Christmas in Jaisalmer - Night Safari in the middle of Thar..

Tripoto
22nd Dec 2017
Photo of Christmas in Jaisalmer - Night Safari in the middle of Thar.. by Lopamudra Mandal

This was my first visit to any desert, especially being a mountain person . So, there was a different kind of anticipation of whether I will like it or not. Giving rest to all those thoughts I decided to go for a solo trip to Jaisalmer. But thank God, my (now ex) colleague and friend decided to join me because this trip went to another level of epic, thanks to her. A pretty experienced traveller herself, I got to learn so much from her in this trip. Huge shout out to Aarti, thanks for the trip of a lifetime!!

Delhi-Jaipur-Jaisalmer

Most convenient way to reach - via train directly or there are some trains from Jaipur, or Jodhpur. But none of them were convenient to our timings of that day, so we decided to travel to Jaipur and catch an overnight "express" bus from there. Our bus left Jaipur around 10.30 pm and turns out none of the buses take less than 8-9 hours to reach Jaipur. So we booked an Uber as it was our best shot at reaching there in time for our bus. And it was almost a touch and a miss situation, because of bad traffic jam in Delhi-Jaipur highway. We could catch the bus just 5 minutes before our bus was to leave, thanks to the uber guy. And there it was, our ride till Jaisalmer, nothing express about it. Just your ordinary bus minus random stops in between (we were heavily misled to believe that it was at least a non-AC deluxe - Thanks RSRTC!!). Next 12 hours was not the most comfortable journey because it was December and freezing and we clung to our bed sheets and shawls throughout the night waiting for the morning sun to give some relief. At 2 am we reached some place in between for a pee-break and we decided to have rice and hot dal to get some respite from the bone-chilling cold and the bus almost left without us, saved by the Dhaba owner who told us "Madam, you eat. I will see how he leaves this place without taking you" (The much talked about and rightly so, "Padharo Mhare Desh" treatment)

Day 1

Hotel Golden Haveli

Photo of Hotel Golden Haveli, Bera Road, Postal Colony, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India by Lopamudra Mandal

Hotel Golden Haveli

Photo of Hotel Golden Haveli, Bera Road, Postal Colony, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India by Lopamudra Mandal

Breakfast, after 14 hour journey!

Photo of Hotel Golden Haveli, Bera Road, Postal Colony, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India by Lopamudra Mandal

My Favorite Flower - Bougainvillea

Photo of Hotel Golden Haveli, Bera Road, Postal Colony, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India by Lopamudra Mandal

Yes, the hotel had a pool too!

Photo of Hotel Golden Haveli, Bera Road, Postal Colony, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India by Lopamudra Mandal

Stealing a moment in the chaos of life

Photo of Patwon Ki Haveliyan, Amar Sagar Pol, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India by Lopamudra Mandal

I loved these mirrors on the ceiling..

Photo of Patwon Ki Haveliyan, Amar Sagar Pol, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India by Lopamudra Mandal
Photo of Patwon Ki Haveliyan, Amar Sagar Pol, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India by Lopamudra Mandal

Laas Maas, Kaku Cafe

Photo of Cafe The Kaku, Malka Pol, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India by Lopamudra Mandal

Jaisalmer Fort

Photo of Golden City Fort Jaisalmer, Khejer Para, Manak Chowk, Amar Sagar Pol, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India by Lopamudra Mandal

Cracking one of the knock-knock jokes i guess!

Photo of Golden City Fort Jaisalmer, Khejer Para, Manak Chowk, Amar Sagar Pol, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India by Lopamudra Mandal

Vyaas Chaatri

Photo of Vyas Chhatri, Dr. K. L. Achalvanshi Colony, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India by Lopamudra Mandal

Spot the windmills..

Photo of Vyas Chhatri, Dr. K. L. Achalvanshi Colony, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India by Lopamudra Mandal

Even though in ruins, this place had a different charm to it

Photo of Vyas Chhatri, Dr. K. L. Achalvanshi Colony, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India by Lopamudra Mandal

And then the sun sets on the Golden City..

