The train from Jaipur to Jaisalmer usually runs late the auto rickshaw driver had warned as we were finishing the second day of sightseeing at Jaipur. Mohammed Sayeed had become our trusted auto driver, guide and friend over the previous two days and had done his bit to showcase the best of Jaipur to us. By 2300hrs, we had got ourselves dropped off at the railway station. Just as Mohammed had predicted the train that was scheduled to arrive at 2350 hrs pulled in one hour late by which time both kids were sleepy and tired and my wife looked drained out as well.
When I woke up the following morning it was nice and bright and the absence of vegetation was prominently noticeable. Jaisalmer was the closest I had travelled to the Indo Pak border. A little later the train stopped at Pokhran station and it was only when I spotted a whole lot of Army Jawans detrain that I noticed the station s name. With little time to lose I got both my sons out of the train to click a photograph of theirs at this station famous for the Nuclear Blasts our nation conducted some years ago.
Finally by 1400 hrs that day the train slowly pulled into its last stop by which time my tour operator Oasis India Camps had already texted me the number of the Taxi that had been sent to pick us up. The Camp itself is owned and operated by a retired colonel of the Indian Army. It was a 45 kilometers ride in an air-conditioned cab from the railways station before we alighted outside the Camp. From the entrance one could see the 35 odd tents neatly pitched in nearly two acres of land. The cold bottle of Distilled water that we were given was truly a WELCOME drink in every sense of the word. We were shown to our tents and I was pleased that we got what we had been promised on the web site.
A camel-back ride into the sunset was the first thing on the agenda and the kids were excited about it. Having read up on several websites we had come prepared with face creams, cameras, boxer shorts and even a cushions each for all of us as many tourist had blogged about how painful a camel ride can get. The evening s camel ride found the kids screaming for their lives in total fear as the camels lifted themselves up on all fours. With me holding the younger one and with the passage of time the screaming slowly died down as we headed towards the nearest Sand dune. Each time the camel made its way up the slope of the dunes one could hear the reemergence of the screams and cries but only to last for a while.
The sunset was beautiful no doubt and while we were explored the dunes, we were treated to some haunting music from an Algoza. The kids (and wifey was no exception) literally had a rolling time on the dunes. In the evening we enjoyed the program watching the young ladies gyrate their hips to some Rajasthani music and taking an occasional swig of some fine Lagavulin from my hip flask. The staff were more than hospitable and ensured each of their guests who sat around in a circle watching the program were specially attended to and led to the tent where dinner had been served. Stay within the tent was very comfortable and adequate blankets had been provided to shield us from the desert cold.
The following day started early with the camp manager ,at our request, walking us to a vantage position atop a dune to watch the sun come up. Later, after stuffing ourselves with some scrambled eggs and Aloo sabji (Potato vegetable preparation) with Paratha (Indian Bread). The kids looked forward to the long day on the camel back in the grueling heat. Actually none of us knew what to expect and that made it even more interesting. Both kids had opted to ride with one of the parents and the younger one stuck to me (as he normally does only when he is on unchartered territory). Sunblocks, caps, scarfs and lots of water bottles had been packed into our backpacks as we mounted those noisy beasts of burden at 0830 hrs. The walk on my camel (named Rocket) to the nearest dune we had visited the previous evening was familiar turf but thereafter it was the Desert National Park territory. On the way as the sun got hotter with each passing minute we were lucky to see some deers hopping away at a distance, sheep and even a desert fox. Kids seemed to have grown a lot bolder overnight and our guide Mr Ali talked us through the entire way.
By 1100 hrs we were at yet another big Sand dune that seemed untouched by tourists. We stopped there to let the camels rest a while. Kids just wanted to jump and roll in the sand. We walked some distance with the camels and on the way we saw several chameleons and smaller reptiles.
With our lips parched and stomachs rumbling for lunch we could hardly wait for lunch to be brought on a camel cart to the designated place. The paraphernalia included tables, chairs, floor mat, a decanter for water to wash our hands, bottles of Mineral water and some really yummy food. A short rest later by 1530 hrs we were on our way back to the Sunset dune. By then the Sun was rather cruel and the breeze had died down. The guide let me have a go at controlling his camel too. Hard as I tried to break the camel into a run, the beast paid no heed and then no sooner than the guide made a clicky sound the camel would run.
The day faded into the evening. I sat on the reclining chair outside my tent reflecting on the holiday and saying to myself I couldn t have thought of a better way to have welcomed in my Birthday.
- Also Known As:
- Oasis India Camp At Sam Sand Dunes Hotel
- Oasis India Camp At Sam Sand Dunes Hotel Jaisalmer