Although the Thar Desert isn’t the grand sand dunes you’d think of when it comes to deserts, it does have a few bright moments of smooth stretches of wind-sculpted sand. The famous Rajasthani desert safari gig can be made flexible from a half day trip to as many as 23 days. It costs somewhere around 500 to 1000 rupees on the first day, and 800 rupees for every extra day you stay out there.
We opted for an overnight stay in the desert. At 2:30pm we were promptly driven out into the desert where they first took us to a few touristy stops: A set of royal centographs (70 rupees entry fee) and a deserted village (20 rupees). We declined the latter and headed straight for the village that prepped our camels. After meeting a few of the locals there, we saddled up and headed to our base camp. By then it was about 5pm.
After an hour of slow trodding, we ended up on these small but glorious fine sand dunes, where we fooled around pretending to be Indiana Jones or Lawrence of Arabia.
We also watched our camel drivers prepare us food; even the chapati and dal was made from scratch. The only discomfort was the scores of little bugs crawling in our shirts and in our pants as we were eating. While some of us got up and shook out the pesky insects every few minutes, I pretended I was Zen and kept eating. Not an easy thing to do.
Afterwards we went off and explored the sand dunes at night, sitting out there in silence until the moon descended into the horizon. We fell asleep as the stars emerged in the night sky.
The next morning was pretty straightforward: We had a quick breakfast with our camel drivers and rode our camels back to the village. A jeep promptly picked us up and dropped us back at Jaisalmer an hour later.
And now we’re all taking showers, as sand has caked and bleached our bodies. This afternoon we’re hopping on an overnight 13 hour train to Jaipur, where I’ll make amends for what I missed last year and visit the Jantar Mantar and Chand Baori. I’ll also stay with Priti again this time, so it’ll be nice to see her again.
– At time of posting in Jaisalmer, it was 82.4 °F – Humidity: 73% | Wind Speed: 23km/hr | Cloud Cover: Haze