India – Jaisalmer and the Thar Desert





Although the fort is amazing, we have actually come here for a desert safari! Many people plan a section of the “expedition” to ride on camels, but you know us: we don’t like to support animal exploitation (and they say it’s very uncomfortable!) so the jeep option is the choice. After a very long debate, our travel plan appears to be a mix of popular sightseeing with visits to small villages. Our host and his attendant have bought groceries to prepare fresh food on the spot and brought many litters of water, very necessary to traverse the hot desert.

The first stop is at the royal cenotaphs of Bada Bagh. They were built to house the remains of the maharahas of Jaisalmer, some being in ruins and others rebuilt. We enjoy hanging around them and taking photos.

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The area is surrounded by electric wind mills.

The area is surrounded by electric wind mills.

A cute stray dog waits for tourists. There are many stray dogs in the desert, which is unsettling considering the hot conditions they have to survive.

A cute stray dog waits for tourists. There are many stray dogs in the desert, which is unsettling considering the hot conditions they have to survive.

The jeep bumps through sand, dust in the air, while we see dromedaires grazing along the road and running away from the noisy vehicle, goats and cows crossing any time and a few isolated villages in the middle of the dry environment. We enjoy the tour until the next stop, which is an amazing Jain temple.

We hadn’t heard about Jain religion until we arrived in Rajasthan, but the truth is that here it is quite common (in the city of Jaisalmer, there are 7 Jain temples only inside the fort walls). This being the first we ever visit leaves us impressed. Also the priest inside is quite welcoming and surprisingly—considering all experiences in India—allows us to take all the pictures we want, even with tripod.

The priest explains without much detail or enthousiasm that the temple is devoted to the snake deity. Apart from a shrine containing the idol, there is a picture of a real snake seemingly living here, but we are more than happy with the image than with the real thing.

A sign in the entrance reminds us about the gender differences...

A sign in the entrance reminds us about the gender differences…

Close to the entrance, the temple deity statue welcomes visitors.

Close to the entrance, the temple deity statue welcomes visitors.

The same statue can be seen inside.

The same statue can be seen inside.

The ceiling is really detailed, worth a picture.

The ceiling is really detailed, worth a picture.

The temple is full of light inside through the openings in the walls and ceiling. All together with the details makes it difficult to leave the place.

The temple is full of light inside through the openings in the walls and ceiling. All together with the details makes it difficult to leave the place.

The entrance doors displaying the characteristic arches outside.

The entrance doors displaying the characteristic arches outside.

A side building inside the walls of the temple with a tree statue on top.

A side building inside the walls of the temple with a tree statue on top.

The arch of the entrance.

The arch of the entrance.

Our path turns towards one of the oasis of the area. Our chefs start peeling veggies, making fire and prepping food. After not long, a shepard brings his goats, who run towards the water to drink, followed by one of our favs; water buffaloes who drink, pee and do other nasty business before stepping right into the water. On the other side, some villagers bring their cistern trucks and fill them up (after witnessing how animals deposit their… charms in the oasis, we prefer not knowing whether the water is filtered before consuming or not. Eew). Since food is prepared on a small fire, it gives us time to hang out, then have lunch and wait for the heat of the sun to fade a bit. Dishes and pans are cleaned with sand and a towel to eliminate the dust.

Trucks charging their cisterns with... eh... not so clean water.

Trucks charging their cisterns with… eh… not so clean water.

Goats drinking water after a long walk in the desert.

Goats drinking water after a long walk in the desert.

The goats are really curious about the food we are preparing. Our guide roars, makes the characteristic "Ssshhhh!" sound and throws stones constantly to keep them away.

The goats are really curious about the food we are preparing. Our guide roars, makes the characteristic “Ssshhhh!” sound and throws stones constantly to keep them away.

The guide and cook. He does really well.

The guide and cook. He does really well.

Our curry is being prepared.

Our curry is being prepared.

Here you can see how our guide makes some chapati, rural style. It is basically wheat floor cooked in a pan called “tava” on woodfire. Chapati is used everywhere in India for eating all kinds of curries and dhals, with the hand.

A woman and a kid walk away after taking some water for their house.

A woman and a kid walk away after taking some water for their house.

The light at the oasis is really strong.

The light at the oasis is really strong.

Here is a video of some water buffaloes arriving to the oasis, drinking and bathing.

Water buffaloes arrive and fight the heat by bathing in the oasis.

Water buffaloes arrive and fight the heat by bathing in the oasis.

And they also... eh... increase the richness of the water with their pee.

And they also… eh… increase the richness of the water with their pee.

The whole picture of the oasis. Animals bathing and peeing. Men taking the water for, hopefully not drinking it without treatment.

The whole picture of the oasis. Animals bathing and peeing. Men taking the water for, hopefully not drinking it without treatment.

All goats have a red horn to be identified by the sheppard.

All goats have a red horn to be identified by the sheppard.


3 thoughts on “India – Jaisalmer and the Thar Desert

  1. La Sandalia !!! … jejejeje …. tranquilos….. aquí también te encuentras un zapato o bamba tirada en medio de la carretera…
    Un reportaje muy bonito… felicidades

  2. Gracias, chicas, nos alegramos de que hayáis compartido nuestro viaje por el desierto… ¡aunque sin tanto calor! 🙂

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