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“Stay with a Family”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Shanti House

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Shanti House
Ranked #3 of 50 Bikaner B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Wales
Level Contributor
42 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
“Stay with a Family”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 15, 2013

I can see why Shanti house and Gouri who runs it have received so many good reviews, because they are worth it. Apart from the rooms, which are basic (bucket wash and Indian toilet) but beautifully decorated with good beds, the point is you effectively get the chance to stay with an Indian family, a rare opportunity. You are eating what the family eat, especially Tara's excellent thali, plus a range of travelers fare.

It is the family (Gouri, Tara and their 3 year old daughter) who make this a special place to stay, not minor details about the rooms or the roof terrace. Gouri was wonderful throughout from when he met us off the night sleeper train from Dehli, which was 1.5 hours late, to his excellent walking tour of the old city (200R), and advice on visits, trains and camel rides.

He is the opposite of greedy, and was completely honest about any commission he might get from traders or factories if we went. Everything we got was reasonably priced from the room to meals to water, with no intention to rip anyone off. In fact when we were there, some Spanish travelers he helped with last minute accommodation stole an expensive blanket.

He advised us on travel and was able to book us a night sleeper from Jaisalmer to Jodpur that we had been told at the station was completely overbooked, for a 100R commission. He also told us the best train to Jaisalmer and the rat temple. Apart from practical advice, he was a mine of information about Bikanir and Indian customs, including getting us some Pan (betel) to try (it is horrible!). He didn't try and force camel rides or other visits on us, and isn't tied up with any agencies or agents.

I think this is an excellent place to stay, but be careful you get the right one because another hotel has called itself Shanti house and bribes rickshaw drivers to take you there instead, so ring up first and get Gouri to meet you, his English is very good.

Now a word about why you should visit Bikaner, which is missed by most tourists. It is precisely because there are so few tourists (and no coach parties) that it is so wonderful. The whole place is very friendly and interested in you while being much more Indian and rural than more developed tourist cities. A stay of two or three days will let you explore the old city (with Gouri's tour getting you started), visit the fort and see the rat temple. This is a great trip, apart from the rats there are loads of wedding parties, who want to involve you in their colourful ceremonies. 10R train ride (10.30am) or local buses are really frequent and there is an excellent local restaurant just outside the temple compound where all the wedding parties eat.

Bikaner has good trains to and from Jaisalmer, Jaipur and Jodpur all about 4-5 hours or there is a night sleeper to and from Dehli, about 12 hours leaving at 10 pm but not from main station in Dehli.

I can't praise Gouri and his family or Bikaner enough, a great visit.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
7 Thank AdrianW31
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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234 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (13)
Date | Rating
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English first
London, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 12, 2013

Shanti is definitely the word for this lovely hotel, conveniently situated in the heart of the old bizarre area. The friendly hosts were incredibly accommodating and made us feel nothing other than welcome during our stay. Our room was neat, tidy and tastefully decorated with a great balcony area - a great place to chill out during the hottest part of the day. By night we sat on the terrace and ate delicious home cooked food that is very reasonably priced. Would definitely recommend as a calm oasis in this hectic city. Check out the paintings downstairs, the one with turbaned husband sneakily smoking a chillum while his wife looks scornfully on is hilarious!

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
6 Thank tobpea
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bikaner, India
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 16, 2013

Thank the Gods that we bumped into Gouri outside the railway station. He helped us book trains and find buses/tourist information and only mentioned that he had a hostel when we moaned about ours. We'd already booked into the scummy, cockroach infested Evergreen, but the next day we moved into the lovely Shanti house. A big, quaintly decorated airy room with flower patterns on the wall, a proper bed and a Western toilet. We enjoyed a delicious meal on the small roof top terrace, and were charmed by his wee girl who sat in our laps after we ate. Gouri managed to get us seats on a seemingly full train, and was a wealth of information. If you have to stay in Bikaner - stay here!

