Welcome to the A to Z Challenge, an initiative that invites bloggers to post an alphabet-themed post every day (excluding Sundays) during the month of April. As part of this challenge, I’ll be sharing some of my travel memories to known and unknown places in the hope to inspire your travel dreams.
J is for Jaisalmer (India)
It’s been 10 years since I have been to this fascinating desert town on the Western edge of Rajasthan, close to the Pakistan border. For many tourists, the state of Rajasthan is one of the few places that they see on their trip to India. It’s sad really, because even though this state has the quintessential feel of what people think India is like, it really doesn’t even touch the surface to all that this amazing country has to offer.
That said, there are a multitude of reasons why Northern India is a huge tourist destination. It’s not the touts, persistent beggars, piles of garbage littering the streets, smell of urine and abundance of animals everywhere. So what keeps them coming here? The colorful sari’s floating down the road against the barren desert backdrop, the beauty and kindness of India’s people, unique heritage sites unlike anything seen elsewhere. And probably truth be told, for the adventure of traveling in a place that is just not that easy. Well, and also the food! But I digress.
My trip to Jaisalmer was on a backpacker’s budget, but this didn’t mean we were lacking in ambiance. We stayed in a a cool, cheap and tiny backpackers guesthouse in the middle of the Jaisalmer Fort. Yep, in the middle. This is a working fort, meaning that people still live and work within it’s walls. This is unlike any other fort in India, which makes the trek out here even more special. Watching the sun set across the Thar desert, with golden hues bouncing off the forts walls makes you feel like you are in a fairy tale.
But one of the main reasons tourists come this far is to go on a camel safari in the desert. This was my main motivation. A few friends and I set off on a 2 day camel safari. I remember thinking at the time that 2 days was not long enough. Well, about 1 hr into it, I realize that yes, 2 days is more than enough! It is not comfortable to ride a camel in the desert. The trick is to ride as long as you can without getting off. Once you get off, it hurts like mad to get back on. Day 2 was torturous!
And the sand is everywhere. Who would have guessed? Ha. Luckily we had all been warned to bring thin light shawls/scarfs. This was an absolute necessity. The sand flew around like it was a sand tornado, getting into every crevice of your body – having sunglasses and shawls draped over your face help block the intrusion a bit.
But, spending the night in the desert was amazing. Sand dunes as far as the eye could see. The sunset. The absolute quiet (apart from our camels chomping sounds!). The stars. It was everything I had dreamt it would be and more. The more being, the dung beetles that no one warned me about. Gross! They were everywhere – coming for our camel’s dung, literally.
Would I do it again? Of course. But this time I want to do it in Egypt.