Sam or Khuri?
An obligatory part of a visit to Jaisalmer is the excursion to the golden sand dunes which sheath the Thar Desert some 40 to 50 kilometres away from the city.
Sam was touristy. Khuri was remote. What was it going to be for me? This one was a no-brainer in my travel plans. 😊
Khuri had just called out to me, I thought, with a gentle smile hovering on my lips as I looked out at an oasis on my way to the dunes. Continue reading →
Thar Desert, or the Great Indian Desert as it is also known, is the large arid region in north-west Rajasthan surrounding the thousand-year-old enigmatic fortress of Jaisalmer on all four sides.
Covered over an expanse of 200,000 square kilometres, it is the world’s 20th largest desert, as well as the world’s most densely populated desert [at 83 people per square kilometre]. Some 40 percent of Rajasthan’s population lives in the Thar, eking out a living on its barren stretch through agriculture and animal husbandry.
Folk art and music offer a much-needed respite in the face of hardship here; just as vibrant-coloured odhnis and turbans give a dash of colour to the otherwise dusty, bare, uninhabited miles. Continue reading →
It was nearing midnight. We’d been on the road for close to nine hours, having left Mandawa at three in the afternoon.
The deserted highway, smooth and wide, was sheathed in golden desert sand under a pitch-black sky. Our drive constantly interrupted with herds of prancing wild camel, stoic buffaloes, and abandoned cattle which merged with the darkness of the night. We were on our way to Jaisalmer in the north-west frontiers of Rajasthan.
I will never forget the calm words of my 22-year-old driver, Budharam Bishnoi, the first time an animal sneaked in front of our speeding vehicle: “Jitna aapki suraksha karna mera dharam hai, utna hi inn jeevo ka suraksha karna bhi mera dharam hai. Aap chinta mat karein.” [Just as it is my duty to protect you, it is also my duty to protect these animals. Don’t worry.” Continue reading →