Unraveling Rajasthan from the Sandstone Havelis to the Dunes of Thar

  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

 

Dunes of the Great Thar Desert, Rajasthan, India

Dunes of the Great Thar Desert, Rajasthan, India

Can you imagine sitting on the warm sands, feeling dry and dusty, watching the hot, barren, parched land all the way to horizon, yet feeling like you have just everything you want in this world?  They say no man who has touched the sands of Thar with his bare feet and fingers comes back the same.  Maybe its the emptiness, the serenity, the fact that how trivially obvious it is, is what gives it all its beauty.

I think more than I fell in love with the desert, I fell in love with myself. That’s the magic of Thar. Can you imagine sitting on the warm sands, feeling dry and dusty, watching the hot, barren, parched land all the way to horizon, yet feeling like you have just everything you want in this world?  They say no man who has touched the sands of Thar with his bare feet and fingers comes back the same.  Maybe its the emptiness, the serenity, the fact that how trivially obvious it is, is what gives it all its beauty. I think more than I fell in love with the desert, I fell in love with myself. That’s the magic of Thar.

No better place to start experiencing the desert vibes of India, than the Royal capital itself. Close to the nation’s capital, growing itself as a major city, Jaipur has grown a lot easier to reach from any part of the country by air, rail and road. Railway lines are fairly connected and roads are quite comfortable to travel around Rajasthan and Gujarat, which contribute to the desert cultural experience. Jaipur is all about it’s grandness and Nobility.

Hawa Mahal - The palace of winds, Rajasthan, India

Hawa Mahal – The palace of winds, Rajasthan, India

Exploring Jaipur is as much fun as it’s attractions. The first place you should head on without another thought is to the old city. Just as you enter the Ajmeeri gate, the huge roads and glass buildings vanish into a network of pathways filled with ancient framework of architecture. Its like you are thrown back into time, as you walk around the markets of jewels and art pieces on the streets and towering arches all around.

One can walk around and find the whole bucket list of Jaipur, like the Albert hall museum, the infamous Hawa mahal and the magnificent city palace  right around each corner. Or if feeling particularly filmy, a little ride on a hand pulled rickshaw sipping a pot of Makhan Lassi, sets the perfect mood and pulls us to the local groove.

Royal Lake Palace of Jaipur, Rajasthan, India

Royal Lake Palace of Jaipur, Rajasthan, India

The list of things to do in Jaipur does not end. First the grandeur palaces and buildings; an epitome of Indian architecture, royal pride and historical warehouse. And everything is beautifully preserved and presented, that you can feel yourself kicked back to the time of the kings. Experiencing this richness cannot be missed at any cost. From exploring the Amer fort on an elephant back, to an alluring sunset from a hot air balloon over the city; a kingly train ride on the palace on wheels to a night of culture and merriment at Choki Dhani; you can feel the Rajasthani nobility running down your spine at each and every stop.

Seventy years old traditional Rajasthani dance artist, Rajasthan, India

Seventy years old traditional Rajasthani dance artist, India

Just a train ride away are more of these dreamy destinations. Udaipur, the city of lakes as it is famously called. Its uncanny how we can spend days cruising the city, but can still find something or another that is nothing like you seen before. It can be a huge garage filled with vintage cars, a picturesque lake side dock or a simple little shop in the market where a sculptor makes his masterpiece just like his father taught him.

Very much like any other Rajasthan’s Heritage town, but nothing like any other at the same time is the amazing fort town of Jodhpur. Though the city expanded over all around, the core and heart of the place remains as intact as ever. Imagine a sea of houses right below your feet, and then just climb up to the fort of Jodhpur and witness it to be beyond your wildest imagination.  The simple sight of every house you can see, painted in the brightest shade of blue is one that remains etched in your mind forever.

The desert shows its signature and flair all through the places but the real thing starts at the gates of Jaisalmer and Bikaner. Jaisalmer is the true son of Thar, where you can feel the aura and culture with all your senses. It hosts the only living fort in the country, where the civilization can be seen taking over and beautifully blending with the massive fort of Jaisalmer.

Artwork on a window of Patwon ka Haveli, Rajasthan, India

Artwork on a window of Patwon ki Haveli, Rajasthan, India

Getting lost in the sandstone hamlets with carvings as intricate as a silk robe and a flair of the distant whispers that haunt the place, is the best thing that can happen over there. One can just stroll around and most naturally find a historical Haveli like the Nathmal ji and Patwon, come across an in-house store selling beautiful leather-ware or sometimes happen to sit on the verandah as a native fills the air with his music.

Native street musician playing an Indian fiddle, Rajasthan, India

Native street musician playing an Indian fiddle, Rajasthan, India

And finally, slowly jogging through the sandy lanes, we arrive at the ultimate destination. Starting from the footsteps of the fort, the Thar grows to it’s full wrath. Most of the area after this is un-inhabited except for a few little desert hamlets sprinkled around. A day in these villages gives us the unerring and untouched portrayal of the culture and life in the desert.

With homes that live on water they fetch from miles away, rearing cows and camel and as far from technology as it is possible in the modern day, these couple of hours will be a game changer to your perspective on life. Bishnoi village is the best accessible one and gives good composite of their lifestyle; while Khuri, Kanoi, Sattar and many others on the way, are even more unscathed, remote and ethnic.

Missing out on a desert safari is like leaving out the cherry on an ice cream sundae; the best part! Some even prefer to take a camel ride all the way across the desert from Jaisalmer to Bikaner. And, getting up the adrenaline to the throat, there is the bad-ass dune bashing. All we have to do, is to hang on tight to our seats while some daredevil riders fire up their SUVs and jump, swoop, swish and smash through the dunes deep in the desert. Riding a camel, is so instinctively peaceful, that the rider can not help getting philosophical.

 Camel back ride in the desert, Rajasthan, India

Camel back ride in the desert, Rajasthan, India

The wind whistles as it constantly changes the landscape below it, the setting sun paints the sky with shades of red and you just sail around the golden sands without a thought in your head. And as the moon starts shines bright, winds grow cold and the stars take the reins of the above, the land below glitters radiantly like the purest of silver. Imagine camping over there, with a strong camp fire keeping you warm as you brood over the heavens. It is an experience that leaves it’s footprints in you forever.

A journey through Rajasthan is more than a visual treat. It is a celebration of colors, culture, heritage
and most importantly of self.  Feel the sands with your bare feet and fingers, and return with more than what you went with. All it asks is a ton of enthusiasm and a soul thirsty for wonder, offering in return a lifetime of memories.

Top Author at WanderXP

  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

1 Comment

Leave a Comment

Skip to toolbar