A popular adage among the Rajasthani locals is – Registaan nahi dekha toh kuch nahi dekha (If you haven’t seen the desert, you haven’t seen anything). Just kidding! A must to do on my Rajasthan tour was to visit the desert. The enchanting Jaisalmer comes under Great Indian Desert – Thar Desert and the local travel companies offer a variety of desert safari packages varying from one to many days.We had a wonderful stay at Zostel and we chose their safari mainly because we were not looking at anything luxurious. We started the day early and were dropped by hostel staff to a village where our smiling dates – Shah Rukh Khan, Amir Khah and Shefali Khah ( named after Bollywood superstars) arrived.
It was already sunny and felt pretty warm. It wasn’t easy getting on the camel’s back and my stomach made a flip when I jolted forward. I almost thought I would lose a tooth but it was the camel standing up.My whole body moved back and forth, up and down as the camel started taking big steps. As I balanced myself on this bumpy ride,we passed through the last village before the desert started.
The village disappeared behind us and dry barren land was all left around us. There was hardly any greenery or mountains around. I could only see thorny shrubs with no sign of animal or human life.The landscape remained unaltered and our movement seemed like an illusion.
We sensed the day would be a long and mundane one. We chatted with our guides, sang songs, giggled and then fell into silence.Nothing ever happens in the desert! Mountains are known to be erratic and unpredictable whereas desert is still.It is as still as a rock. There is a strong feeling of everything being the same and unchanged –Time stood still. The air was still (at least felt so).
After what seemed like an eternity, our guides told we would stop for lunch and get some rest. All of us simultaneously let out a sigh.We were hungry and the body was in pain from the rhythmic motion. We stopped under the shade for cook to prepare lunch. Simple lunch from on the spot kitchen provided the necessary energy to continue the journey.
The sand dunes made their appearance afar and we were eager to reach the destination. The sand felt cool even when the sun was at the peak. Soon we were walking,running, falling and exploring the dunes. The footprints left behind was soon covered with sand by winds making me think – Nothing lasts forever.
The sun was about to set and we sat watching it turn from golden-yellow to blazing ball of hot red. The sunset at a desert is different.It is stripped of mountains or greenery or snow and is completely unornamented. It is a plain sunset and that is what makes is unique and beautiful.
The stillness of the desert, the golden glow around and the hot fiery ball with no one around makes you feel the whole thing is orchestrated ONLY FOR YOU.
The sun was down and darkness was starting to envelope. It did not feel eerie or spooky given the fact we were the only souls around. It felt calm and cool. A simple yet delicious meal sent us to sleep in no time ( I don’t remember sleeping at 9’0 clock ever!). My last memory of the day was the sky with shining moon and full of stars. Sleeping under an open sky is an unforgettable experience.