Escape from Bikaner

I must say I was extremely relieved to land back in Jodhpur and as much as I enjoyed Dylan’s Cafe I thought I’d try a different place, the Raahi Hostel, with a more traditionally social aspect of travelling. Thankfully it was a good stay where both the owner Natasha, a Brit who’d moved to India to marry her fella, and the staff were superbly friendly and helpful!

It was here that I learned that hostels are still a relatively new concept in India with most only being just over 1 year old — something I was told by others but didn’t know why.

It was due to the staff here that I was told about the step-well after I’d noticed it written on the chalkboard for things to do, so for my one day there I made this my main objective.

I was slightly further away from the main market and the other side of town which made for some light exploration, so I decided to take a walk out toward the Taj Palace and see what it was all about but it was locked down by security and to be honest, I’m not interested in seeing where the rich pay to stay. Along the way I did come across two beautiful haveli’s among a row of antique stores. Both were of exceptional detail but unfortunately — as per most buildings in India — not maintained. One of these is shown below:

ABOVE: 1. Moroccan style lights adorn the Raahi. 2. Market traders stall trolleys stores after business has closed. 3. One of two beautiful haveli’s near the Taj Hotel and palace.

So off to the stepwell I went which meant I had to walk along the rail line which was adorned with fabulous symbols and stories typical of Rajasthan, some are show here:

Once I’d arrived at the well, I was blown away by it’s awesomeness and I spent a good while absorbing it’s wonder. It was a very peaceful place and it was loaded with fish, to such a point that they were almost bursting from the water — one female stray heading down many flights to try for a catch!

ABOVE: 1. Sated after the best coffee. 2. Mum tries to catch fish for the pups. 3. Diwali is still in action. 4. Awesome art at the Raahi hostel. 5. ‘That’ coffee! 6. The stepwell — 200% full due to the monsoons — there’s another arch under that water line.

Once I’d had my fill — forgive the pun — I stayed for coffee and food at a marvellous cafe right next door. Sams Art Cafe provided a calm and quiet place where I could not only relax but also enjoy the best coffee in the world! I say this because never before have I smelt such awesomeness before I’d even placed the cup on my lips — sublime!

Tomorrow I’m off to Udaipur.

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