A morning walk around the Rampuria havelis of Bikaner

By 11:47 Saturday 29 February 2020 , ,

Despite being fairly popular, Bikaner is a bit of an underdog compared to all the other touristic jewels that Rajasthan has in its roster. It is mainly because Bikaner is not everyone's cup of tea. Its simplicity can often be mistaken as dull and on surface, its narrow streets do lack the lustre of  its monarchical past. But Bikaner's true strength lies in its architectural wonders that stand as proof of its culturally rich history. One of those happens to be a charming cluster of havelis, collectively known as the Rampuria Havelis in old Bikaner. 

Once inhabited by the wealthiest of merchants, these havelis are truly a spectacle for architecture enthusiasts like me. Every door, every window is skillfully decorated, while displaying a mix of Rajput and European styles. These havelis that were once home to the affluent, have now been reduced to inaccessible, hollow beauties that only exist to satisfy photographers and Instagrammers. The properties are said to have been disputed, and a local told as that though its owners are settled in the city, the families do visit when there's a wedding in the family. Personally, it was really frustrating to not be able to venture inside these tempting old mansions.

I am leaving you with few of my favourite shots that we took during an early morning stroll around the streets, along with some quick recommendations on things to do after you're done explring the havelis. I hope you'll scroll till the end of the post!

Other points of interest 

In the lane parallel to the Rampuria Haveli's, you'll also find a beautiful heritage accommodation that goes by the name Bhanwar Niwas that is about 90 years old. Unfortunately, we were denied entry to this intriguing haveli-turned-hotel but could easily observe the fusion of Indian and European architectural styles from its exteriors. The serene pastel pink walls are adorned with ornate plaster work featuring Victorian motifs, a style that is particularly unique to Bikaner and the surrounding Shekhawati region {read more about one of the most popular Shekawati towns here}.

Apart from that, you can walk to the famous Bhandasar Jain Temple that is famous for its wall paintings. According to a legend, close to 40,000 kg of ghee was used in its construction instead of water in mortar. I however had other priorities after exploring the havelis and went scounting for some desi breakfast. A quick google search later, my friend and I found ourselves hogging kachori and rasgullas at Bhikaram Chandmal near Kote Gate. It is your go-to place to buy sweets in Bikaner, along with the famous bikaneri bhujia as souvenir.

{Find more about all the things to see in Bikaner, where to eat and the best options to stay in the next blog post!}

How to reach Bikaner

Regular buses and numerous trains run between Delhi and Bikaner Junction Railway Station. I took an overnight train {Delhi-Bikaner Super Fast}, which took about 7 hours and reached Bikaner early morning around 7.30. You can easily hire a cab or an auto from the railway station to get to your hotel.

The nearest airport is at Jodhpur, about 250km from Bikaner.

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