I have been in the travel industry my whole life (30+ years). I am an American, and I want2 inform people coming to this website with the aim to help... NOT FOR PROFIT! I have also served in a leading NATO affiliated army... So your protection, as a tourist, wherever you are from, is my top concern!
Florida, United States
Another important poi "on the road" between Jaipur and Agra is Fatehpursikri. It was built by the Mughal Emperor Akbar, the grandfather of Shah Jahan, who built the Taj Mahal. It was built, specifically as a capital city, out of the famous and beautiful Rajasthani Red Sandstone. However due to drought, it was abandoned during his reign. It is a beautiful fort that is in pristine condition due to perfect renovations (inside). It has an elephant tethering point. Which was used to tether the elephants, who were used to crush criminals to death, on imperial orders. It has an intricately carved private audience hall, which melded all the period's influences together. This, in itself, is worth the half hour/hour drive, out of Agra, to see. It also is a beautiful example of how society operated during that period. Akbar had many wives, but his most beloved (a Hindu princess from Amber), famously had her own kitchen due to the strictly vegetarian diet of the Hindu religion. The Mughals were Muslim invaders, and strife between the Muslim and Hindu communities exist up till today. Not to mention the wars between India and Pakistan (a war that can only be compared to the Palestinian conflict). However Akbar, even today, is still beloved by the Rajasthani Hindu population. He is remembered as the only Mughal who strived for total religious equality. His dedication and love for his Hindu wife, is still considered even deeper than that, which built the Taj Mahal Most tour companies (& all reputable companies) include Fatehpursikri as a standard stop between Jaipur and Agra. It can also be included between Ranthambore and Agra. I have travel by train from Ranthambore, got off near Fatehpursikri (Bharatpur railway station), and continued on to Agra in the same day. To travel, is to live over 8 years ago
Best place to stay inBikaner is I recommend Rao Bika ji Group of hotels & Resorts c/o hotel meera mahal heritage opposite kalakar colony
Born in America, I am very picky about where I stay. I stayed in Lalgarh Palace when I was in Bikaner. It is the most majestic heritage property I have ever visited. Services we only OK though, but still much better than a hostel. You really feel like you have stepped back 100 years in time. Old photographs of the royal family adorne the hallways and dinning room. I was there in the winter, so the indoor swimming pool was out of use (something common that time of the year in northern India). But you could feel royal presence through out the property (only half of which has been converted to hotel use). I have also been recommended Gajner Palace Hotel, outside of Bikaner over 8 years ago
Yes, the Camel Festivals is probably the best time to see rural culture in the whole of Rajasthan. If you go to Bikaner any other time I strongly advise anyone to look up "The Camel Man" (his real name is Vijay Singh Rathore). He actually owns his own Sand-Dune and has been hosting foreign and domestic tourists, with traditional food, music and camping, for more than 25 years. He is the one to go see, when in Bikaner, if you're looking for exploration and special experiences over 8 years ago