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Bikaner & Junagarh Fort

Bikaner - The Magnificient Junagarh Fort

Needless to say the fort is huge and what you see in this picture is maybe just one fourth of it. Further, the surrounding gardens, moats and exterior extensions are not covered in my imaginary calculations. Substantially magnificent than what you see here in this picture.

Bikaner & Junagarh Fort – Rajasthan Road Trip – Day 2

So, we were finally in Bikaner on our day 2 of the Rajasthan Road Trip. Bikaner was formerly the capital of the princely state of Bikaner. The city was founded by Rao Bika in 1486. From its small origins, Bikaner has developed into the fifth largest city in Rajasthan. It is a clean city and easy to get around.

Bikaner is a vibrant, dust-swirling desert town with a fabulous fort and an energising outpost feel. It’s less dominated by tourism than many other Rajasthan cities, though it has plenty of hotels and a busy camel-safari scene, which attracts plenty of travellers looking to avoid the crowding that occasionally occurs around Jaisalmer-based safaris.

We had pitched our tents in Hotel Harasar Haveli in Bikaner. Its one of the old Havelis now turned into a hotel. Our room was big, comfortable and clean. For dining, the hotel had a rooftop restaurant that serves some nice food. Day 2 Breakfast was a humble meal of masala omelette made with onions, ginger and green chillies downed with a few cups of coffee.

The Visit to Junagarh Fort

Temperatures were high in Bikaner on Day 2. Yet, I ventured out for a visit to the famed Junagarh Fort. Junagarh Fort is one of the few major forts in Rajasthan that is not built on a hilltop. Spread over 5.28 hectares this imposing fort precinct is dotted with several palaces, temples and pavilions – all extremely exquisitely done. the motifs that adorn the walls of the royal quarters make your jaw drop and render you utterly speechless.

There are religious figurines in almost all the walkways with presiding deities being installed at several places. The collections on display include royal possessions from the armoury (notable was a horse and another elephant mounted rifle), the wardrobe, silver palanquins, citations, honours, gifts from other states amongst much much more. The display is spectacular and showcases the rich heritage of the Rathors of Junagarh with a lot of elan.

My modest but full flavoured lunch was that of thin crisp tandoori rotis and Gatta kadhi. It was accompanied by buttermilk and onions & green chillis on the side. Unlike the ones we get in Jaipur, these were a bit on the harder side, but absolutely well done in a slightly sour gravy.

It was evening but the temperature in Bikaner was still around 39 degrees. We decided to stay indoors and order room service. A delightful (bit salty) plate of pakoris made from potatoes, onions, spinach and chillies handled the snacks bit. The high point was the pudina chutney that unwrapped its flavours bit by bit. Unlike any other eaten by me before, this was an absolutely fresh taste. I inquired about the local cuisine only to be told very graciously that the cuisine in the city is basically adapted.

The only two things indigenous to Bikaner which was confirmed by more than one sources were the Bhujia and Rasgollas. So we ordered a tandoori chicken. We were not expecting a great dish but what we had was very good. The chicken due to lack of atmospheric moisture was dry and crisp on the outside but maintained its juicy character on the inside. It was a good pick.

Something we experimented the previous night as well at Harasar Haveli, Bikaner. We got the gravy of mutton curry reduced to a masala. It was a splendidly spicy dish that landed up on our table. The masala was just right with the chilli quotient and the meat was falling off the bone. It retained its bite too which is the way I like it. We dipped crispy tandoori rotis and it was gone in no time. We had a feastful day. Enjoy the photos.

Hotel Harasar Haveli Bikaner
Our abode in Bikaner. Breakfast was a humble meal of masala omlette made with onions, ginger and green chillies downed with a few cups of coffee. I risked a visit to the famed Junagadh Fort right in the heart of the city.
Needless to say the fort is huge and what you see in this picture is maybe just one fourth of it. Further, the surrounding gardens, moats and exterior extensions are not covered in my imaginary calculations. Substantially magnificent than what you see here in this picture.
One of the fortification annexes towards the entrance of the fort as seen from the royal quarters.
Light plays a magic as it find a way through the multi coloured translucent pieces of glass embedded in a window jaali and overlooking the gardens of the fort. This was an incredible way of being able to look out and still keep the penetrating heat at bay. Surprisingly, it was quite cool in here while it was smouldering outside.
In recognition of the services rendered by the state forces led by Maharaja Ganga Singhji of Bikaner during WW-1, the British Government presented him several war souvenirs amogst which were the shot down parts of two DH-9 DE Haviland war planes. These war Trophies were transported to Bikaner, along with the Bikaner state forces, by ship around 1920 and then were locally assembled with the help of local skilled craftsmen.
This is an exquisite jhoola that was used to rock Bal Krishna during Janamastami. Everytime the jhoola was pulled, the dolls embedded in the columns on both sides danced.
View of exterior parts of the fort and the city as it extends beyond the walls of "Junagadh"
This portion of gatta kadhi, decent enough for two people went right into my belly solo all the way. Nothing even to scrape was left behind. There was no way I was going to waste this one.
The guide emphasised on the fact that this hall took 14 years to build. The intricate cravings in the locally available red stone were extremely fine and beautiful. The ceiling around the lamps that you see is hardwood.
These seem like royal canopies when the Maharajas has to make a public appearance.
Side view of Junagadh Fort from the main parking.
A modest but full flavoured lunch of thin crisp tandoori rotis and gatta kadhi accompanied with buttermilk and onions & green chillis on the side. Unlike the ones we get in Jaipur, these were a bit on the harder side, but absolutely well done in a slightly sour gravy.
Temperatures are still around 39 degs so we decided to stay indoors and order room service. A delightful (bit salty) plate of pakoris made from potatoes, onions, spinach and chillies for your eyes only. The high point was the pudina chutney that unwrapped its flavours bit by bit. Unlike any other eaten by me before, this was an absolutely fresh taste.
Since we were indoors and we were told very graciously that the cuisine in the city is basically adapted (the only two things were famous and that was confirmed by more than one sources are the Bhujia and Rasgollas), we ordered for a tandoori chicken. We were not expecting a great dish but what we had was very good. The chicken due to lack of atmospheric moisture was dry and really crisp on the outside but maintained its character on the inside. A good pick.
Something we experimented on last night as well. We got he gravy of mutton curry reduced to a masala and had a splendidly spicy dish land up on our table. The masala was just right with the chilli quotient and the meat was falling of the bone. Retained its bite too. We dipped crispy tandoori rotis and it was gone in no time. We had a feastful day.
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