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I recently went on a short trip to Jaisalmer and decided to explore the Thar Desert along with the camping under in the million star hotel that left me spell bound and awestruck! I couldn’t believe this was India! The Thar Desert is a 50 minute drive from the golden city of Jaisalmer. What I did in Jaisalmer is a story for another day, this chapter however is star bound. We decided to leave Jaisalmer after a hearty lunch. My travel mates cribbed about the hour long drive and about how hot it was. But once we entered the desert, it’s beauty put an end to all their bickering! Everyone was captivated by the view.
Thar Desert is India’s largest desert and shares its border with Pakistan. As we entered the desert all we could see was sand and sand everywhere. As sandy winds gushed into our car, we braced ourselves to embrace a Banjara life in the desert for the next two days! The car stopped at the main desert point where it seemed like the only place for resorts to advertise! We got booked into CAMP-E-KHAS and proceeded towards our Khas experience.
Welcomed to the beats of dhol, a lady in a traditional outfit put teeka on our foreheads making us feel like royalty. The room was nothing but spectacular. Rows of tents were placed around a garden and each tent was divided into 3 parts. A living room, a bed room and the ensuite. One would not expect to see so much in the middle of nothing! Bandhani curtains acted as a partition and our beds were adorned with typical rajais and lanterns on each side! The best part was the shower in the middle of the desert! How ironical and amazing at the same time.
After freshening up we got picked up by a gypsy driver for a dune bashing safari! Sounds very “Dubai” doesn’t it? Well it was nothing short of Dubai! We bashed the dunes on an open gypsy, reminding me of my travel to Dubai a few years ago! Both the safaris left me with a feeling of nausea and thrill at the same time!
The Gypsy then halted amidst the sand dunes in the centre of the Thar Desert where one can see the sun bid adieu! And the sky was lit up by the hues of the setting sun that were nothing short of mesmerizing. The pink horizon merging into the golden dunes cannot be compared to anything I have ever seen. It was simply breath-taking.
Engines revved up again and we drove towards our final destination – the shooting location of the movie “Bajrangi Bhai Jaan”. There we were shown the place where Bajrangi flees to Pakistan taro ke neeche se! In other words it was taro ke neeche se, under a beautiful star lit sky.
Back at the camp we were greeted with chai and pakoras, and then began the night’s revelry. The Kartaal, the Harmonium and the Dhol beats forced us to shake a leg, as ladies in colourful Ghagharas danced to Ghoomar and entertained us with traditional acrobats. The padharo maare desh and pallo latke were hummed by everyone throughout the night! Dal baati sangar were served along with churma.
But that’s not where the night ended. A bonfire was set up and we gathered around to sing our hearts out, hear ghost stories and lie under the blanket of stars. As the sun was about to rise we went back into our tents to sleep and woke up late in the morning. After a hearty brunch of puri sabzi, we visited the haunted/abandoned village of Kuldhara!
Eeriness persisted in the air as our local guide told us the story of the king who lusted the daughter of the village head and was ordered to visit the chambers of the king. The entire village was ashamed and decided to flee, cursing the king and the village. The village is now in shattered ruins and yet the temple remains to stand. What is astonishing is the architecture and the detailing that adorns the temple walls! Intricate hand carving done on yellow sandstone with interlocking joinery was used to built the temple!
We headed back to the camp site feeling like the survivors of a conjuring and headed for the last leg which was the camel ride. Heavily decorated camels walked the desert with comfort giving us a beautiful view of the majestic Thar.
The visit to Thar desert truly made me a believer of how beautiful and incredible india is! It ended with all of us feeling proud and associated with the song Padharo maare desh!
Picture source: http://i-cms.linternaute.com, https://imghtlak.mmtcdn.com, http://www.campekhas.com
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