Photo of Vyas Chhatri, Dr. K. L. Achalvanshi Colony, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India by Lopamudra Mandal
Day 2

The very famous Gadisar lake again did not impress me much, at least at that point of the day in the morning, super loaded with people. But it does have a lot of beautiful spots, so sunset/sunrise should be a better time to visit to enjoy the place. Very surprisingly, I loved Mandir Palace. It was beautiful, the craftsmanship, the structures, woodwork. Everything about this place was so beautiful, I loved those window-like structures especially. We ended our Jaisalmer sightseeing by visiting Jain Temple, which is more like a palace actually and is full of beautiful structures all around. We then headed up to pack up and leave for Sam Sand Dunes with first making a pit stop at Kuldhara.

Rajasthan's Hospitality all the way!

Photo of Mandir Palace, Sadar Bazar, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India by Lopamudra Mandal

Yeah, look at that crowd!

Photo of Gadisar Lake, Postal Colony, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan by Lopamudra Mandal
Photo of Gadisar Lake, Postal Colony, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan by Lopamudra Mandal

Apparently, parts of Sarfarosh was shot here. Remember, Mirchi Seth's Haveli?

Photo of Mandir Palace, Sadar Bazar, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India by Lopamudra Mandal

Self- Reflection!

Photo of Mandir Palace, Sadar Bazar, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India by Lopamudra Mandal

Yeah, you read it right (morons!)

Photo of Mandir Palace, Sadar Bazar, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India by Lopamudra Mandal
Photo of Jain Temple, Lodurva, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India by Lopamudra Mandal

Sam Sand Dunes - The Might Thar Desert

We reached the DDS Camps for the best part of our trip, celebrating Chirstmas in Desert. We quicky checked our tents which felt very comfy with cosy beds, multiple blankets and attached bathroom in the desert. Though, the whole stretch of Sam sand dunes is filled with camps, ours did not feel very crowded as it was in the last part of the stretch. We were ready for our camel ride till the sunset point which actually is not very far from the camps. Even though the camel rides were short but was fun and initially scary nevertheless. Be aware of the camel guys promising to take you to where 'Border' was shot. They will take you only a few meters and charge a bomb for it. We quickly decided to reach the sunset point as the sun was setting rapidly, we actually had to make a run for it (bad idea in the desert). Please make sure that you are fully clothed to avoid the sand getting inside or getting tanned. All the camps had a musical night organised and the noise was unbearable. But eventually our camp's program started too, and was enjoyable (minus a guy spitting fire and women dancing on glass). It ended with a very good dinner on desert standards and DJ Night!

Handling the phone on the camel was not easy, have to admit!

Photo of Sam Sand Dunes, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India by Lopamudra Mandal

Sam Sand Dunes!!

Photo of Sam Sand Dunes, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India by Lopamudra Mandal
Photo of Sam Sand Dunes, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India by Lopamudra Mandal

Desert Life

Photo of Sam Sand Dunes, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India by Lopamudra Mandal

Touristy Stuff, I know!

Photo of Sam Sand Dunes, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India by Lopamudra Mandal

Viewer Discretion Advvised!

Photo of Sam Sand Dunes, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India by Lopamudra Mandal

Night Safari in Desert - BEST IDEA EVER!

This was the highlight of the trip for me, it is a memory which will be etched in my mind forever. You know when they say, it is the experiences which makes your life worth living. This was it for me. Desert safari is basically sand dune bashing in a jeep (not your regular ones), wherein you move from one sand mountain to another at a high speed, except you do it at night, in pitch dark. And when it is December, add extremely chilly temperature to it. You need at least 6-8 people to book a jeep and we were just the two of us. Even after asking a lot of people no one was up for it. But Aarti was adamant. She said I should not miss out on it because she had done it before. She somehow spoke to Mr. Bhati, owner of DDS who at 11.00 pm told us that he would take us for it for 2k (its around 3-3.5k for the whole jeep otherwise) and took us in his own personal Thar, which was a beast of a vehicle. And it is pretty scary at 11 pm, just the two of us, literally in the middle of nowhere. I am so glad Mr. Bhati himself decided to drive us or else I doubt we could trust anyone else to go with at that point. So, we head out with music, glaring on the Thar, holding on to the open air jeep tightly as it was freezing cold. I had so many emotions at once, excited, nervous, numb with cold! It was pitch dark, the sky was full of stars and the song Musafir from Jagga Jasoos was playing in the background. It was far more poetic than I can express in words. So DO NOT miss out on the night safari. It is worth every penny that you spend.

