Vibrant: Day 4 and 5 of 7 Days Series
After Jaisalmer fort visit, we wasted no time to start for sand dunes. Our car came into life at 2:30 pm. In next 40 km journey we found very few inhabitants on our way, almost no vehicle, barren land with sparse shrubs. This road is ideal for learning driving or to check highest speed of your car. We reached Sam Dunes in less than half an hour and immediately liked the sea of sand.
Sam Dhani Dunes:
We booked cottage in Rajasthan tourism guest house (http://www.rajasthantourism.gov.in/Make-Your-Trip/Reserve-Accommodation.aspx). Room was clean and comfortable. The person in reception informed us that for camel safari and cultural program with dinner they would charge Rs. 1000 extra per head, for two of us they would give Rs. 500 discount. We realised the charges were high but there was no alternative, no hotel or restaurant around, so we had to agree.
Around 4:30pm we started for camel safari. Camel boy took us to a place nearly 1 km away; the place was crowded with hundreds of tourists, unnecessary shouting everywhere; I was feeling like inside a mela ground of big city. We requested the camel boy to take us to a place where I could take better photos of dune. He asked for Rs. 200 extra. We agreed. He took us 200 m further and immediately rushed for new customers. The place was full of small trees and bushes; unfriendly for sunset photos. We started walking back (limping our legs in dry sand) to the crowded place hoping for some good sunset snaps. It was a total chaos in that particular area; hawkers clamoring, children busy in playing with sand or drawing geometric shapes on loose sand while parents yelling at them for family photographs, localities playing flute and drums while tourists were showing-off their dance skills and their friends and relatives hollering around; surely we didn’t go there expecting all these nuisance. But none could tarnish the beauty of desert and we enjoyed that for about two and half hours.
After sunset, camel-boy took us to a place (around 200m towards hotel) where evening cultural program was arranged. Two local girls in their teen danced for about one and half hours and their family members played instruments and sang kawali. Organizers served evening snacks (poha). An alcohol counter was there but drinks were insanely priced; also choices were very limited. Tourists continued discussion about first camel-ride experience and their body ache due to the ride. Dinner was served at around 8:30. We could hardly have the food except daal and small quantity of rice.
Returning hotel, we sat quietly in front of our cottage; none emerged from other cottages, probably they were sleeping after a hard day. Only peaceful silence and dark desert surrounded us from all sides… one lamp was glowing steadily few feet away, we sat there quietly for hours, waiting for the genie to appear anytime. We didn’t know when we slept under the star-studded clear sky.
As soon as there was light, we woke up and quickly prepared ourselves for sunrise. Camel boys were ready outside hotel. They started from Rs. 500 and finally settled for Rs. 250 promising to take us 3 km away for good view of dunes.
Camel-boy kept his promise; he and his camel, Shahrukh, took us to sand dunes where no foot-mark was visible. We hardly found one or two tourist families in our journey. We watched beautiful sunrise in desert from this place. Jovial camel-boy regaled many local stories and desert myths. He had taken us to a fenced zoological reserve area. We could see some colorful birds there. This one and half hour’s morning trip was our best experience in sand dunes.
Quick Note :
- Cottage is recommended over tent because of insects in this area and available facilities in both.
- Take medicines, dry fruits, snacks, drinks from Jaisalmer, you won’t find any shop or restaurant in sand dunes
- Keep a torch
- Government website (http://www.rajasthantourism.gov.in/Destinations/Jaisalmer/NearJaisalmer.aspx)
- Sam Sand Dunes (http://www.jaisalmer.org.uk/excursions/sam-sand-dunes.html)
- Jaisalmer weather (http://www.mustseeindia.com/Jaisalmer-weather)
2. A History of Rajasthan by Rima Hooja
Movies to Watch:
1. Lawrence of Arabia (1962) – One of my all time favorite movies
- Vibrant Rajasthan: ‘Golden City’ Jaisalmer (Day 3) (tralect.wordpress.com)
- Vibrant Rajasthan: Walking Back Thousand Years at Ossian and Mandore (Day 2) (tralect.wordpress.com)
- Vibrant Rajasthan: Jaisalmer Fort (tralect.wordpress.com)
- Things that one must know before setting off on a camel safari through Bishnoi villages in the Thar Desert (itravel81.wordpress.com)
- Exotic Jaisalmer- the golden fort (hellopalz.wordpress.com)
- Just desert (thehindu.com)