The Warm Heart of Rajasthan
Bikaner, Rajasthan, India, 2008-10-11 12:00 by Laerke
Bikaner has got to be the hottest place in Rajasthan! At 12 o’clock at night in out room the temperature was 34 degrees...

But the people here in Bikaner are great! We went for a wander around the streets in the old part of town admiring the many old havelis, and a family invited us in for a cup of chai, none of them spoke much English, but we saw all the family photos – of when Mom and Dad got married, the kids when they were small etc. :-) The girl painted my fingernails and gave me something she had knitted. We shared our candy with them and one of the boys was sent out to buy Thumps-up (Indian brand of Coke) for all of us. The kindness of strangers is so heartwarming. Some days it seems like all the Indians are there just to get on our nerves, people shouting after you constantly in the streets ‘buy something in my shop’ “come eat in my restaurant” “need rickshaw?” beggars pulling at your sleeves, and when we actually do want to buy something or need a rickshaw they will try to grossly overcharge us. So when we encounter the “real” people of India who are nice and hospitable it completely restores our faith in the human kind and we really cherish those moments.

And not 10 minutes after we left the family’s home we were invited in somewhere else! More chai and Indian sweets, I held the babies and everybody crowed around us smiling and laughing. The Indian people are amazing!

So even though it was way too hot, Bikaner is now one of our favorite places in India!

45 minutes from Bikaner is the famous Karni Mata Temple also known as the Rat Temple, because rats are considered holy here! It was festival time so there were lots of people at the temple all in their Sunday best (e.g. their most colorful saris and highest turbans). It is considered most fortunate if you spot the white rat, we were lucky enough to see it – and plenty of its brown friends.