JAISALMER: My First Solo Trip

Tripoto
6th Jan 2017
Photo of JAISALMER: My First Solo Trip by Srinivas Aditya

Just can't believe, it's already been more than two years since the first time I set my foot loose - the beginning of my travel life. I still remember the rush and excitement that I felt for those three days I spent out of my 'comfort zone'. From getting lost in the desert to spending more than an hour to decide for a place to have lunch, I met with a new version of myself, one with an invisible cape on my back. I know I sound crazy, but that was literally how I saw myself two years back after that trip.

Disclaimer: As it was the first solo trip of my life, I spent blindly on transportation and accommodations, which I am not at all proud of now. Well, this was the first lesson I learnt from that trip - to not to spend on luxuries but on experiences. So, basically you can find better stays and camps at lower prices than I had at that time. (P.S. All the photos are clicked by me and are copyrighted, unless specified otherwise. Using or copying of images is not allowed without permission.)

It was the start of 2017 and beginning of final semester of graduation at an university in Jaipur. I had been totally exhausted by then, with my engineering subjects, assignments, lectures and exams which used to drain the f**k out of us. I was desperate for a break! But after those 'sometime later, bruhh' responses of my lazy friends - whenever I used to ask them about planning a trip - I decided to go on my own.

After a little bit of internet surfing and reading a few blogs, I landed on one of the blogs which had shown the beautiful desert safari and camp stays in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan. I loved that place at very first sight.

Pinned down the location, booked a hotel room in the city and a luxury tent in the desert (for other day), I was getting all ready for the epicness. Then came the most important task in the check list: asking my parents' permission. I know, I was already a grown up guy back then, yet being a single child of my parents, the extra care and the extra pamper and the extra love are a bonus for me; and so are the restrictions (which were out of care though, but still). Making them agree for a solo trip, took me another half a day and some secret "single child's" techniques that only people of our kind knows. *wink*

Day 1

Shepherds on the way to Jaisalmer.

Photo of Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India by Srinivas Aditya

6th Jan 2017

I woke up to the loud hawking of platform sellers selling breakfast, snacks and beverages in the train - an usual alarm clock in the Indian Railways. On the previous night I boarded DLI - JSM Express train from Jaipur's Gandhi Nagar railway station at around 11:45 pm and crashed on the allotted berth soon.

After waking up, I checked the time and it was around 9 am. Apparently, the train was halted at some station on the way. I got out of my berth and stepped out onto the platform. It was a small platform as compared to that of Jaipur's. 'Pokaran' - the board on one of the extremities of the platform read.

Pokaran Railway Station

Photo of JAISALMER: My First Solo Trip by Srinivas Aditya

I was so thrilled and excited - for the first time I was independent and on my own away from family and friends. Bought some biscuits and coke from the platform vendor and got back into the train as the journey resumed.

At that time, I was unaware of this town's historical importance which paved path for India to become a Nuclear power. After a few months, I got to know the whole story and regretted not visiting that place. The nuclear test sites and the Pokaran fort could have been a thrilling experience. I would definitely suggest stopping by in this town on your next trip to Jaisalmer.

Anyhow, by 11 am I reached Jaisalmer. Checked in to the hotel, freshened up and went up to the terrace restaurant over the hotel. And there it was, as a backdrop for the city buildings, the massive Jaisalmer Fort. The view was amazing.

First View of the fort

Photo of Hotel Hayyat Jaisalmer, Amar Sagar Pol, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India by Srinivas Aditya

Without wasting much time I started my day by visiting the fort itself. The route to the top of the fort was through the market area. The colorful, narrow and overcrowded streets gave the market more dense look accompanied by the street cries of vendors attracting tourists with creative adverts.

Photo of JAISALMER: My First Solo Trip by Srinivas Aditya

LOL

Photo of JAISALMER: My First Solo Trip by Srinivas Aditya

After a quick stroll through the market, I reached the entrance of the fort.

At the entrance

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

After walking slight uphill for a while, I got to the view point where a canon pointing the city was placed.

Photo of JAISALMER: My First Solo Trip by Srinivas Aditya

View Point

Photo of JAISALMER: My First Solo Trip by Srinivas Aditya

Sitting there for a while I looked at that city and beyond. Near the horizon there was a slight strip of desert meeting the blue sky. A cool winter breeze and dim lit sun in the sky made it so mesmerizing!

On the way back, there's the entrance for the Royal palace of the King.

Photo of Raja Ka Mahal, Khejer Para, Manak Chowk, Amar Sagar Pol, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India by Srinivas Aditya

Raja Ka Mahal is a royal palace in the Jaisalmer Fort known for its multi-tiered facade & ornate, decorative balconies. The palace is transformed into a museum of artifacts and war weapons from the ancient era of Royal dynasty. The walls and pillars are full of artistic hand-sculptured designs. Just Marvelous.

