The Champagne Backpacker: Michael's Round the World Trip 2005-2007-- The Adventure of a Lifetime travel blog

Bikaner Fort

Woman Peers Through A Stone Screen

Street Scene

Indian Family and Friends In A Cooking Oil Manufacturing Business

Rats! Karni Mata Temple, Deshnok

Rats Feast At The Altar

"Upper Class" Bus Riders

I've decided to head north to see the Himalayas. I've stopped in Bikaner enroute to north India and to visit the nearby Karni Mata Temple, one of Hindu's most unique temples (at least from a Western standpoint) where holy rats are worshipped. It was a little disappointing as I was expecting to see thousands of rats like in the movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. There were less than a hundred rats visibly roaming the temple. No photos yet from Jaisalmer and Bikaner as the one internet place I have found here in Bikaner still uses Windows 98 (as do a surprisingly number of other places) and therefore does not support USB to upload my photos.

The weather has been pretty good throughout my travels in India. It rained quite a bit yesterday, which is unusual for the desert. But today the skies cleared and the weather is very pleasant. I expect it to get a lot cooler as I venture north.

My experience in India has gotten a lot better for two reasons: First, I'm used to dealing with the hassle and frustrations and, second, I'm beginning to visit places that are off the main tourist circuit where there is less hassle. India offers many challenges to the first time visitor. One of the biggest challenges is staying healthy. Open sewers, cow pies, trash, public urination, vehicular emissions, non-potable tap water (for foreigners), and generally low sanitary conditions in restaurants all combine to test your stamina and health. But the rewards are also here: The Taj Mahal, the ghats of Varanasi, the colorful cities of Rajasthan, the great cuisine and culture, to name just a few. It's been a very good experience so far.

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