Desert Fox

Tripoto
3rd Mar 2018
Photo of Desert  Fox 1/1 by Harsh Sharma
In my world, happiness looks something like this!

Dreams are testament, a world of make-belief where anything is possible!

Hello Friends! This blog is about a tour which I did in the Month of March, 2018.

Why and when?

As I had some time on my hands with some incredible coincidences which happened, I decided to push my luck a little further and go for a bike trip in my home State of Rajasthan.

Where?

After the tour of 2017 in the month of April, I was left with two major jewels in the desert State i.e. Jodhpur and Jaisailmer. This was perhaps a little more ambitious of the last solo tour that I did, the last tour gave me some confidence on my machine that this can be pulled off. I expected the trip to be around 1,400 KM as last one was just above 800 KM.

Planning

I intended this to be a 5 day trip, cause of the geography of the 2 cities which which were in my sights Jodhpur had to be visited twice, so, I would have to come back to Jodhpur after exploring Jaisailmer again, otherwise it would had been a above 600 KM ride from Jaisailmer to Jaipur which was something which I did not wanted. Stay accommodations would be at hostels only as both cities were major tourist attractions, places for sightseeing on the recommendation from fellow travellers and friends and little research that I did.

DAY- 1

The Journey begins (Jaipur to Jodhpur 335 KM)

Day 1

I always prefer to leave for a bike ride small (30 KM) or long one like this early in the morning hours before the Sun is out, you get minimal traffic, more efficient as well, one is cause of less heat (major issue if travelling apart from winters) and when you feel Sun on your shoulders and more or less half of the ride is done, one feels like Lord of all creations.

So I initiated my ride early at 5 AM in the morning as it was just the beginning of March so Sun comes up around 7 only 2 hours I could just get my head down and ride-ride-ride. With just one stop around Beawar (180 KM from Jaipur) for tea and breakfast and back in saddle for balance journey.

Somewhere near Beawar there is a series of hiils, one has to stop and see it in the morning mist. It was blissful.

Photo of Jaipur, Rajasthan, India by Harsh Sharma

I was advised by a fellow traveler to stay at Gostops hostel in Jodhpur as it was near to major tourist attractions and their are plenty of tourists with whom you can share and discuss about travel plans and experiences.

I was advised to see the Mehrangarh fort in Jodhpur as it is the crown jewel of all tourist attractions in Jodhpur, it was a mere 2 KM away so I went over to explore the fort.

The fort is an imposing structure looming on a top of a hill which is very steep.

Photo of Mehrangarh Fort Museum, Sodagaran Mohalla, Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India by Harsh Sharma

One gets a glimpse of the Blue City when making your way up.

Photo of Mehrangarh Fort Museum, Sodagaran Mohalla, Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India by Harsh Sharma

The interiors of the fort are Grandeur of Rajasthani royalty and elegance, there are rooms, halls, corridors and verandahs filled with artifacts, utensils, attires, chandeliers et cetera and all of this is along with walls and ceiling which are decorated in golden color and to add to more the bling to them they had put stones, mirrors and paintings to them.

Court room

Photo of Desert Fox by Harsh Sharma
Photo of Desert Fox by Harsh Sharma
Photo of Desert Fox by Harsh Sharma
Photo of Desert Fox by Harsh Sharma

The fort is also got a small glimpse in the Movie The Dark Knight Rises, here are the two places which will make you recollect the scenes from the movie.

Photo of Desert Fox by Harsh Sharma
Photo of Desert Fox by Harsh Sharma

The exteriors walls of the fort are magnificent too, they have been craved and worked interesting and amazing patterns.

Photo of Desert Fox by Harsh Sharma
Photo of Desert Fox by Harsh Sharma
Photo of Desert Fox by Harsh Sharma
Photo of Desert Fox by Harsh Sharma

One place which shall not be missed is a temple within the fort itself it is a little further ahead, while going towards that temple one could get views like the following.

Going near the cannons is not allowed, for obvious reasons.

Photo of Desert Fox by Harsh Sharma

To this temple is an interesting way you go up and down in gusts of air, it was fun.

Photo of Desert Fox by Harsh Sharma

Next place which I went to visit was the Jawaswant Thada, that is cenotaph built by the royal family to pay an homage to their ancestors.

Photo of Jaswant Thada, Lawaran, Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India by Harsh Sharma
Photo of Jaswant Thada, Lawaran, Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India by Harsh Sharma
Photo of Jaswant Thada, Lawaran, Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India by Harsh Sharma

This is a nice place to chill amidst the gardens in forecourt and lake in the back of the monument.

