A Night Under the Stars....
15.11.2012 - 16.11.2012
In South India, I had met some girls who mentioned that their camel safari adventure in Jaisalmer was their most favorite thing they did in India. Once I heard this, I knew Jardin and I had to do it. So we left Jodhpur behind and headed to Jaisalmer, in the really western part of Rajasthan only 40 miles away from the Pakistani border. Interestingly, the best roadways I encountered in the entire country are on the way to Jaisalmer, as its the only roadway paved by the military since the government invests a lot of money to secure the border with Pakistan. Jaisalmer is known as the Golden City, famous for its fort and sandstone yellow buildings. Jaisalmer is in the heart of the Thar Desert.
Before we headed out on camels, we stopped at an old abandoned city, and explored the sandstone buildings.
Then we drove another 30 minutes outside of Jaisalmer into the desert and boarded our camels.
I loved my turban
We all rode in a camel line led by local boys who were 10 and 14 years of age respectively
Sunshine and clear skies.....
Nice turban, Jardin!
A camel with two heads....lol
The camels had terrible insect issues. The poor animals were covered with bugs, so I lent our helper the bug spray to spray on them. It actually seemed to have helped, which was nice. It's the least I could do for the animals carrying us an hour into the desert. Jardin's camel was so itchy from sand flies that it kept rubbing against bushes when we passed them. Although I felt bad for the camel, it was funny to watch Jardin squirm while he was about 10 feet from the ground on a live animal..
Jardin and I witnessed one of the most ridiculous things we've ever seen. A mother-daughter pair that was overly high-maintenance actually brought their laptop to the desert. What's more is that the daughter actually tried to log onto the internet. It was utterly absurd. After all, you're there to have a once-in-a-lifetime experience riding a camel out into the desert and sleeping under the stars, not emailing your boyfriend! Kids these days I'll say they were bizarre and leave it at that.
After all, we found way more interesting things in the desert to look at....like this:
Jardin, the two Indian guys who were on our tour, and I went on a walk to explore the dunes...I'm loving the Ali Babas, Jardin
We ran across some other guides and I just loved the way they were sitting, so I asked if I could pose with them for a desert life pic
Then we proceeded to watch the sun set
As the night air cooled the dunes, we headed back to enjoy our traditional Rajasthani meal cooked over a fire for us. With food in our bellies, we headed to bed. Mattresses were set up on the dunes under the stars. It was the earliest bedtime I had had since I was a kid, as we headed to bed by 8pm. We chatted for a bit and then Jardin fell asleep. I stayed up for another hour just staring up at the sky stargazing. I watched 2 planets rise, and I saw so many shooting stars. Seeing a shooting star was particularly moving since I had never seen one before, not to mention they are absolutely magical to witness. I drifted off to sleep, but not before I made a wish of course. At 2am, Jardin and I set an alarm to wake up and go for a walk to watch the stars some more. We got about 20 feet until the night air and the cool sand made us turn back.
We did, however, wake up at about 5:30am to watch the sun rise. We took our blankets to keep us warm and perched atop a dune to watch the sun come up.
After the sun had fully risen, we gathered around the campfire to have our delicious chai and breakfast.
We said goodbye to our camp (this is what our camp looked like by the way) and got back on our camels to continue the journey back to civilization
If you are interested in doing a camel safari in Jaisalmer, I would recommend the company, Sahara Camel Safari, to anyone wishing to do this trip. They were excellent and this extraordinary experience only cost about US$25 per person!
A bit sore and dirty, we finally arrived at the car and ventured back to Jaisalmer, where a warm shower awaited us. We showered and enjoyed one last rooftop lunch before going to the Jaisalmer Fort, famous in Rajasthan and one of the absolute must-not-misses. Pictured is the palace inside the fort.
We wandered around the vast fort. I bought a leather bag that looks like a rustic old bag from a 1960s movie or something. It's a classic. We continued exploring and I was surprised to find cows very deep into the fort, so far back that you wouldn't have thought a cow would wander those winding streets. In fact, it was pretty funny...when Jardin and I were walking down one such winding alleyway, he suddenly grabbed me and was being very protective. (It wasn't the first time he was being overprotective--cover your shoulders in Northern India, ladies!! Trust me...otherwise you get much more unwanted attention than what being a different skin color brings. Jardin saw to protect me from that by always making me cover my shoulders). In any case, in this circumstance, I soon realized what he saw: 2 cows coming directly at us down the alleyway. Between the cows and us there really wasn't any room to spare width-wise between the buildings. Thankfully, he guided us through the cows...such hazards on the streets, those cows!! Only in India!!
Then Jardin and I enjoyed one last sunset together on top of the Jaisalmer Fort before we had to part ways the following morning..
As a side note, we enjoyed a delicious breakfast at a roadside luxury resort in between Jaisalmer and Jodhpur. If you ever find yourself traveling between those two destinations and decide that you are hungry or want to stop for an evening of luxury, definitely check out the Samsara resort.