Camels and Arabian Nights.
04.03.2008 - 07.03.2008 32 °C
We arrived into Jaisalmer on the overnight sleeper train with a relatively straight forward journey. We haggled with an auto rickshaw driver to take us to our hotel. Then as if by magic, Jaisalmer appeared like a giant sand castle in the distance. It's a much more sedate place to visit than the intensity of Delhi. The pace is far more relaxed and the people are much more helpful and friendly. However, you still get the cows roaming the streets and the crazy motorbike riders.
Along with having an arabian feel to it Jaisalmer is also famous for it's overnight camel treks into the Thar desert, just before the border of Pakistan. So as soon as we settled we managed to book ourselves onto a 1 1/2 trek.
We then spent a few hours exploring the palace in the fort. You are transformed back to the time of the Maharaja, with the free audio tour.
The following day we sent on our camel trek, with and early start beginning with a jeep ride to get into the start of the Thar desert. We were then introduced to our Camels. Mine was Matteus, Mark's Kingfisher was not so friendly and was definitely not a morning person just like his rider.
After the first time of the camel standing up and sitting down (with you feeling like you are going to fall off) it soon feels much more natural. We set of at a fairly slow pace and had a short ride to a village to get used the motion. We were then bambarded by children with the soon to be familiar calls for "School pen, chocolate, rupees".
Then it was back on the camel to ride another hour to a shady tree for lunch. The camels were set free to wander, and the guys cooked a very nice lunch. Afterwards everyone relaxed in the shade until the temperature settled a bit. Then were were off again. An hour or so later we then reached the dunes where we camped for the night.
We watched the sunset, had some more food and then sat around the campfire listening to the guys sing.
The stars were amazing. With no light they were so clear. We lay in our bed in the open watching shooting stars.
Unfortunately that night was when Delhi belly decided to hit me, not too pleasant in the desert. I got through it though and managed to ride the camel back to base the next day.
I was a bit washed out that next day so Mark went out into Jaisalmer on his own. He made friends with a really nice guy in a coffee shop, who made what Mark agreed was the best Masala Chai he'd tried. Make sure you visit
Natraj Restaurant if you are in the area. He's a great guy, and a favourite of the locals.
When I was a bit better we explored the Jain temples before catching a train to Jodhpur.
A word of advice, avoid booking tickets at the station there as the queue is a real headache.