Photo of JAISALMER: My First Solo Trip by Srinivas Aditya
Photo of JAISALMER: My First Solo Trip by Srinivas Aditya

Not only interiors of the palace, but the scenic view from the corridors and the terrace, the view of the city was spectacular. I guess people living in there had splendid evenings watching over the city and the horizon at the infinity.

From the top of Raja Ka Mahal

Photo of JAISALMER: My First Solo Trip by Srinivas Aditya

The next stop for the day was Havelis constructed by Guman Chand Patwa.

Artistic.

Photo of Patwon Ki Haveliyan, Amar Sagar Pol, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India by Srinivas Aditya

This is the largest Haveli in Jaisalmer - cluster of 5 small havelis - and stands in a narrow lane. The first impression was spellbinding. The large windows opening onto the narrow lanes and the craft sculptured on the window frames was one of its kind!

Hawelis on the left of the narrow lane.

Photo of JAISALMER: My First Solo Trip by Srinivas Aditya

Designs on the frames.

Photo of JAISALMER: My First Solo Trip by Srinivas Aditya

In front of the Buildings were street artists, chiseling and selling their hand-made puppets.

Chiseling the wood.

Photo of JAISALMER: My First Solo Trip by Srinivas Aditya

Puppets for sale.

Photo of JAISALMER: My First Solo Trip by Srinivas Aditya

And musical instruments being played by the obscure talent of those streets.

Photo of JAISALMER: My First Solo Trip by Srinivas Aditya
Photo of JAISALMER: My First Solo Trip by Srinivas Aditya

They were really melodious!

Fort as seen from the top of Haveli.

Photo of JAISALMER: My First Solo Trip by Srinivas Aditya

The clock was ticking and the sun was drifting towards the horizons minute by minute. The last but not the least, Gadisar Lake, was my next stop.

Boating in Gadisar Lake.

Photo of Gadisar Lake, Postal Colony, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan by Srinivas Aditya

The lake was just nearby, and on the other side of the hotel where I was staying in. So, I decided to spend the rest of the evening, boating in the lake and fall back to hotel room as soon as it gets dark.

Unfortunately, the authorities didn't allowed me to boat as at least two people are required to row it in the lake. First I thought of asking people (basically strangers) who might be solo travelers or a group who could add me in with them. But, alas, my hesitation took over my will to boat and I ended up staring at people around me instead of actually asking them a little help.

And that's how I spent most the evening looking at others' boat and feeling the breeze getting cooler and cooler as the time pass on the banks of the lake.

Banks of the lake.

Photo of JAISALMER: My First Solo Trip by Srinivas Aditya

After a while, I decided to go back with the dissatisfaction of not getting into lake, and take some rest in the hotel.

On the way back, a small evening market emerged near the Gadisar lake road.

Colorful Stalls.

Photo of JAISALMER: My First Solo Trip by Srinivas Aditya

Puppets and decorative items on sale.

Photo of JAISALMER: My First Solo Trip by Srinivas Aditya

An interesting shop I came across was an antique store where unique kind of vessels were on sale made of Habur Stone.

Being a guy from science field, I was stunned listening to the claims of locals and shopkeepers about the 'magical' Curd setting stone which naturally sets milk into curd without fermentation. This was the first time I ever heard of such stones. So I digged-in a bit to find articles about both for and against the claims.

Google search results.

Photo of JAISALMER: My First Solo Trip by Srinivas Aditya

Source: Internet

Photo of JAISALMER: My First Solo Trip by Srinivas Aditya

I didn't buy it, though I was fascinated by the science behind these stones.

Day 2

7th Jan 2017

I woke up around 9 am the next day. I was too tired to do anything at the night, so I had dinner at some stall in the market and came back and crashed on my cozy bed.

I supposedly had to check out of the hotel by 11.30 am but my drive to the desert was not until 2 pm. So, checked out of the hotel and I roamed around the city by foot to discover new off-map places and routes around.

a house underneath the camel food.

Photo of JAISALMER: My First Solo Trip by Srinivas Aditya

It was lunch time, and I couldn't have found any better place than this restaurant at the foothill of the fort.

Best Rajasthani Thali I ever ate till date.

Photo of Pakwan Restaurant, Dhibba Para, Manak Chowk, Amar Sagar Pol, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India by Srinivas Aditya

Soon the clock hands ticked 2:00 pm and I received the cab driver's call for the pick up for the desert trip; whom I booked the previous day.

En Route to Desert camp.

Photo of JAISALMER: My First Solo Trip by Srinivas Aditya

On the way, we took a turn towards another tourist spot - Kuldhara village - The Abandoned village.

The village.

Photo of Kuldhara, Rajasthan, India by Srinivas Aditya
Photo of Kuldhara, Rajasthan, India by Srinivas Aditya

Deserted.

Photo of Kuldhara, Rajasthan, India by Srinivas Aditya
Photo of Kuldhara, Rajasthan, India by Srinivas Aditya
Photo of Kuldhara, Rajasthan, India by Srinivas Aditya
Photo of Kuldhara, Rajasthan, India by Srinivas Aditya
Photo of Kuldhara, Rajasthan, India by Srinivas Aditya
Photo of Kuldhara, Rajasthan, India by Srinivas Aditya
Photo of Kuldhara, Rajasthan, India by Srinivas Aditya

Made a friend.

