COLORS of Thar – A Journey to the Great Indian Desert

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Clock was ticking to late afternoon as we reached our desert camp in sand dunes, Thar from Jaisalmer. Also called the Great Indian Desert, Thar is the seventh largest desert in the world. Almost 85% of the desert area is in India and the remaining part of it is in Pakistan. Our campground in the desert was a huge one hosting a good number of small camps and cottages.


Series of camps in campground, Dunes, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan

Our desert camp was a double bedded one with a small water closet attached to it. The camp was prepared of clothing material that was temperature resistant. A room heater was also provided to save us from cold. After a quick and short interval to make ourselves fresh following our road journey from Jaisalmer, we set for our first ride on camel!  No sooner than ‘Bahadur’ became our friend and we started for the sunset point in Thar. Bahadur was a big camel wearing beautifully stitched Rajasthani clothes, accessories, make-ups and other decorations. Splashing colours of his ribbons, ear studs and tassels made Bahadur look more gorgeous and stunning. Our camel driver was also a welcoming and kind person who introduced us to Thar and its beauty. (We booked an individual camel, but if one has elderly persons and children along with them, camel carts can also be booked for the safari) Though it was a late afternoon, mercury level was increasing as we moved more into the desert. We even could not feel that it was midwinter as we started taking down our jackets and mufflers. As Bahadur moved on in his leisurely pace, we sat on his back holding him tight. Though at first we were a bit shaky and uneasy, but gradually we became accustomed to the stride and started enjoying the ride. Small trees and shrubs in patches could be seen while riding most of which were cactuses in general.


Beauty of Thar, Jaisalmer

Our camel driver kept on showing us different herbs and grasses along with their names and their utility in dry desert. He also showed us some shooting points of Bollywood films. After riding almost 15 kms in desert we approached towards the sunset point. Flickering colours of sky shone on the sands as the sun was bidding a goodbye.


Sunset at Thar, Jaisalmer

As soon as the sun set on horizon, mercury level started reducing and we made a hurried approach to our camp. Bidding Bahadur a ciao, we were welcomed in our campground with ‘tika’ and ‘baja’. Localites were beautifully dressed in vibrant Rajasthani attires. The camp fire was all set with sitting arrangements alongside. White cushions with ‘takiyas’ in Rajasthani elegance were placed surrounding the camp fire. We took our seats and the cultural program started.


Colourful performances

A small stage was built just beside the camp fire. Performers were mostly the local village people who made us dug deep into the ‘marusthali’ culture. Folk songs and traditional dances captured our soul. Just as the temperature was setting down more and we started the feeling of cold of dunes, hot ‘pakodas’ with masala ‘chai’ was served! What else could be more heavenly than this! The cultural program continued with more performances by jugglers and performers. Vivid and intense colours of Thar with star lit sky in the background made the twilight worth adoring. The evening program came to an end as dinner was being served. ‘Dal-bati-churma’ was the main attraction along with other Rajasthani cuisines. After finishing dinner, we retired to our camps. In the meantime, temperature has already gone down below 8 degrees. The cold and star studded night accompanied us back to our warm and cosy shelter.

Next morning a call for bed tea was the alarm that brought us to the bright wintry morning in desert. After finishing breakfast and a little more walking along the desert camp we returned to Jaisalmer. Rajasthan never left a single gap to surprise us, desert camp not being any exception!

How to reach

One can hire a car from Jaisalmer for upward and return journey to dunes.

Where to camp

Apart from Rajasthan Government camp, several other private camps are available on google as per your budget requirements.

Do’s and don’ts

Do’s

  • Try to go for camel safari in months of winter as desert will be less humid as compared to those of summer months (of course no monsoons!)
  • Use sunglasses, scarfs, sunscreen and full body covered clothes to get protection from sun burn.
  • Carry enough water and dry food in safari.
  • Choice of shoes is up to oneself, as one may prefer loose sandals in the day but to my opinion covered shoes are better as it will protect you both from tan, loose sands and cold.
  • Carry enough woollens as it is ice cold after evening.

Don’ts

  • Do not disturb the flora or fauna. Let them be as they are. Desert is harsh obvious but it is their home.
  • Do not pollute the sand. Keep plastics to yourself and throw it only when you get a bin in the camp.
  • Don’t hit the camel if it is not suiting you. Try to communicate with the camel driver instead.

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