Night Safari in the Thar Desert - Bucketlist Check!

Photo of Thar Desert, Rajasthan by Lopamudra Mandal

Sand Dune Bashing

Photo of Thar Desert, Rajasthan by Lopamudra Mandal
Day 3

Generally, I do not prefer packages, but this one was worth it. Checkout DDS Holidays for more details on there packages. Our package cost us about 13K approximately for the both of us which was a very good deal.

P.S - The reason why the trip cost us on the higher side is because all our bookings were last minute. Inlcuding a cab ride from Delhi-Jaipur which was 3.5K, which could have been easily avoided. I am confident this can be done under 10k with proper and advanced planning. And, I am always up for helping out fellow travellers, so please touch base with me on my insta handle @musingsofmywanderlust.

**Disclaimer - All the IP Rights in all the pictures uploaded are owned by me and must not be reproduced without my prior consent.

Day 1

Jaisalmer, Finally

As this was unplanned trip we had decided to take a package from DDS Holidays for the whole of our trip. So we were welcomed by the owner of the camp himself, Mr. Bhati and after a 12 hour journey in the ordinary bus, it was like we were getting rewarded for our journey. We were dropped at our Hotel (Golden Haveli) which looked very welcoming, and gobbled away parathas right away since our last meal was the dal chawal at 2 am!! And we were ready to explore Jaisalmer. Our package also included a vehicle for sightseeing, so we started off with our sightseeing.

Patwaon Ki Haveli, Vyas Chhatri, Jaisalmer Fort, Kalu Cafe

I have seen my fair share of havelis in Rajasthan by now, so Patwaon ki Haveli, no doubt, was beautiful, but again super crowded, really took away the charm of the place. The structure from outside looked way more exquisite than inside. Next up, we visited the very famous Kalu Cafe, situated at the top overlooking the Jaisalmer fort, has a wide range of Rajasthani cuisines you can try out, especialy the laal mans was lip-smacking. Can get crowded in the evening/for dinner, especially because of the view and location and also availability of alcohol (I remember seeing some beer bottles). The service went down drastically when we went there for dinner, so keep that in mind. Again Jaisalmer Fort, much beautiful outside than the inside. We decided not to spend much time in the fort and headed to my favourite places in Jaisalmer to watch the sunset. S0, if in Jaisalmer - do not miss out on this one. It is situated about 20 mins away from the city, overlooking giant windmills (I had no clue Jaisalmer had windmills). This is the place to be if you want to watch the beautiful, quiet sunset.

Beautiful Structure, from the outside

Photo of Vyas Chhatri, Dr. K. L. Achalvanshi Colony, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India by Lopamudra Mandal
Day 2

Gadisar Lake, Mandir Palace, Jain Temple

Nothing haunted about the haunted Village - Kuldhara

Ok, so I am re-thinking the title because I don't want to irk the ghosts, but with over 200 people there was nothing haunted about Kuldhara village, which has a legend behind it that it the villagers abandoned it overnight and disappeared overnight. I am sure I will pee in my pants at night there which is why people are not allowed to go there at night, but during day time all I could see was broken beer bottles and trash.

Photo of Kuldhara, Rajasthan, India by Lopamudra Mandal

Kuldhara Village

Photo of Kuldhara, Rajasthan, India by Lopamudra Mandal
Day 3

This is how our camp looked like, from the outside

Photo of Dangri Desert Safari Holidays, Ashram Road, Ellisbridge, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India by Lopamudra Mandal

Adios Jaisalmer, untill next time!

After an epic night, I missed out on the sunrise which I had planned to watch. After having our breakfast at the Camp we headed out for Jaisalmer. We had a late evening train and the package included dropping us off at the station. We planned to while away our time in some cafe till evening and it was Mr. Bhati who was driving us back. He came to our rescue again!! Took us to his uncle's hotel, Hotel Desert Palace, which has newly opened up and arranged our lunch as well. we whiled our time at that hotel itself and he dropped us off in the evening for our train. Throughout the trip I was constantly reminded why they say that Rajasthan is very tourist friendly. Truly living up to the tag line.

Adios, jaisalmer. Untill next time!!

Photo of Station Road, Ramdevra, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India by Lopamudra Mandal
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