Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Jaisalmer - Into the Great Thar Desert

We woke up and ordered our breakfast, which was potato and onion paratha with curd and “masala chai” (a sweet spiced tea with milk). After walking out of the hostel we realised that it is almost impossible not to be dragged into at least 4 shops. The stool/shop owners are forever shouting things along the lines of “My friends! Come to my shop! I have things for very cheap!”
We have quickly learned the art of haggling. Jon bought a souvenir today (not going to say what because we know that his family is following the blog too) and he managed to get it for about half the price at which we started bargaining. Simon also got 1/3 off an item he bought. We have walked empty handed out of shops because the prices they charge are too much even by our standards! However, it is most likely possible that we can get the same thing for much less in another shop around the corner. I guess the real key to getting a good deal is to make it look like you think that their prices are ridiculously expensive, even in those cases when they actually aren’t. In the end you will pay sensible prices and the sellers will earn a profit that they are happy with.
In the afternoon we went by jeep into the Great Thar Desert. We briefly visited a couple of small villages, where the houses were made of materials like mud and thatched roofs: and children asking constantly for rupees. After visiting the villages we drove to meet Hanib who took us on a camel safari and on the way we picked up two women wearing magenta veils over their faces and a young girl who had obviously been walking for miles. They lived in a village close to the place we were going to. It became quite cramped in the back of the jeep, but it seems that there is no limit to how many people are allowed in a vehicle. We saw an autorickshaw later that night carrying nine or ten passengers (they were all squashed in together so it was hard to count) and the driver.
The camel ride was great. It is actually amazing to have found out how high off the ground you are when you are on a camel’s back. At the starting point there was desert all around us with a hard, dry and slightly sandy terrain with sparse trees and shrubs. We spotted a few gazelles running in this part of the desert as well as cows.
As we continued into the wilderness Hanib took us to some natural golden sand dunes, which we rode over and also rested on. It looked like nobody had ever been there before because our camels were making fresh footprints in the sand and there was nobody else in sight. We managed to meet up with a couple of dune beetles though. Just before dark we left the dunes by jeep and returned to the fort in Jaisalmer.
We went in search of a lassi bar and we each had 3 makhania lassis (defined in the blog post for Jodhpur) at the Mohan juice bar and then two more on the way home in another lassi bar, called Kanchen Shree. The lassis were all equally amazing! We are going to try and get the recipe!
After drinking a grand total of 5 lassis each there was just enough room in our stomachs for some naan breads so we bought a couple and took them back to the hostel. We then got showered and here we are writing this post. It has been another amazing day.


  1. those flying people look a bit dodgy especially if they land on you head. i'm jealous i wan't to be there as well

  2. Hi Simon Great pictures. You both looked particulary chuffed out in the desert-------like a couple of kids let loose ------and why not-----I'm sure it will all be a life-changing and life-enhancing experience. Sent Ann Keast your picture outside the fort -----she wonders if you will want to come back !! Cheers Terry