Photo of Desert Fox by Harsh Sharma

Meanwhile, Sun and clouds that day were playing games and kept me interested as well.

Photo of Desert Fox by Harsh Sharma

After all this site seeing I just went to masuriya hill garden and chilled in the dusk time, it was a long day that began at 03:45 in the morning and rode close to 350 KMs. I called it a day and got myself settled in the cozy bunk of my hostel. The plan for the next was to reach Jaisailmer by the noon. Another ride of 300 KMs awaited.

DAY-2 (Jodhpur to Jaisailmer 300 KMs)

The day was Sunday, I happen to be more adventurous on that day then any other, so I decided to part from the National Highway which goes from Jodhpur to Jaisailmer and choose to ride from an interior road which happened to be a State Highway, it turned to be an interesting choice.

The road itself was not bad it was more or less in same condition as any of the national highways, but being an interior road it snaked its way from small villages, where there are villages their are schools and where there schools, there are speed breakers that too in set of 2 one before the school gate and one after. I saw a lot of interesting things on way, could not capture any to share due to the haste and need to reach Jaisailmer soon.

One gentleman told me over a cup of chai that after reaching Dechu, I can rejoin National Highway which goes from Pokran to Jaisailmer. I gave it a try, the Highway after Pokran is butter smooth and a pleasure to ride on. Never before I enjoyed such a great patch of tarmac which was picturesque as well.

Day 2

Late in the afternoon around 3PM I made it to Jaisailmer, I navigated my way straight to Zostle, checked in and grab a local city guide map which is being provided to every guest which they host.

I asked to Manager what I can see and do in the little daylight time that I had, he advised me to go to a Haveli of Patwas and later to Gadisagar Lake. Which is exactly what I did.

The Haveli itself is very alluring from the outside.

Photo of Zostel Jaisalmer, Dhibba Para, Manak Chowk, Amar Sagar Pol, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India by Harsh Sharma

In the interiors of it are just the normal daily usage things of the erstwhile inhabitants which have been kept in glass boxes. However, walls and ceiling are royal just the Mehargarh fort.

Photo of Patwa Haveli / Patwon ki Haveli (Kothari's Patwa Haveli), Amar Sagar Pol, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India by Harsh Sharma
Photo of Patwa Haveli / Patwon ki Haveli (Kothari's Patwa Haveli), Amar Sagar Pol, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India by Harsh Sharma
Photo of Patwa Haveli / Patwon ki Haveli (Kothari's Patwa Haveli), Amar Sagar Pol, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India by Harsh Sharma

This image was taken from one of the aangans (courtyard) for the Haveli, I was awestruck buy the lighting that place had, which resulted in one of the better images. (not so good in photography)

Photo of Desert Fox by Harsh Sharma

Afterwards, I had just a single agenda to stroll in the alleys of Jaisailmer and make my way to Gadisagar lake. Alleys of Jaisailmer looks this.

Photo of Desert Fox by Harsh Sharma
Photo of Desert Fox by Harsh Sharma
Photo of Desert Fox by Harsh Sharma
Photo of Desert Fox by Harsh Sharma

Lake itself is big tourist magnet, which attracts flocks of tourists, so if you are looking of peace and quiet it not a place to be, however I must lake is well maintained and is clean as well.

Photo of Gadisar Lake, Postal Colony, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan by Harsh Sharma

After the Sun had gone below the horizon, I went to the terrace of Zostel, where full moon and chill party was pleasing after another day of 300 KMs of ride.

Photo of Desert Fox by Harsh Sharma
Day 3

DAY- 3 (Fort and Desert Safari)

In past two days I had rode each day close to 300 KMs, so I decided to to stay a little longer in the Golden City, to make my stay worth the while, the Manager of Zostel, Jaisailmer suggested that I should go for the desert safari. I concurred with his suggestion. They charge around INR 1,600 for the same which includes everything from evening supper to the breakfast for the following day. They take you in the evening so for the better part of the day I decided to explore the only living fort India.

The fort itself is like the alleys of the city only, where every next home is selling some sort of merchandise to the tourists from hand made paintings to the hand stone carved map of the city. Exterior walls of homes are also designed with carved stones.

Their was something of everyone.

Photo of Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India by Harsh Sharma
Photo of Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India by Harsh Sharma

The golden city was a little more colorful than usual as Holi had just gone by.