Photo of Kuldhara, Rajasthan, India by Srinivas Aditya

The height of houses. (For reference - I'm 6'2)

Photo of Kuldhara, Rajasthan, India by Srinivas Aditya

The place was filled with tourists and selfie-people all over. Still there was a different kind of solitude that the place was holding within, as if the place was alone - abandoned (as it was) - amidst the crowd. I took my time to check the place - demolished houses, half broken pillars, rock ceilings and sand all over. The stones and bricks were not cemented but stacked upon one another. I was intoxicated by such a loneliness.

I spent around one hour there, after which my driver suggested to start off for the dunes.

Parasailing in Sand dunes.

Photo of Sam Sand Dunes Jaisalmer, Sam, Rajasthan, India by Srinivas Aditya

After some 30-40 mins ride, I entered Sam Sand dunes, and it was the first time I ever saw a sand dunes in real. I was so thrilled, I kept my face out the window for rest of the ride to the camp. There were people enjoying dunes, activities like parasailing and the local vendors making their daily wages out of them.

Photo of JAISALMER: My First Solo Trip by Srinivas Aditya
Photo of JAISALMER: My First Solo Trip by Srinivas Aditya

Windmill - power generation stations amidst the desert.

Photo of JAISALMER: My First Solo Trip by Srinivas Aditya
Photo of JAISALMER: My First Solo Trip by Srinivas Aditya

Soon I reached my accommodation. All th guests were welcomed in Rajasthani style - with tika and flowers.

Photo of Oasis Camp Sam, Jaislmer - Sam - Dhanana Road, Kanoi, Rajasthan, India by Srinivas Aditya

My tent

Photo of Oasis Camp Sam, Jaislmer - Sam - Dhanana Road, Kanoi, Rajasthan, India by Srinivas Aditya
Photo of Oasis Camp Sam, Jaislmer - Sam - Dhanana Road, Kanoi, Rajasthan, India by Srinivas Aditya

After resting a bit, we were served with evening tea, after which camel safari in the desert was arranged by the camp.

Camel Safari

Photo of JAISALMER: My First Solo Trip by Srinivas Aditya

Entertainment in the Dunes.

Photo of JAISALMER: My First Solo Trip by Srinivas Aditya

The camels took the tourists onto a high dune and waited there till the sunset. Meanwhile, the camel shepherds were offering a tour in the interior of the desert for extra money.

I was not convinced with their rates and decided to go by foot, and it was one of the best decisions of my life. I was rolling, sliding, and running on the sand tracking the paths of other camels with tourists who were having a tour in the interior part.

Photo of JAISALMER: My First Solo Trip by Srinivas Aditya

My kind of selfies!

Photo of JAISALMER: My First Solo Trip by Srinivas Aditya

After a while I returned back to the 'sunset spot' - on the highest dune and relaxed watching the sun go down. As the night approached the visibility was becoming blurred with winter fog.

Everything seemed to be a dream!

The night came upon, bringing the chills of the desert, it was around 2 degree Celsius temperature and I was covered in layers in my tent.

Around at 8 pm, the camp management arranged a gala night with Rajasthani folk dance and bonfire which followed with dinner. We were offered cushions to sit on the carpeted floor round the bonfire. The sky got clear after a while with full moon brightening the place.

It was really magical and romantic! Alas, I was on a solo trip.

Gala night arrangements

Photo of JAISALMER: My First Solo Trip by Srinivas Aditya

Before the show scenes.

Photo of JAISALMER: My First Solo Trip by Srinivas Aditya

The king size bed with cozy warmers were all mine in the tent that night! I slept like a baby!

Day 3

8th Jan 2017

Morning check out was around 8-9 pm, so I woke up early to spend some more time with the desert.

To my surprise, the visibility outside the tent was negligible.

Visibility.

Photo of JAISALMER: My First Solo Trip by Srinivas Aditya

I tried to go into desert just to see how it seems to be in the sand in that kind of fog. And trust me, you don't want to do that. A few meters into the desert and I was about to get lost in there. There was white dense blanketed fog in all directions and I was finding it difficult to find my way back.

In the nowhere.

Thanks to three street dogs who came barking onto me and after realizing I'm no threat to them, they guided me out.

The trip came to end in the noon after I checked out of the camp and the driver dropped me in the evening at the Jaisalmer railway station for my return train to Jaipur.

I felt more confident and decisive about myself in that trip and got to know how to manage my finances after spending lot on unnecessary stuff. It was my Travel bug that bit me 2 years ago.

2 Comment(s)
Sort by:
I want to revisit the sand dunes once again. And may be even stop at Pokhran.
Sun 04 28 19, 08:07 · Reply · Report
Jaisalmer is definitely on my list now!! Loved the blog!
Wed 04 24 19, 19:44 · Reply · Report