Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Desert Safari in Rajasthan

Well , at the end of our Indian stay, decided to check out the parts we had missed in our last trips. Rajasthan (about which this post is) and kerala.
Travelling to Rajasthan in December/January is not cheap. chceked the flight charges and got a shock. So decide to fly to Mumbai and take the train from there to Jodhpur. The start of the train journey got a bit exciting. Somehow I managed to get it into my head that the train left from Mumbai Central. On reaching there, realised it was from Dadar (another 30 to 45 mins drive away), with excatly 40 mins to the train departure. So, had an exiting Cab ride to start the journey, in the classic Mumbai traffic, where the cabby weaved in and out to ensure we got the train. Fortunately we did with about 5 mins to spare :-)
Anyway, took off and reached Jodhpur on Dec 31. very early in the morning. Managed to find a nice LP recommened place to stay, with view of the Mehranghar (the Jodhpur Fort) . That night checked out the JOdhpur night scene. It was quite interesting. Found athth there were a few new year parties in teh fort and such, but they were catering for the 'Rich Americans' with the cost being $400 US per head. There was no way we were going to spend that kind of money. Found about this place that had a do for about Rs1000 per head ($40 US ), said more like it And joined in. It was full of the Jodhpur 'upper middleclass' crowd. Quite interesting people watching space as the festivities started. There were about 10 backpackers , including 4 young girls, and that was sum total of non Indians. All the single guys wanted to dance with these 4 girls, and the poor things did not know how to say 'No'. The good news was it was all bollywood music, and given that the wine was pretty ordinary, other than people watching there was nothing else to do but swing your hips (big time to make it real bollywood...) . The other fun part was watching the young indian women cajoling their partners to let them have a taste of 'beer' and being refuced. By end of the evening they did suceed :-)

The next morning was off to our highlight of the trip. Managed to book a desert trip and took off in the morning by the 4WD. Were supposed to meet our desert guide Gemar at a camp site. The 4WD got stuck in a little path, and we convinced the driver that it may be easier to walk it. After a 15 min walk reached the spot where these guys were having lunch. It was arelaxing lunch cooked ab initio by the cameleers, who seem to be excellent cooks as well ! This was end of the trip of the other 4 (an Indian couple on their honeymoon and a couple of English girls). For us this was the strt, where we got onto our camels and started towards Gemars home (a hut in the desert) which was a 2 hour ride with our first taste of they desert. This desert is more an Arid landscape athn true sandy dune deserts.
Also, its got a lot of small villages and we had constant company of little kids calling out 'white 'log' tata' until they got closer and one cheeky one started calling out 'Kale Log tata' when our escorts shooed them away.
I found it very amusing and funny and truthful... we were 'kale log' (black people). Guess their saying shows that the safari is predominately done only by the backpackers.. and rarely ever by indians. The hut was lovely and simple. Gemar's cameleer friends left at end of day and we had a nice dinner and sleep... The next day was another lovely day of ridning and enjoying the simple joys of the rajasthani desrt life with some attempt at talking to the cameleers (they have limited hindi) and having great food.
The evening ride was sensational and the camp site just out of the world. We will remember the sunset there all our lives. Here is glimpse in this photo. The next few days were doing the usual. Visited the Mehrangarh , (the best fort in Rajasthan) and then the Jaiselmer fort and old city. The accomodations were always in old havelis, (the ones that have ot been done up too much, and hence still within Rs1000) Also visted the hill station of Mount Abu, and did some hiking there. Finally reached Udaipur the lovely city of lakes. The lake palace looks gorgeous , though we did not want to pay Rs3000 to go in there (its Rs1500 per head for a lunch buffet !) we stayed in a room across the lake from it, with it as our view from our own private balcony in yet another lovely haveli taht only cost us Rs 1000 The old palace in udiapur (see the blog by Priyu in 'fantasies...) is as she describes it! Loved udiapur... One of our unforgettable trips....


Anonymous said...

Hello Pady and padma.
Nice to read your blog great.
gemar singh "guidedesert"

Larry Ghomes said...

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