Photo of Jaisalmer Fort, Dhibba Para, Manak Chowk, Amar Sagar Pol, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India by Harsh Sharma
Photo of Jaisalmer Fort, Dhibba Para, Manak Chowk, Amar Sagar Pol, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India by Harsh Sharma

Their was graffiti on the walls as too from National bird of India to Hindu Gods.

Photo of Desert Fox by Harsh Sharma
Photo of Desert Fox by Harsh Sharma

As the alleys of fort were finished I made my way to the fort itself. Their are all the usual things which one shall find in the Rajasthani fort.

Stone carved handrails and pillars.

Photo of Desert Fox by Harsh Sharma

Weapons.

Photo of Desert Fox by Harsh Sharma

Just a usual furniture set made up of 1,100 KGs of Silver, how modest.

Photo of Desert Fox by Harsh Sharma

Among other things were architecture and views of the city.

Photo of Desert Fox by Harsh Sharma
Photo of Desert Fox by Harsh Sharma

Same view of the exterior wall of the fort from different places in fort itself. The fort is a massive structure in itself.

Photo of Desert Fox by Harsh Sharma
Photo of Desert Fox by Harsh Sharma

This is the last shot I took in of the courtyard of the fort.

Photo of Desert Fox by Harsh Sharma

Then I just waited for the evening to come and go on for the Desert Safari. So what we get in Desert Safari, they pick you up in cabs with minimalistic luggage and drive you to around 30KMs away towards Sam sand dunes, where camels are waiting for the guests. So they will make you sit on a camel and take you further 10 KMs deeper in the sand dunes, while you enjoy the ride on camels and taken in the views of the arid Thar desert.

Roads are like these.

Photo of Desert Fox by Harsh Sharma

Where the road ends the ship of desert takes over.

Photo of Desert Fox by Harsh Sharma

One the ship (camel) you get views like these.

Photo of Sam Sand Dunes Desert Safari Camp Jaisalmer, Kanoi, Rajasthan, India by Harsh Sharma

After the ride on camels we you reach the base camp for the night, where you are greeted with "Khama gani" (Rajasthani way of greeting guests in your abode) and a nice glass filled with piping hot chai.

Then the hosts would request you go a little ahead in desert by foot to feel the sandy terrain and witness the sunset in the desert. People from group went ahead and took images with sun and most beautiful camel of the lot.

Photo of Desert Fox by Harsh Sharma
Photo of Desert Fox by Harsh Sharma
Photo of Desert Fox by Harsh Sharma

Afterwards of sunset I find myself in company of people from 3 different nationality namely one fellow Indian from Banglore British(2), German(3) and USA(3). All 10 of us discussed about what all we have seen and what is next on our agenda which places are better than other and geopolitics as well.

Food which is provided is made over their in sand dunes only the hygiene is a little compromised, I always take a loaf of bread and peanut butter for these kind of scenarios, but I did consumed provided food as well which consisted of Aloo ki sabji and roti.

Photo of Desert Fox by Harsh Sharma

The Night of Nights!

I myself was very sceptical of sleeping in complete open, there was no tent no mat below our mattresses, nothing was their between us and desert insects. So we improvised and made some borders with extra comforters and mattresses. This was con side for the deal, but the pro of the deal was we had the whole sea of the stars and galaxy all for ourselves to see and ponder, it was the most beautiful sky that I can recall. Pity was that none of us had cameras good enough to shoot those stars at which we were staring while being awestruck. I myself had never before seen the milky way but that night I did, and I wished that moment could hold.

Day 4

DAY-4 (Sam sand dunes to Jodhpur 320 KMs)

Following morning, we were again provided with piping hot bed chai.

Photo of Sam Sand Dunes Desert Safari Camp Jaisalmer, Kanoi, Rajasthan, India by Harsh Sharma
Photo of Sam Sand Dunes Desert Safari Camp Jaisalmer, Kanoi, Rajasthan, India by Harsh Sharma
Photo of Sam Sand Dunes Desert Safari Camp Jaisalmer, Kanoi, Rajasthan, India by Harsh Sharma

Then we had breakfast, which consisted of porridge, toast, bananas and biscuits. The return journey back was same, camel ride then the cab.

We made it back to Zostle after 10 AM only even after I kept urging everyone to hurry up, as I was the one who had to go be in road to reach Jodhpur. However, I began my ride to reach Jodhpur after 11AM only, which I planned to begin around 9 AM as per the promise of the coordinator of our trip.

