We waved goodbye to the year 2017 from the Thar Deserts of Rajasthan. Finally, it was a dream come true. As we stayed in a desert camp in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan. And did a lot of wonderful activities in the Thar Deserts. And experiencing the desert life first hand. In fact, we always associated a desert with just barren stretches of sand for miles. And always wondered what will there be to do in a desert. So, we were totally amazed to see the huge possibilities of things to do in Thar desert Rajasthan, when we arrived here. The list was so long that it was impossible for us to cover everything in one night of our stay in the desert. So, do keep adequate time apart when you happen to visit here.
Staying overnight in a Desert Camp
This one goes without saying. The Thar Desert with fine stretches of sand is host to several Desert Camps. And staying in one must be one of the top things to do in Thar Desert Rajasthan. Since, this is an experience of a lifetime. Forget the luxuries of the cities. And for one night, settle in the middle of nowhere in one of these desert camps. Not only is this experience very different from that of living in a hotel. But, it also brings one closer to the life in the desert. You see how the arrangements are done, transporting every single need from the town, including water. And how hard the employees of the camp work to make the guests feel right at home. It is just so touching!!
If you are the adventure lover, then this will be the best among your list of things to do in the Thar desert. You can go Dune bashing over the vast stretch of the sand dunes. Either you can yourself drive if you have the right SUV with you. Or, you can also hire a Jeep or a SUV. In fact, there are many operators that arrange for Dune bashing trips from both the city of Jaisalmer and Jodhpur. And then there are others right in the desert itself. When we went there, we arranged our dune bashing with a provider right in front of our desert camp. And believe me, the kind of experience that you get going up and down the sand dunes beats any roller coaster ride that you might have taken.
Parasailing over the Thar Desert
Parasailing is yet another adventure activity that is a must do amongst the list of things to do in Thar Desert Rajasthan. Especially if you are an adventure lover. Since the sky is stark clear most of the time. And the vast stretches of sand give such an uninterrupted view of the horizons far off. You will definitely feel like a free bird while Parasailing in the middle of the Thar Desert. And that also, if you do in the early morning or late evening, it’s all the more exciting. Given the beautiful colors of the rising and the setting sun on the horizon which make for a perfect backdrop.
Enjoying a sunrise and sunset over the sand dunes
As we have said earlier also, there is something about the sunrises and sunsets that we never get exhausted watching them. And when we get to watch one without anything in between to interrupt the views, then they look all the more beautiful. That is exactly the advantage of watching a sunrise or a sunset over a desert. And if you are a photographer, you are sure to capture some wonderful shots with the backdrop of the sunrise or the sunset over the sand dunes, the camels and the people around. We absolutely enjoyed taking the sunset shots . And thereafter, I could just not move my eyes from the setting sun until it disappeared in the darkness. After so long I could see the sun going from bright yellow to fierce orange to red and then fading in the dark. Leaving behind a trail of rainbow colors on the horizon.
So, you must add a sunrise or sunset experience in your list of things to do in Thar Desert Rajasthan.
Camel riding in the sand dunes
Camels are the ships of the desert. As soon as you enter the Thar Desert, you will start seeing camels in abundance. To me, they also add a splash of color to the otherwise golden desert. With their beautiful and colorful attires that they are adorned with by their owners. Providing short camel rides and charging the tourists in turn a minimal fee for it, is a major source of income for the village dwellers. So, both alongside the highway as well as on the sand dunes, you will meet such vendors with camels, always ready to give you a ride. If you like it, go ahead and experience a camel ride in the desert.
Enjoying the traditional cultural performances
The culture of Rajasthan is so old and yet so vivid. To come here and not to have the cultural experience will be a sin. And an integral part of the culture are the different forms of folk music and dance that exist here. The otherwise colorless desert life really comes live with the cultural performances. And to entertain the guests, the performers travel far and wide. We saw some performing even on the sand dunes. And then there was a folk song and dance performance arranged right inside our desert camp. Which went on till almost midnight.
As we sat in the amphitheater in the desert camp, watching the performance under the stars, it totally captivated us. And it also reminded us of the cultural performance we had seen in Shilpgram, Udaipur last year. And also the performances done in the Bagore ki Haveli museum towards the evening. We highly recommend you add this experience in your list of things to do in Thar Desert Rajasthan.
Visiting the ruins around the desert
Did you know that the Thar Deserts are home to several abandoned villages, some very old forts and palaces and many other historical sites. As the area was once a sea. And then as the sea receded, human establishments were formed in this area. But as the climatic factors changed over a course of hundreds of years, and the area became deprived of water. And unsuitable for farming. Many small clusters of villages were abandoned and the people living here migrated. Some of these like Kuldhara have very interesting legends associated with them. Like, Kuldhara is believed to be haunted. Similarly, the abandoned Khaba Fort stand as a testimony of the glorious history of Rajasthan.
You might like reading: The haunted village of Kuldhara
Thus visiting these ruins and forts are another recommendations to add to your list of things to do in Thar Desert Rajasthan.
Overnight Camping in the middle of nowhere
Apart from the desert camps that have well structured packages for guests and are more on the lines of resorts, one can also camp out in the wilderness in the Thar Desert. While we were on our way to the sand dunes for sand bashing, we could see many camps being set for the night. And it must be all the more exciting to spend the night in the middle of nowhere. So, again, to satisfy the adventurous kid in you, you can go for camping out in the desert. While you do it, you must carry adequate warm clothing and enough supply of water and food with you. Since, the desert gets pretty cold by the night.
Our suggestion, ask for recommendation in the town of Jaisalmer or Jodhpur and lend the right camping equipments. Even better, go with some group and camp together. It will be fun. So, don’t forget to add camping in your list of things to do in Thar Desert Rajasthan.
How many times do you get the chance to gaze at bright stars in a clear sky? Well, being city dwellers, this is a luxury for us. And we grab the chance of star gazing whenever we can. Since the feeling of lying below a clear sky and gazing at the stars has no parallel. And that is the luxury that the Thar deserts provide. So, don’t miss the chance. Add star gazing in your list of things to do in Thar Desert Rajasthan.
Last but not the least, with whatever of the above activities you do, there is always chances for excellent photography. First of all the desert landscape is so different. Then there are some beautiful captures that you can try your hands on like the sunrise and sunsets I mentioned earlier. And the star filled skies. Plus the camels with the backdrops of the sand dunes. Or be it the traditionally dressed local men and women. You will find abundant opportunities for excellent photo shoots in the Thar Desert. So, put photography high on your list of things to do in Thar Desert Rajasthan and head there.
Some general tips on visiting the Thar Desert, Rajasthan
- The best time to go is between October to February. Since the temperature in the day sores really high March onwards. And tourist activities slow down, almost coming to a halt by end of March.
- It’s hot in the day and pretty cold at night. The temperature drops down to freezing levels in extreme winter days like late December and early January. So, carry adequate winter clothing for the night. And comfortable cotton wear for the days.
- Book your desert camp in advance, particularly if visiting in the main tourist season. Since they get booked pretty fast.
- The Thar Desert is easily accessible from Jaisalmer, Jodhpur and Bikaner. You can fly in to Delhi or Jaipur and then do a train or road journey to any of these towns. And then from there you can go to the deserts.
- Carry enough drinking water bottles with you, particularly if you plan to camp on your own. Since water is a luxury here. Also, having healthy snacks with you will help. Since there are very few shops along the highway in the desert. And mostly they sell packaged items.