It has always been an intriguing fact that I live in Delhi which is only 500KM from world’s 9th largest desert i.e. Thar Desert. So, finally, I decided to quench my thirst to go deep through the desert and sleep under stars, see the rising sun from top of Sand dunes. Although I wanted to reach sand dunes driving my car but it was just not possible, so decided to live another fancy of riding a camel.
For me, if ocean represents peaceful vastness than desert being ocean of sand represents a metaphor of rugged vastness. Blue Ocean offers tranquility while golden desert challenges the inner self. While sailing thru ocean you are not sure of the depth, but in desert you are always grounded by surroundings.
My Desert Safari was operated by Mr. Vijay the original and only Camel Man from Bikaner. My wife and I hired two separate camels named Raja and Boss. The plan was to go 12 KM deep in desert and spend a night on sand dune and come back in the morning.
We started from Himatsar at 4 PM and after settling with rhythms of the camel in sometime, we started to enjoy our barren surroundings. I must admit Thar Desert is certainly not the most picturesque of deserts as it is primarily a scrub desert, full of small shrubs/sedges and tall tree of Sangri. However, it has its own surreal beauty and occasional sand dunes makes entire scene awestruck. Our safari meandered through Groundnut crop fields and myriad sand dunes, finally concluded at designated Sand Dunes in Napasar at 6PM to witness the sun set.
Our safari guide Mahender and Mukesh, served us with High Tea and erected the tent for night before starting the preparation for the dinner. Witnessing the arid vastness of the nature while sipping a cup of tea made us feel so humble and we spent quite a time without talking. This speechlessness I experienced earlier in Chhitkul on the bank of Baspa River in Himachal and many times earlier while sitting on Marine Drive in Mumbai amidst drizzling.
After this moment of truth, we set next to campfire and later enjoyed our candlelight dinner under the starry night. We were served with simple, deliciously home-cooked meal, however, for us, it was the most splendid dinner ever.
No sound, no noise but only reverberating silence was omnipresent as if some melodious lullaby inducing sleep.
While crawling inside our blankets we had a sense of contentment which we never felt before because earlier, we never slept under star studded sky so away from city life and in the vastness of nature. Contentment was for accomplishment, few more ticks in bucket list.
In the morning, we get up early to observe sun rise and captured some nice early morning shots.
The offbeat part of the morning was when I took a power nap in the nature’s lap. It was the perfect way to absorb the essence of the desert and mother earth never looked as beautiful as it looked that day.
Some more shots from the desert safari,
Impact of Thar Desert on my psyche was as mesmerizing as when first time I witnessed the vastness of Indian Ocean in Goa or Might of Himalaya in Mount Aparwath in Gulamrg. As a person who is passionate about experience offbeat things in offbeat fashion, this desert safari experience was of supreme fulfillment.
At last I realized, desert is the exact metaphor of optimism. When we are in the barren and arid desert we are holy optimistic and courageously face whatever Goddess of nature throws at us and in doing so always search for oasis of opportunities.
“What makes the desert beautiful,’ said the little prince, ‘is that somewhere it hides a well…”…….>Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (Author of The Little Prince)
P.S.: Camel Safari is available at Bikaner, Jaisalmer and Jodhpur and all of them offer different experiences. Bikaner is less popular option and thus I preferred it for my first and candid desert safari. Camel Man from Bikaner is organizing first ever desert night on 31st December at their sand dunes. Yes guys, a new year party at Sand Dunes around 12 KM from Bikaner. I am sure it will be a different and out of the world experience.