This Budget Trip to Jaisalmer Includes Everything From Camel Safari to Night Camping
The image that pans out in front of my eyes after hearing the name Jaisalmer is of a vast arid erg (desert covered with wind-swept sand) with camels. After covering the most visited cities of Rajasthan (Udaipur, Jaipur, Bikaner, and Jodhpur) it was time for me to cross off Camel Safari and Jeep Safari from my list. But these turned out to be only the teaser of activities I did in Jaisalmer, there are more which you will come to know as you read further.
For this Jaisalmer trip, I collaborated with Himshikher Treks – a new adventure company from Ahmedabad. To know more about them click here. In this blog I would be sharing my Jaisalmer experience and what all Himshikher Treks offer in there.
Jaisalmer!!, A beautiful city lying in the heart of the Thar desert (the Great Indian Desert) crowned by the largest desert fort standing on a ridge. That’s how the aerial view of Jaisalmer looks like when captured by a drone. Many of the houses and temples of both the fort and of the town below are built of finely sculptured sandstone, which gave it the nickname “The Golden City of India.”
How to Reach Jaisalmer
By Air: Jodhpur Airport is the nearest option(300km from Jaisalmer).
By Road: Jaisalmer is well connected with Jodhpur, Jaipur, Bikaner, Barmer, Mount Abu, Ahmedabad etc.
By Train: Direct trains from Delhi, Jaipur, and Jodhpur are available.
Camel ride in a barren desert can be a wonderful experience but not when it is highly crowded. For an exhilarating experience, it’s important to decide when to go and which sand dunes to choose. Most tourists head to the Sam Sand Dunes, which are mostly swarmed. On the other hand, the dunes near Khuri village in Desert National Park are more peaceful and less crowded. The best time is from September to March. It’s possible to go on a short camel safari where you will not get bored easily. The price of camel safaris and Jeep Safari varies according to the standard of food and stay provided. Many choose the overnight option, which is rational as it can make you dull otherwise with a sore bum instead. This consists of riding the camel into the desert for 2 hours at least, watching the sunset, having dinner, star gazing, waking up for sunrise, and then riding back. Himshikher Treks, on the other hand, bring out the best by combining these two options at the best price. This involves a short camel and Jeep safari on the same day in Sam Dunes, watch the sunset, have dinner, stargazing and camping in tents at a private desert area. For full itinerary click here
17 kilometers from Jaisalmer lies the spooky village Kuldhara. About 200 years ago, Kuldhara was home to the Paliwal Brahmins. It was amid this time Salim Singh, the Diwan of Jaisalmer, known for his revelry and corrupt tax-collecting techniques, set his eyes on the beautiful little girl of the town chief. The Diwan was totally never going to budge on having the girl and he told the villagers that if they become an obstruction in his path he would impose high taxes on them. Dreading the rage of the Diwan, the inhabitants of the whole village fled one dim night, deserting their homes and everything inside it. Kuldhara was abandoned by its own one of a kind people. Nobody saw the villagers leave. For ages now, nobody knows where the Paliwals have resettled. All that is known is they cursed the town when they left – that nobody could ever settle down in Kuldhara again. Personal recommendation: visit only if you are in Jaisalmer for more than 2 days or if you have time. But if you are coming with Himshikher treks, they have it covered in their itinerary.
Ask me to do any adventure sports and you will never hear a NO from me. That is how much I am crazy about adventure. Parasailing experience in Jaisalmer boosted my adrenaline rush, just how I like it. If you are going to Jaisalmer this is one of the adventure sports that you can try out. The birds-eye view of Thar desert will leave you speechless.
Like a golden crown, Jaisalmer Fort stands still amidst the sandy expansion of Thar desert. It the only “living forts” in the world, with thousands living inside the fortification, earning their livings through the fort’s numerous shops, restaurants, and temples. The sunset and night view of the city from the fort is a treat to eyes. The fort looks brilliant in the morning hours when the rays of the sun hit its walls. Jaisalmer fort is popularly known as the “Sonar Kila” because it is made of yellow sandstone.
Looking at the needs of people of Jaisalmer Raja Rawal Jaisal constructed a manmade reservoir in 1400 AD. Gadisar lake is surrounded by artistically carved Chattris, Temples, Shrines, and Ghats. Before reaching the Gadisar lake you will be welcomed by a magnificently carved archway of Tillon Ki Prol. The lake is a perfect spot for bird watching as Bharatpur bird sanctuary is close to it.
Longewala Border Post
Not many tourists come to Longewala border post as it is 110-112km from Jaisalmer city. It is totally an offbeat place where solely army bunkers can be seen. Those who don’t know, it was the famous battleground of 1971 war, that became a graveyard of Pakistani Tanks, other vehicles and supported machinery. You could still find the captured Pakistan’s Sherman Tank T-59At the Longewala Border Post. The epic movie Border(1997) was based on this Battle of Longewala.
Tanot Mata Mandir
Tanot village is close to the Pakistan border, an infertile land, and is prone to enemy attacks. During the Indo-Pak war of 1965, around 3000 bombs were fired targeting this temple and the nearby areas but not even one exploded. In 1971 another similar incident happened when the battle of Longewala took place(35km from Tanot Mata temple). This is also an offbeat place but Himshikher Treks has both Longewala and Tanot Mata Temple in their itinerary. So you don’t need to worry about transportation.
Jaisalmer War Museum
Located 10 km from Jaisalmer on the Jaisalmer – Jodhpur Highway is Jaisalmer War Museum dedicated to the nation in the year 2015. The Museum displays war exhibits which include vehicles and equipment captured during the course of operations in 1965 and 1971At the Museum a lady will walk you through the history how Indian Army evolved, major wars, machinery, Guns etc used during the war. An HF-24 Maruts and Hawker Hunter Aircraft of the Indian Air Force, which destroyed enemy tank columns in the Battle of Laungewala is also displayed.
Night camping in Thar desert
Even on your worst days, one thing that can bring you peace is a moon and a sky full of stars. What more can you expect from a night camping which is in a private desert area? And this is not it; there is a bonfire, Soft Music, a lot of stories to hear. If you are looking to have this kind of experience in a budget, Himshikher is the best option and if you are looking for a more comfortable Swiss tent stay you can find multiple packages on the internet which comes in high budget range.
My experience of Jaisalmer with Himshikher Treks
Considering myself a budget traveller, the trip was wonderful. I totally enjoyed the trip. I compared the price with the list of activities which Himshikher treks provide, and I couldn’t ask for more from a trip. In other words, If you are someone who can stay in tents plus can compromise with little things than this is the best package for you considering it a budget trip.
What to expect from the trip?
Budget travel itinerary
Proper Rajasthani food which tastes good.
You will get to enjoy every activity which they offer. Camel Safari, Jeep Safari. You will definitely enjoy these three activities and witness the mesmerizing views of the sunset among the sparkling sands of the Thar Desert.
Rajasthani cultural dance after sunset.
Kuldhara village tour.
Jaisalmer War Museum.
Jaisalmer fort on a free day.
Longewala and Tanot Mata temple tour which not many travel companies organize.
If you ask me to compare the trip price and experience, I would say it’s total worth.
What not to expect from the trip?
Do not expect a Luxury stay. The trip is planned to fit in everyone’s budget. You would be staying in Quechua tents on sharing basis where sleeping bag and mat will be provided.
Transportation from Ahmedabad is through a NON AC semi – sleeper bus. Do not expect an AC sleeper bus. Camel Safari and Jeep Safari are kept short and quick keeping in mind the other lined up activities.