I have been to Jaisalmer an era ago, when travelling was more about getting pampered by parents, buying or at least wish to get one or the other thing, taste each and every street food, and then to share the stories of rail-journey, hotel room, bus-guided tours when back to school. Except for that we, a group of boys and girls from my railway colony, had camel ride on some dune, saw where the movie Border was shot and also witnessed shooting of a Rajasthani movie (where a dude from our group pissed off the actor calling him Uncle), I don’t remember much.
So, this ride to Jaisalmer was just not another ride but also a journey down the memory lane. Nostalgia was of different sort when the city recalled me how that childhood tripping which had a girl from my class annoyed another girl for the obvious reasons :)
|Longewala to Tanot - a Must do Road|
Khuri sand dunes (also Khoohdi or Kuhri) are not that famous as are the Saam or Sam Sand Dunes, but we have been recommended by the Devil Dheeraj to visit Khuri for its not that commercialised. Incidentally, our host Rahul has also picked up Khuri as our first day’s destination. Khuri is some 46km southwest of Jaisalmer, from Union Circle – the entry point of the Golden City. A single lane, thin road leads to the Khoodi village through a series of ups and downs. Our plan as to rush to the place and enjoy the sunset at dunes, but sun wasn’t ready to wait much for us and we had to take the shots of Sun en route.
|Sun setting on the road to Khuri|
I have not been to Sam Dunes, but this place too has got a few Village-resorts and other few are under construction. It has got an ATM and a beer shop too, though what we cherished undoubtedly was those pakode and tea of Kaka’s shop right across that primary school without a toilet.
|That 'HOT' male camle and Sandy|
|She knew about Him, and so did Sandy - look at his Smile|
|Nope, not playing Daredevil...I seriously didnt know about his condition|
We reached the place where we had to stay overnight, and left for a camel-ride to nearby dunes. Funniest and simultaneously scariest part of the trip was that one of those camels was a male in his heating period – really high on hormones and other was a shy female. The male was literally growling and was somehow being managed by its owner, while the female was as calm and probably afraid as we were. It was late evening when we reached the dunes, and we could only manage a few pics. Next on schedule was a visit to belly-dancing at one of nearby resort’s night party, but to our dismay it cancelled. Well, we got to know that those dancers are not from the village, but from some distant village and even from other cities and a few Russians. So, we actually missed it :( ;(
|The best I could :/|
|Rahul, Me and Sandy on Sands|
|Headlight Dinner - hell lot better than Candle Light :)|
|In background is the school where spent the night|
|Khuri 0 Milestone: At the entrance of the village, though while leaving the town :)|
This place was high on our trip list. So, an hour or so at Rahul’s place and we left for Longewala. This place is about 130km NNW of Jaisalmer, through MDR 53 via Mokal-Ramgarh. Road was scoured, but I believe it has been redone by now. Do carry vehicle papers and your Driving License while visiting Longewala, as you have to get registered there to visit the place and also use the Longewala-Tanot road.
|Thanks Rahul :)|
|Longewala Memorial: The milestone Pakistani left before running away|
|American built Paki Tank that couldn't let them win over the honest and pride Indian army|
This place is remembered for the Battle of Longewala fought on 4-7 December 1971, leading Indian Army to decisively resist the better-weaponed Paki forces. A lot of folklore to be heard there, and the truth is you feel that gooseflesh characterising national pride when you are here, paying homage to those who died winning it for us. Border movie was based on this story, though with some script adaptations it certainly did justice to what happened at Longewala. (Click for more)
Though we don’t fail to brag about what we did at that particular victory, we people have a tremendous ability to relate some of the most incredible victories to some divine power. Tanot Mata Temple is one of the only, and perhaps the only, temple in world that’s completely managed by an armed force, in this case Border Security Force or BSF. This temple at around 56 kms from Longewala toward NE through a divinely good road though the Thar. Story goes like that in 1965 war Pakistani army dropped some 3000 bombs in and around this temple, and about 480 bombs inside the temple premises, but the temple not only survived a lot many bombs didn’t ever blasted. (Click for more)
|Tanaot Rai Temple|
|Tanaot Rai Temple|
You don’t question Faith, so I dare not to question it either.
|I fell in Love with these Windmills...will soon post other pics as a complete post :)|
We rushed up from Tanot, but it is 120+ km from the Fort. So by the time we reached the Fort, having a cup of tea midway and clicking a few pics of royal cenotaphs of Bada Bagh it was already late and we couldn’t visit the museum and also couldn’t buy puppets.
Well, Jaisalmer Fort is one must visit place (I know you Knew it, but still). We parked our bullets inside the Fort near the main gate and placed our helmets at one of those handicraft shops. As we missed museum timing, all we could do is roam around the fort, take snaps, bargain buying some collectibles, and witnessing sunset from a northern corner of the fort. A walk in the market along the ring road we were back at Rahul’s place at 9.
|Jaisalmer Fort - Raaj Gaddi|
|Jaisalmer Fort - A canon|
|One of favorite from Jaisalmer Fort|
|Outer walls of Jaisalmer Fort|
It was not a Palace, but yes a place we loved. The friend who hosted us in a royal way at Mehsana may get envy, but yes we, the bachelors, enjoyed a lot at Rahul’s place and thus it needs special mention. Gold walled as the rest of the city, flat wasn’t that big but uncles, who are incidentally flat mates of Rahul, have hearts real XXXL size. We, me and Sandy, were flattered by hospitality especially at Khuri and on the last night the dinner we had at roof with the Jaisalmer Fort in the background and cold winds making the mood. Thanks dude!
|Rahul's Royal Place with Royal Enfields - so much of Royalty|
|Roof top Dinner - Rahul is always that engrossed with food|
- TRAVEL ADVICE: If we actually want to see the city, plan it well. There are much more places than I talked about. We not only missed the museum but also the famous Desert Festival that takes place in Jan-Feb annually.
- TRAVEL ADVICE: Khuri Sand Dunes are worth a try, as suggested by another blogger friend it’s better than Sam.
- TRAVEL ADVICE: Though you will find an ATM somewhere or other in the town, have some cash all the time.
- TRAVEL ADVICE: There is not petrol pump at Khuri or on the route to Khuri, don’t take chances. You may get petrol in the villages for a premium, but why take chances.
- TRAVEL ADVICE: There are not much eatery options at Longewala/Tanot, have food at Ramgarh.
- SEASON ADVICE: Best time to Visit Khuri is November-February, not that cold, not that windy either.
- ROAD CONDITION: Roads are mostly good, but be prepared to hit a road with a thick sand cover all of a sudden, don’t lose patience it just needs a little maneuvering and of course a calm mind