Rajasthan, festooned with plush heritage and brilliant historical monuments was on my bucket list since many days. It has been my key places of interest to discover. So, to strike off one of bucket list, we backpacked to the Land of Rajputs. We took train from Pune to Jaisalmer which is about 25-hours journey. As soon as we got down, we searched for a dhaba serving lip-smacking mirchi wada and kachodi to satiate our taste buds.
Jaisalmer is a city mainly known for its huge forts and for its safaris that reveal the Thar Desert. I had heard a lot about the night camps in the desert. So, this was on my priority list. Also, if you choose a camel safari to the Thar Desert, your stay at the guesthouse is free. After interaction with the locals, we realized that the night camps were situated 40kms from Jaisalmer city.
We left the city in the afternoon to explore the fort of Jaisalmer, a typical Rajasthani classic. The climate was really harsh and you would just feel like going back to guest house and recline. But the enthusiasm kept us moving and discovering the city. The Rajasthan fort is open to all. A lot of local shops selling colorful artifacts and traditional items were lined up outside the fort. Well, I will not be choosy with the fort of Jaisalmer, it has different style as compared to other palaces of Maharajas. Neither perfect nor very beautiful, but it touched my heart. After a long tiring day, we returned to the hotel and prepared for the next day.
Departure for the safari in the Thar Desert
In the early morning , we left for Thar Desert to experience the most awaited safari. On the way, you can take a break to stop near the ruins of old Rajasthan. Indeed Rajasthan is filled with historically important monuments. The driver was amicable and explained about each historical monument with much clarity and details.
Riding a camel and sinking into the vastness of the Thar Desert cannot not be missed when one is in Jaisalmer. There are good twenty agencies the offer the same thing along with hotels and guesthouses that work with them. Strolling on camel for hours a day in the desert is a fantastic experience, but is also very challenging. At the end of the day, we're both exhausted and amazed by the wild beauty of the desert. Our guide took us to Longewala, 120 kms from the Sand dunes. This place is the Indo-Pak border and is famous for 1971 war. The place was filled with memorial stones of those who sacrificed their life at war and huge tanks. Next we visited Mata Mandir. This temple was bombarded with more than 200 bombs by Pakistanis during war and we were shocked to see a few bombs kept in the temple for visitors. After the visit, we returned to the Camp area and was excited for the best of the trip. What can be more electrifying than to watch the sunset on top of a series of sand dunes and thousands of stars that paint the black canvas of sky?
The night in the desert
Spending a night in the desert is absolutely magical. On the one hand it's very cold but you are snug in your sheets. There are thousands of stars all over the sky to glance at. It's like the pictures that you usually see on the internet but this time it’s before your eyes. The next morning we had to pack up to return to Pune.
We hurriedly left from Jaisalmer Railway Station to catch our train back to Pune. The overall journey was mesmerizing. Indeed it was a new experience in the desert of India. I personally would recommend everyone as Jaisalmer will tag a mark in heart forever.