Sam Sand Dunes Jaisalmer – A Beautiful Experience

A desert has always been one of the most mysterious things for me in this world. It looks like it is an endless world of its own and that it carries a number of hidden tales within its mystical existence. It is so vast, so deep, so cruel, so mean, so indifferent and so ruthless. But then all these are my perceptions about a desert and these perceptions of mine are inspired by a number of hollywood and bollywood movies, where a character of the movie is left to die in these abandoned and isolated deserts that extends till infinity. Where there is no hope to survive and the only thing one is left with is a bottle of water that one somehow manged to save. Though this sounds a bit funny but then, this has always been a perception of mine about these vast and never ending deserts. But hey, an oasis is always a ray of hope and it still gives a positive aspect to my negative perception.

This was the first time while I was actually going to be witnessing a real desert in my life. I was way too excited about the jeep and camel rides in the desert. Sam Sand Dunes in Jaisalmer was one such place which was about to portray a very new and a different picture of a desert for me. I along with a group of friends booked a desert safari. On the way to the Sam Sand Dunes, there was a vast area where a number of wind mills were installed. It felt like these all were waving their hands towards me with the most warm and welcoming gesture.

We entered the Sam Sand Dunes and searched for the Camp with which we booked the packages of Jeep Safari and Camel Ride, along with the Dinner. We reached the camp and had a word with their management for the arrangements that they must've made for our rides and the dinner.

We were asked to get upon the Jeep that was parked in front of the camp. I took my camera along with me, hoping to get some beautiful clicks of the desert and the various activities. The driver took us along the straight road, which wasn't so much of a worry for me, as I was pretty cool with that, but as we entered into the desert zone, he drove hell out of us. He was driving almost like a snake, all zig - zag. He drove the jeep over a desert hill and from there he rushed it down in high speed. We were jumping back and forth. It became almost impossible for me to be able to click any photograph with my camera, as I was afraid that my camera might fall down.

The life of my camera is always more important than mine and so I decided not to take it out. After a ride of say 20 minutes, the driver stopped his jeep in between the desert. There were a few camels, a snake charmer and a few local villagers in colorful clothes. They all looked at us with their colorful smiles.

I asked a friend to take a few of my photographs.

We got down from the jeep. A snake charmer along with his daughter, requested us to see her dance on the music that he played. We payed him and saw her dance. She was dancing almost like an Arabic or a Hawaiian dancer. She was really mild on her moves and danced her heart out with all grace. I made a few clicks of them and the people around. There were a few camels that were sitting in a row and they looked so beautiful.

We were then taken back to the desert camp from where we were supposed to take a camel ride to the Sam Sand Dunes. A guy, seeming to be a local villager came along with his camel. We were asked to sit on it. I was already pretty uncomfortable with the idea of sitting over a camel, as I never rode it in my life. I was already in the hangover of that jeep ride and now this camel!!!

I still managed to sit over it, but as and when it began to get up on its feet, I felt butterflies, french fries, house flies and almost everything in my stomach. It was like a take off. That was a very small ride, may be just a 10 minutes or so. He then asked us for if we wish to have an extra ride, to a place where some scenes of Bollywood movies were shot. He asked us to pay extra for that, whatever we wish to. We agreed and then he took us into the depth of the desert.

Again, while on the camel, it was difficult for me to take any photographs. This guy was playing the same trick with me, taking the camel on the top of the desert hill and then making it run down the hill, in speed. I almost had two by pass surgeries during the ride and almost a heart transplant, I was so terribly terrified.

That was a wonderful experience though. He got us down from the camel and asked us to come back to the desert camp after the sunset. We stayed there for an hour or two, until the sunset. I took some wonderful photographs of the people, camels and the sunset. This was the thing I was here for.

I saw this old man coming towards me with his camel. He was ethnic and looked connected to the roots of Jaisalmer. He and these wrinkles on his face portrayed him as the perfect representation of the desert and so I took a few clicks of his.

Then I saw this another guy coming up with his camel.

The sun was almost about to set and I could get to see a few glimpses of the moon. I captured one with the camels and moon in the background

It was getting dark as the day was about to set. I found it to be the best time to make a few more clicks of the sun and the camels all around. I tried to take a few good ones and I just hoped that if I could make justice to the place and the moment. This place was heaven at the time of sunset. Everything looked so mystically magical.

I then headed back to the desert camp where I was welcomed by a few people in traditional Rajasthani dresses. There was a sitting arrangements for the guests in the camp. There was a stage from where the performers were performing the folk music and folk songs. It turned out to be an ethnic evening wrapped into the magical aura of culture and class.

There was this girl, performing the Kalbeliya Dance. She was really good at that and not just this but she was extremely good at western dance too. I got to see that as she grooved on the English Songs, late at the DJ night. It was great to see her flexible moves which were full of energy and grace.

The dinner at the desert camp was pretty good. I feasted on the dish of chicken. It was cooked pretty well, though there were no arrangements to keep the food warm

I then came back to our hotel, where some so called Gala Party was going on. They were playing some really pathetic old Bollywood songs of the 90's. It almost seemed like it was a bar, people were drunk and weren't bothered about anything around. They were busy listening to the songs and drinking as much as they can.

We saved ourselves from this Gala Party, as we made a choice to spend the eve with the core of the city, its desert, the camels and the people of Jaisalmer.

We planned for the next day, to visit Kuldhara Village in the morning and then the Fort of Jaisalmer, which I will be writing about in my next blog.

It was such a beautiful and an unbelievable experience for me. I am still able to feel the warmth and fragrance of the desert and the camels, it was such an exotic experience. I then had a sleep in the night, to explore the city further on the next day.

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