Something about me

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Jaisalmer - Part 2

Today was the big day - when we got to go to the desert! But first we had to explore the fort and the palace. Having been to Jaipur and Udaipur earlier, I felt that the Jaisal rajahs palace/fort was not half as impressive. Equally beautiful yes, but not as large and lavish. Here are a few snapshots from our morning tour.
 
The exterior of the palace, within the fort

Beautiful!

Statues displayed inside the palace, testimony to the skill of the stonecarvers of Jaisalmer

Top-down view of the fort ramparts
At around 4 pm, we climbed into an Innova and drove 40 km out of the city to the desert. The drive was really scenic, not picture-postcard scenic but the kind of scenic that is starkly beautiful. The Border Roads Organization had done a great job of building an excellent road through land that all belonged to the military, we were told. In fact Jaisalmer being only about 150 km from the Pak border has an IAF base as well as a significant BSF and BRO presence. We covered 40 km in no time and were soon at the place where we had to pick up our camels (or was it the other way around?!) Camels are not the most comfortable beings to ride on and it took a bit of getting used to and some holding on for dear life as we trundled into the desert. Ads and I shared a camel and he rightly commented that the landscape looked a lot like the African savannah (which he has seen on TV). Rajasthan is one of the states that managed a good monsoon this year and it showed in the tufts of abundant vegetation everywhere in the sandy soil. After a good 45 minutes ride, we were nowhere close to anything that resembled a desert!
Finally the sand dunes did come into view and boy, did the kids have a blast. Climbing up and sliding down the dunes, running behind beetles, and Y even managed to lose one shoe in the sand. Try as we might, we could not find it; the treacherous sand had simply swallowed her precious pink Croc! The sand was warm and super-soft and Dad got into the swing of things by playing in the sand with his kids. The sunset was breathtaking as was the view of the full moon, and here are some of my pitiful attempts at capturing the beauty of quintessential Rajasthan.




We stayed overnight at a camp in the desert. I'd been imagining Sridevi in Lamhe. The reality was very different! Tourism on a mass scale means badly-cooked buffet dinners and Daler Mehndi plus Bollywood beats until late into the night. Whatever happened to some quiet stargazing, intimate conversations, and soaking in the peace and quiet of the desert? I was a little disappointed but have shrugged it off since. Having experienced the magic of the Thar, even from the fringes, and even for just one night, was an experience to cherish!

13 comments:

  1. Sridevi in Lamhe---I thought I was the only one imagining!!!

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    1. I guess we were both disappointed then! :)

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  2. Nice pics and nice trip. Loved reading your travelogue. Rajasthan always fascinates me... though I have visited only Jodhpur.
    I can imagine your disappointment with the desert camp.... Commercialization of tourism has ruined the real charm at many places :(

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    1. Thanks, and so true about the commercialization.

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  3. hmmmmm....sigh!!!!!
    does it say it all?????

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  4. Lovely travelogue and pics...I think I should copy-paste this comment after every trip of yours ;-)
    I seriously want to travel as extensively as you do...hmmm...some day :-)

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  5. Very nice pics again .. The one of the Moon especially ..
    'Whatever happened to some quiet stargazing, intimate conversations, and soaking in the peace and quiet of the desert' - Seriously. Whatever happened to such pleasures of life? Very few seem to prefer it .. I was looking through some reviews of a resort in Munnar that is situated far from the main town especially to give the pleasure of silence and privacy .. And believe me, one person had complained in a review saying there was no TV!!! What has the world come to ..
    Reading all your travelogues, I have decided that I will be an avid traveler too!! Everyone loves to visit places and explore but it requires effort and energy .. Kudos to you for that!

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    1. Thanks aarthy. It does require a lot of effort and energy!!

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  6. Lovely lovely pics. Especially loved the pic of the camels against the desert landscape and the sunset. Beautiful!

    I so want to plan a trip to a desert now!

    I was actually thinking stargazing, quiet conversation, simple living and food when I thought of a desert stay. Daler Mehendi and buffet dinner you say? :(

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    1. Gosh, it was so horrible! The few tourists from outside India looked flummoxed :)

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  7. Beautiful photographs and spirited writing! Loved it!

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