The desert Thar in the north-west of India and the south-east of Pakistan covers an area of about 4 times of Austria. The half of this desert region is a pure sand-desert with its typical dune scenery and belongs to India. Close to Jaisalmer has been set up a desert national park we wanted to visit – naturally, including a camel ride and desert dinner. Our hotel manager offered to take us on his jeep to the desert for a homeopathic price. He was really a pleasant contemporary, that’s why it has been obvious for us to engage him. That’s why we could start early morning directly at the hotel. Despite the high volume level, we got used to his musical taste. His object of desire – as of every Indian before – were definitely the sunglasses of my companion.
Not only we have been in the desert on the road, but also other vehicles could be seen – as the Bus for example
At the beginning of our excursion we visited a abandoned village, vacant for more than 200 years. On due to the drought, every building is still in a very good condition.
At this part of the Thar desert are approximately 60 villages located – they are divided by their Muslim and Hindu population. Both religious groups live separately according to religion in their own villages – any kind of problems or assaults doesn’t exist. Living in the desert is still more affected by the drought than in the rest of the country.
At this time at the year – shortly before raining season – there is no more water available in the villages. All this villages are provided with water by one of the last remained lakes. The Water has to be shared with grazing animals – transport and distribution is organized by the villagers with tractors. Water is available, as long as there is some left. A delay of raining season means, that it is hard for the people to get some fresh water. Already now, about 6 weeks before estimated start of monsoon the lake has been almost emptied.
The „hardly-awaited“ highlight of our desert-tour was an announced camel ride. After reaching the home town of our guide we got firstly wrapped a colorful turban around our bald heads. Apparently every Indian shares the conviction, that pink my provision is – I always got wrapped around one in this loud color.
My camel was Micheal Jackson, the name of the second camel has been omitted. The plan was to ride through sand dunes for about 2 hours until we reached a resting place. So that we could not get lost and the camels with us not go through, we were led by two young guys on the long lead. At the rest area, a desert dinner was prepared before returning to the hotel with the jeep.
You can also stay in the sand dunes, but simple bedding is available for free use. Until the meal was finished, it still took some time.
Our guide had already driven up by jeep. Nigel was so smart to entrust him with the procurement of a few beers. That might not be so easy here in the Muslim villages. But he had still managed to raise two piece somewhere. The beer was quite warm, but still a nice change to bridge the period until the completion of our dinners.
The big challenge when preparing food in the desert is the sand. You have to be pretty skilled to get not too many grains of sand in the food. Our two boys have to work on the proper technique. The food was cooked well, but it just has crunched with each bite. The teeth were already brushed clean with chewing.
Although the ride on the camels already had a certain charm, it was for us a lot more exciting, on another day to test the desert suitability of our two-wheelers. Matching sand dunes were about an hour outside the city. Before it started, we’d was still a strong breakfast in a typical local restaurant.
The desert is fantastic with the motorbike to ride. But on a Royal Enfield. The bullets are much too weak and the tires were the wrong ones. Nevertheless, it was a lot of fun to sink the motorcycle in the sand, and to dig it out again afterwards with proper body posting. In our internal contest, Nigel got up with his bike about 1 meter further down the dune than I did.