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
5 Thank Anna M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 5, 2013

After arriving from Jaisalmer hot and dusty I was bombarded with tuk-tuk touts after my tourist rupee. Overwhelmed and somewhat hungry I was rescued by Gouri (Man of the house of Shanti) and his trustee motorbike, we rode off for chai and an artist demonstration at the local NGO (a group that supports local artists), it was the perfect antidote to a stressful journey - friendly faces and instant connection, I felt at ease and happily gazed at the beautiful paintings on display (with no pressure to purchase).

The house of Shanti is more family home than hotel, a unique cultural experience, it is difficult as a lone female traveller to connect with Indians (people are often confused as to why you are travelling alone and you're often approached for the wrong reasons) here I was able to interact with women and children with ease and talk frankly and safely with the family (including the men). I was invited to take part in two weddings, an adventure to the temple of rats and a delightful camel farm. There was opportunity to learn Hindi, teach in a local village, and attend art classes. I also visited the local embroidery factory in search of antique folk clothing (a passion of mine) and was delighted with my finds and the negotiated rate (don't forget to barter with a smile on your face).

Gouri also guides tours through the old town - a highly recommended experience providing a valuable insight into the heritage of Bikaner, which was part of the old spice route and India in general. What Gouri and his family gave me was something more than a hotel, a relaxed peek into Bikaner culture and Indian culture as a whole. I was able to ask the questions I had wanted to ask since arriving five weeks ago, without fear of offending or being misunderstood. I think it has to do with the family stepping outside of India to Europe where they visited friends - thus providing a more cosmopolitan understanding of western ways - but still with an strong appreciation and celebration of traditional Indian culture.

The house was in the cusp of the old town, equidistant to the bustling high street and the fort an excellent location to visit most sights, I would recommend there home and hospitality to the reader and would consider visiting Bikaner again (perhaps to volunteer and take Hindi classes),

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled solo
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Helpful?
10 Thank Martina R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 29, 2013

I haven't slept in this place, I only ate here.
The food was really good, really good price! I've had the jeera rice with aloo gobi, and I returned the next day for fried dhal with jeera rice. They give a very nice personal touch to the diner!
Gouri and his wife are the nicest persons of Bikaner.

Stayed January 2013, traveled solo
Helpful?
9 Thank Floris88
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 28, 2013

Hello to all you Fellow Travelers who just happen to be heading in a Bikaner type direction AND are looking for a FAB place to stay!

I just spent a pleasurable week in Bikaner with a wonderful Family at the Shanti guest house! Actually it felt more like i was staying friends! I really was made to feel welcome in this friendly easy going Atmosphere! There are 4 Unique Fantastic looking rooms Ranging from 4 to 6 hundred Roops! OR if like me you are a budget Traveler there are also 2 Beds(one on the roof,one in A corridor) which are going for 120 Roops!which i found to be great Value. You will also find Gouri (The owner) to be very helpful with travel plans, information ETC. Its also perfectly located for the tourist as its in the old town BUT also close to the new!!! SO ENJOY!!

Room Tip: Look AND choose- They are all good!
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled solo
    • Value
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Helpful?
10 Thank Alex K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Baltimore, Maryland, United States
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 28, 2012

My fiance and I had a positive experience at Shanti house. Its a nice place to hang out with fellow travelers. We also felt quite at home with Gouri, Tara, and Cormelika- their adorable daughter. When we became ill at their house, Gouri and Tara were very caring and concerned for our well being. They helped us a lot when we were in need, and for that we are grateful. We hope to return one day.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
9 Thank MadiShap
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Shanti House

Property: Shanti House
Address: Shanti House Near City Kotwaly | Old city, Bikaner 334001, India
Location: India > Rajasthan > Bikaner
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 50 B&Bs / Inns in Bikaner
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 4
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The only guest house in the old city. Mentioned and thanked in Lonely Planet. We currently have 3 rooms with attached bathroom and 1 with separate bathroom. Free pick up from bus or train. I am also available for city tours or other travel advice. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Shanti House Hotel Bikaner

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