Monday, 24 February 2014

Jaisalmer here I come

Saying our byes to Bikaner we set towards the desert. The anticipation was palpable in the air, sand for me was a plaything representing saline, wide open spaces, water…

In Jaisalmer, sand was a way of life, an instinct to survive and thrive. It is quite strange throughout the trip we never sang any songs or played the usual travel games. The landscape had us captivated especially on the way to Jaisalmer. The land was so flat you could see for miles and miles on stretch. The shrubs were no barrier to the line of sight. The shades of pink in the sand were unreal and spectacular.

The road had no pot holes and that was a surprise. But the best bit was the illusion of water on the road. Ever so often on a long stretch of road it felt like there was water but when we crossed the distance it was plain road. It frightens me to think about the thirsty travelers who would have lost their way in this flat land.

We couldn’t get enough of the amazing land and surprisingly our driver also took long to drive the distance from Bikaner to Jaisalmer. I guess the landscape was filling us soul and body and we didn’t realize that we had skipped lunch. Finally we stopped at a dhaba and after some weird quality check we went to one. The dhaba owners were friendly and you could see the toil on their faces, the harsh sun had added years to kids too. Jaisalmer is close to the India/Pakistan border and we could see military on the road.

At the dhaba, we made do with tea and biscuits as surprisingly they don’t stock food. The dhaba guys had story to tell how the bombs from the India Pak war still adorn the deserts. We were intrigued but didn’t have the stamina to travel that far. So with biscuit in our belly we continued our journey to Khuri a desert place in Jaisalmer. After a lot of research on the net, we had found a quaint place called Khuri which has smaller dunes but for a vast portion of the land. As our luck could have it we reached Khuri at around 8.30 pm.

While we were trying to arrange a stay for our driver, he had managed to escape with the car to meet his friend along with my shoes. We realized that he had travelled back to Jaisalmer and I was left with no shoes.

The owner of the place (this is literally a basic stay in its truest sense) told us that the camels for the day had left at 4.30 pm. Can you believe our shock after lot of cajoling he agreed to send another set of camels to take us to the desert. Lady luck was favoring us with regard to time; we had to wait for dinner as all the guests staying at the place had not arrived. So after waiting for ages, we all ate together and began our journey to the desert. As the stay in the desert was out in the open with no tents, we decided to pack ourselves with warm clothes. In December, the temperature hovers around 0 degree C in the night and I had borrowed my Dad’s shoes, yes, I fit into them perfectly.

So gearing ourselves up, we climbed the camel which is a task in itself. We could not see the road as it was pitch black. And with every sway of the camel, we were holding onto to our lives. I must have prayed to all the gods as my sibling and 1 were on 1 camel and holding onto the rope was difficult. With every rise, it’s amazing the way the camel moves, its literally sitting on a see saw. We kept going up and down. I keep wondering if I bruised the camel with the way I was holding the rope.

Finally we reached our destination in 15 mins, we weren’t happy as we could see the city lights and insisted the camel drivers take us further. They had their excuses ready that it was late to travel in the night. We knew it was all reason and agreed if they could take us a little further away from the city lights.