Thar desert on a motorcycle

Tripoto
15th Mar 2015
Photo of Thar desert on a motorcycle 1/22 by Abhishek Dasgupta
Mehrangarh Fort
Photo of Thar desert on a motorcycle 2/22 by Abhishek Dasgupta
Jaisalmer Fort
Photo of Thar desert on a motorcycle 3/22 by Abhishek Dasgupta
Mehrangarh Fort
Photo of Thar desert on a motorcycle 4/22 by Abhishek Dasgupta
Jaisalmer
Photo of Thar desert on a motorcycle 5/22 by Abhishek Dasgupta
Kuldhera Ruins
Photo of Thar desert on a motorcycle 6/22 by Abhishek Dasgupta
Jaisalmer
Photo of Thar desert on a motorcycle 7/22 by Abhishek Dasgupta
Photo of Thar desert on a motorcycle 8/22 by Abhishek Dasgupta
Patwon Ki Haveli
Photo of Thar desert on a motorcycle 9/22 by Abhishek Dasgupta
Photo of Thar desert on a motorcycle 10/22 by Abhishek Dasgupta
Patwon Ki Haveli
Photo of Thar desert on a motorcycle 11/22 by Abhishek Dasgupta
Thar Desert
Photo of Thar desert on a motorcycle 12/22 by Abhishek Dasgupta
Pushkar
Photo of Thar desert on a motorcycle 13/22 by Abhishek Dasgupta
Pushkar
Photo of Thar desert on a motorcycle 14/22 by Abhishek Dasgupta
Thar Desert
Photo of Thar desert on a motorcycle 15/22 by Abhishek Dasgupta
Thar Desert
Photo of Thar desert on a motorcycle 16/22 by Abhishek Dasgupta
Munabao
Photo of Thar desert on a motorcycle 17/22 by Abhishek Dasgupta
Pushkar
Photo of Thar desert on a motorcycle 18/22 by Abhishek Dasgupta
Jodhpur
Photo of Thar desert on a motorcycle 19/22 by Abhishek Dasgupta
Buller on Thar
Photo of Thar desert on a motorcycle 20/22 by Abhishek Dasgupta
Photo of Thar desert on a motorcycle 21/22 by Abhishek Dasgupta
Jaisalmer Fort
Photo of Thar desert on a motorcycle 22/22 by Abhishek Dasgupta
Khab Ruins

I reached Bar around 6:30 in the evening, and could smell the rain from long away, grey clouds ahead, few strings of lightening getting lost midway in the sky. The Aravallis surround me, the sky is violet and being illuminated with flashes of thunder every now and then. Being brought up in a place which gets frequent thunderstorm and heavy rain in the summer evenings, I suddenly got deported to my childhood. A suspended state of time, not smudged by the change of seasons. Big drops of rain hit my helmet visor. Let’s get wet again. Nice welcome, dear Rajasthan!

Kuku’s Coffee Shop is one of the best places to see the sunset from, in Jaisalmer. It’s located on one corner bastion of the golden fortress, facing the west. Far away, you can see the slow lumbering spin of the wind turbines in the desert, and the sudden sprout of yellow living quarters in the foreground.

“My name is Ritesh, but people know me here by Toni” – the owner quipped. As most people here, he is fluent in English, French, German and bit of Italian. I said “Add Hebrew to your resume too”, to which he solemnly observed “Yes, why not”.

Every house is made of yellow sandstone in Jaisalmer, and most are ornate with intricate carvings, filigree. Several people live in the golden fortress, and it houses some 30-35 hotels now, from budget ones to luxurious. A known face and a smile is everywhere. And of course, the constant heckling for camel safari, sightseeing, antique items. But, you will get used to it soon.…

Today I intend to see the real Thar desert, so I head north-west from Jaisalmer to Tanot and Longewala. Near Ranaut, huge sand dunes fill the horizon on either side. Ranaut is a small village which seems to have been sprung out from nowhere in the middle of the desert. I parked my motorcycle and started walked up a dune. And then another. The sand is never ending, flowing across the horizon. A light breeze stirs up the edge of the dunes. I spot two women walking towards the village far away. They stop, look at me, giggle and carry on their business. A boy comes up to me from the village. He is studying in class 6 in the only school in the village and poses for me to take photos.…

As I ride beyond Khuri towards west, the landscape and stare from villagers tell me they haven’t seen many tourists here. The road goes upto the Indo-Pak border, across the desert. The villages here are a handful of stone houses, with a camel or two tied to a pole, in the middle of nothing. I saw a few wild camels too, feasting on the thorny bushes. They have a lazy elegance as they walk or run, floating effortlessly through the sand. About 3 hours from Khuri, I reach Munabao, the last railway station of India, right at the Indo-Pak border. Every Saturday, the Thar Express crosses over to Pakistan from here. It is the oldest surviving railway link between the two countries, bringing people from here to there, and from there to here, people of the same demographics and landscape, but separated by a political border.