dasha-Hara is celebrated in honour of Rama. During these 10 days many plays and dramas based on Ramayana are performed. These are called Ramlila. There are outdoor fairs and large parades with effigies of Ravana (a king of ancient Sri Lanka), his brother Kumbhakarna and son Meghanad. The effigies are burnt on bonfires in the evening.
I give this information because we were allowed to attend one such a play, with huge puppets burning down while amazing fireworks were illuminating the sky. I personally never saw something comparable, and it appeared simply stunning to me!
Apart from that Rivant made me try some sweets, as Bikaner seems to be famous for that also, and only thanks to him I could make my way to the railway station in the middle of the night, as public transport proofed to be a real problem here. In order to kill the remaining hour until 1 am, when my train was scheduled to depart, I watched movie trailers and dance videos with the guys from the bistro at the railway station, that spoke as much English as I speak Hindi, but we still managed to have a really pleasant time together and shared lots of laughter. I left this place with a smile on my face ignoring how tired I felt at this point in the middle of the night. 🙂