So, I had no plans but to reach Jodhpur by before the Sunset for the same day. For the accommodation I chose to stay at Gostops, Jodhpur only. For the next day, I had planned to see Umaid Bhawan Palace (UBP) and Mandore Gardens. While discussing my plans with fellow travellers, I gathered that UBP was closed for tourists for next 3 days, so UBP had to wait. Next morning after I went straight to Mandore Gardens.

Day 5

These Gardens was Capital afterwards it was shifted to Mehrangarh Fort, the reason was that it would provide better defense as it is situated on top of a hill. The maintenance of this was not so good. However bad maintenance doesn't let the architecture of the place fade away at all.

Photo of Mandore Garden, Mandore, Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India by Harsh Sharma

From far...

Photo of Mandore Garden, Mandore, Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India by Harsh Sharma

...From near.

Photo of Mandore Garden, Mandore, Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India by Harsh Sharma
Photo of Mandore Garden, Mandore, Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India by Harsh Sharma

As the last location was checked I began planning which would be the best way to reach Jaipur, as roads nearer to Jodhpur were under construction. So, on bus driver suggested that from Jodhpur I should head to Pali and the push on towards Jaipur, this would a journey of 400 KMs as Pali 60 KMs towards South of Jodhpur and not in same direction of Jaipur which lies in the east of Jodhpur. I have never before ridden 400 KMs in a same day. It was worth a try so I decided to head towards Pali and then to Jaipur.

Day 1

I embarked on my journey after noon only, I was then only certain that I would be reaching home in the dark only. But the gambol paid off. The Highway from Jodhpur to Pali was a National Highway which was four lane, hence, the ride was a breeze and further on from Pali towards Jaipur it the Highway was 4 lane or better. I made a stop for food only after crossing Beawar and then reached Bagru, which is 65 KMs before Jaipur in the evening and as expected I rode in Jaipur around 7PM by the time Sun had set.

Special mention to Rajendra aka Raj Manager of GoStops Jodhpur, he gave me all the necessary informations what and when shall be done. The GoStops Jodhpur was one the Crown Jewel in this whole adventure the Hostel is such cozy place to be in and happening as well. The place embellishes the Rajasthani royalty to appeal all the travellers. Here are a few images of GoStops Jodhpur. Second, for me would be the Desert Safari. I may go again for that as well, with better camera for memories in celluloid and not words.

Photo of Mehrangarh Fort Museum, Sodagaran Mohalla, Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India by Harsh Sharma
Photo of Mehrangarh Fort Museum, Sodagaran Mohalla, Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India by Harsh Sharma
Photo of Mehrangarh Fort Museum, Sodagaran Mohalla, Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India by Harsh Sharma

As on the popular demand from Home I bought boxes full of snacks for which Jodhpur is famous for namely "pyaz ki kachori" , "kofta", '' samosa" & "mirch bada" .

Photo of Desert Fox by Harsh Sharma

Making it back to Jaipur marked the end of the Desert Fox adventure for me. I rode close to 1500 KMs which is double of what I did on my previous trip in the same number of days. As I parked my bike in my home, my initial reaction on completing this journey was one of relief, then as over an hour had passed by I began to feel some satisfaction and eventually a few day later I felt a sense of achievement for myself and my bike.

No therapy in the world can do what burning a tank of gas chasing the Sun can do! (This was somewhere near Bagru)

Photo of Desert Fox by Harsh Sharma

This was not easy, maybe I won't do it this way around for any of the trips in future. But this what these journey are all about, the motivation is always that I would like to spend at least a part of my life doing something, at which when I look back and be amazed more than anyone else and exclaim "Wow! Did I do that?"

I would like to make a special mention to Mr. Rohith Ashok the "toll free traveller", his ride was a big push for me to go on such a biking trip, his journey from Chennai to Ladakh and back is one of the most inspiring journey I have watched. One can follow him on various social media platforms like the Instagram, Facebook, twitter and tripoto as well. Many of the lines which I have used in this blog is from his tour videos only, he is generous and humble that he allowed me to do so and he replies as soon as he can on Instagram. If one is biker wants to be one, go and follow him he is my inspiration.

Any of this would not have been possible without support, encouragement, involvement and kindness of friends, family and some un-remembered names who chipped along the way. I would be forever grateful to all of them.

Thank you guys, I hope this would be helping you to plan trip for yourself along with friends, family and loved ones. Encourage some of you who want to go and explore places on bikes, I would suggest them one thing only to respect the bike and mind your surroundings.

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