First of all today, we had a very long drive (350kn) from our Desert Camp to Bikaner, another desert town in the North of Rajasthan.
Bikaner itself is an odd place, trying to compete with the rest of the country, and not quite succeeding…..it does have one thing though, but I will come to that.
On the way, our driver, Sushil, asked if we would like to visit a lake as there would be something there we would like….obviously, we said yes, and boy was he right….there were more cranes thsn I have ever seen, migrating from Mongolia to India…amazing!
When we got to Bikaner, it was a quick check in, then we met our guide and went off to explore the city.
The first place to visit was the fort…not spectacular, when compared to some of the places in Rajasthan, but interesting enough.
There were some fantastic interiors, as ever, with fine decoration, tiling and painting.
The gardens though, were some of the best I’ve seen here.
Next, we visited the largest camel breeding farm in Rajasthan where we were lucky enough to see some baby camels,including one who was maybe only a day or so old, and could not yet walk…it still had the afterbirth on its back. Bless!
Finally, we jumped in the car and started driving….where were we going, we weren’t due to visit this place ‘til tomorrow, but no, we pulled up outside a large building and our guide announced…..welcome, to the Temple of the Rat!
Karni Mata is probably the oddest place in India – the belief is that Karnis son drowned, and Karnis prayed for life…the wish was granted in that the children would forever be reincarnated as rats.
There are approximately 25,000 rats living in the temple…..and as it is a Hindu temple, yes, you have to remove your shoes on entering.
The sheer number of rats is unreal, they scurry everywhere. It’s really odd, as if there were a couple of rats, you would probably be scared, but there are so many, you just accept it – it is a very surreal experience.
I really don’t have anything else to say, other than the images cannot prepare you for the horror as they scurry over your feet…!
Needless to say, socks were disposed of…!
Tomorrow we head for Mandawa…