When I planed to travel different places, I fixed my priorities to visit different aspect of nature like Sea, Mountain, Snow, Desert etc. And I visited Goa for Sea beaches, and travelled to Gaumukh ( Origin point of holy Ganga River) in Uttrakhand, also visited Manali (Himachal) where I spent time in snowy mountains. And It was time for Desert trip, for which Thar Desert of Jaisalmer is most suitable location.
It was a family trip to Jaisalmer by train, before an hour to Jaisalmer we met some travel agents in the train, these agents usually board the train one or two station before jaisalmer and sell their deal to the tourists, it may be for staying purpose or to plan itinerary around Jaisalmer like desert safari and all. We already booked our stay for 3 nights in Hotel Haveli, via Makemytrip, and it was a good deal.
Desert Safari in Jaisalmer
We got free pick-up from station to Hotel Haveli, just 2 km from station on main road. After discussing various desert package with hotel owner, reached to a deal of Rs. 1200/- for each person which included travelling to Sam-sand dune (which is 50km from Jaisalmer town), Jeep Safari on sand dune, Camel safari and cultural program with dinner on a desert camp.
On next day, our journey started from Jaisalmer at 2.0 pm. The road on this route is like Sine-curve with many up and down; it was like smooth roller coaster ride. This road trip offer view of sandy plane with less vegetation except bushes, wind mills and small Desert villages on either side of road (most of the house in these villages built from mud only). May be development didn’t find the road, on which we were to reach these villages.
Bumpy Jeep ride in desert
After 1:30 hr of this roller coaster ride, we reached to ‘Payal Camp’ in desert area. And we took jeep (4×4) for going to sand dune which was just a kilometre away. On reaching sand dune, Driver released some pressure from Tires so that jeep could run easily on sand. Now, for Driver its time to show his mastery, he was riding jeep very fast and playing loud music in jeep. Climbing Jeep on sand dune then sudden drop from dune is best part of the ride, several times he did this. It was more like a playing with sand dune than driving, he was very much expert in that. He show all his skills in sand, initially it seems a thrilling and scary ride but soon you realize with out this ride your fun in the dune will be incomplete and you want more of that.
Camel ride in Thar Desert
Then he dropped us in the middle of dune and now it was time for camel ride. There, you will find number of camels waiting for the tourists to offer ride in cheap price. But, it is actually included my package so, driver himself arranged camels for our ride. Camel man instructed us how to sit carefully on camel because sitting on a camel is somewhat technical. And if you don’t follow their guidelines, you will fall down for sure. It was a 15-20 minute camel ride on sand dune where camel man holding the rope of camel. After finishing this package ride, camel-man asked us for a race on camel, we did that too. But for that we have to pay some extra charge out of package.
We click many pictures and made videos, played with sand, and relax there for a while. There were some ladies in their traditional attire, dancing in front of tourists in exchange of some money. These people are bound to do all such stuff because they have limited mean of earning in desert. Men offers camel ride, and women shows their traditional dance all for the sake of little money. In Jaisalmer tourism is the main source of income. Now it’s time to click some picture of Sun-set, as sun-set is always a highlight of any location whether you are in desert, nearby sea or lake.
Dance and folk music in camp
Finishing the desert stuff, we back to Payal Camp. Where, we all welcomed in very cultured way with putting Tilak on forehead, Phool-Mala and Aarati , the scene was justifying the Indian theme of Athiti Devo Bhava. In the middle of Camp compound, there was a arrangement of folk singing and dance performance by some local group, most of the camp in the desert arrange such type cultural performance for their guests. Here, sitting arrangement was in circular way and middle space was left for dance performance.
On arriving all guest from their desert trip, performance get started, It was a group of 7 people, five of which playing music and singing while two young girl are dancers. Initially they choose folk songs on which girls show their typical Kalbelia Dance, they are very much perfect in that. In a little time they involved every one, it is a complete treat to eyes. In the end of their performance they played filmy songs and cultural night shift to DJ night, every one jumped to the middle and dance with performers.
After enjoying the dance, nice traditional food offered to all the guests in which you always found Sangri ki sabji which is a typical food of desert villages. It was around 11:00 PM when we left the camp for Jaisalmer. It was a great time in the Thar desert.