Top 10 Things to do in Thar desert Rajasthan

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

Things to do in Thar Desert, Rajasthan

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!!

Dune bashing

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.

A folk musical performance in the desert

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.

Star Gazing

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.

Photography

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.

Top 10 things to do in the Thar Desert, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India | Desert Camp in Jaisalmer | Dune Bashing | Camel Safari

 

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36 Responses

  1. I am sure parasailing over the wide stretched sand dunes would be a wonderful experience. The other points mentioned also seem fascinating!

    • Thanks Umang! Each one of these are great activities to enjoy in the desert

  2. Thanks for sharing this amazing list of things to do in Thar desert. Desert camping in Jaisalmer is on my bucketlist and I had plans for a one day camp. I didn’t know there are so many things to do that one day won’t suffice. Thanks for letting me know this. We went for dune bashing in Dubai and I absolutely love this adrenaline rush activity. I would love to try that again in Thar desert. Also, I’m so much in love with the Rajasthani cultural activities. We went for a culture night in Bangore ki Havelli and the performances just swayed my heart. Since there are so many companies offering the camping options, I’m a little confused which one to select. Is there any particular you recommend?

    • You can look at their reviews on some sites like trip-advisor. And then select one based on your budget since these camps are in a wide range from economy to luxury. Also check what all they are offering as a part of the package and compare quotes from 2-3 different camps in your budget range

  3. Really appreciate this comprehensive list of things to do in the Thar desert. One of my favorite Rajasthani experiences was sleeping under the open skies staring up at the stars somewhere in the Thar off the city of Jaisalmer. Thank you for bringing back those memories.

  4. Want to do the ride over sand and do dune bashing when given chance! Photography also is wonderful here! Great shots there, liked the sunsets and the ruins most.

    • Thanks Ann. Definitely things that you shouldn’t miss when visiting a desert

  5. This is just the perfect list of things that I really wanna do. Its been in pipeline since long but somehow never got a chance to explore the dessert. But come winters I am definitely gonna head to Jaisalmer and experience these things. The sunset and sunrise especially excite me a lot, it becomes a photographers delight to be at such a place

    • You are right. This is a delightful part of the country and the weather in November through February is best suited to visit here.

  6. lovely detailed article enumerating on the various activities to be done and the tips for the same. Do the vehicle drivers permit the guests to also drive the vehicle 🙂

    • I don’t think Sumit they will let you take the risk of driving their vehicles. However, as I said in the post, you are welcome to drive your own vehicle through the desert.

  7. ryetalkstotheworld

    Hey, Neha! It was a wonderful article you wrote here. To be honest, I’d be content with watching sunsets, visiting ruins, and possibly whipping up spicy and aromatic Indian dishes in the middle of the desert with the help of a local. 🙂

    • Nice picks I must say. You will have a wonderful time with the pick of activities you mentioned

  8. Rajasthan is a lovely place and is on my next travel plan. Many of my freinds who went they have recommended the place. Lovely post about the things to do in Rajsthan. We made a similar post about the things to do in Mirissa, if you get the time do read it

    • Thats great Nathan. You can mail me the details and I will certainly go through them.

  9. Wow… that’s a happening desert! I loved dune bashing in Oman, it was so exciting! But parasailing? I told my friend how the desert kinda feels more like sea than land, and there you go! An SUV can pull you parasailing over it just like in the sea!

    • You are right. The place where you see desert today, there was a sea thousands of years back! So, its only natural that it feels like sea for you.

  10. I would love to experience everything that you mentioned. Living in a tropical country, it is definitely in my bucket list to visit another country – a bit different from where I’m from. I love the dune bashing and the idea that we can take photographs along every activity. If you follow my blog, you would discover that I’m a sucker for sunsets! Just you mentioning that and seeing how lovely the photo is made me even love to visit Thar desert Rajasthan. 🙂

    • Thanks Kris! If you love sunsets, believe me, the Thar Desert is one of the best places to experience the sunset for sure. And capture beautiful, stunning shots with the backdrop of that sunset.

  11. Wow, Mt. Abu Rajasthan is actually has long been penned on my bucket list, and reading your post about Thar dessert in Rajasthan made me more excited to come here. I love that you’ve posted a detailed guide on what to do and how to enjoy my stay in Rajasthan soon. With this post of yours, you made me really happy. I love that there are really interesting things to do here, and looking forward to experience them all, especially seeing those beautiful ruins and abandoned villages.

    • Thank you so much. Definitely Rajasthan is one place that has got so much to offer from the deserts of Jaisalmer to the hill station of Mount Abu. From the dry land of the west to the city of lakes Udaipur. And a shopper’s paradise on top of everything else. You will need ample time to cover all that Rajasthan has got to offer.

  12. shreyasaha1987

    I was really young maybe 14 years old when I went to Thar desert and your blog brought back all those memories. I stayed in the desert camp with parents, had a great time seeing the traditional dances in the night, loved the sunset and sunrise, but did not do parasailing. Thanks for bringing up those beautiful memories.

    • Great to know that. Lucky that you got to travel and experience so much at such an early age.

  13. Visiting a desert has always been on my list of must-do things. Your post inspires me to plan that long-pending visit right away! 🙂
    The Thar desert looks spell-binding!

  14. Thank you for sharing this delightful post about the Thar Desert of Rajasthan. I would love to do the parasailing over the desert!

  15. Jaisalmer is indeed a gateway to some amazing experiences. One of the things that we really enjoyed doing was dune bashing. It was a thrilling experience. The sunsets and sunrises are spectacular of course. Waking up in the midst of the desert is a truly remarkable experience.

    • Right. I totally fell in love with those sunsets and sunrises in the Thar Desert

  16. my eyes got caught by the parasailing activity!!! i have tried it several times but only in the beach!!! wow!!! i wonder how it feels to do it in the desert!! so for me, id definitely try it if i could!!!

  17. It is in my bucket list to camp in a desert and to do dune bashing. I just think they are unique experiences worth trying. Oh yeah, I’d love to ride the camels too, I just wish they are being treated right in that place unlike the elephants in Thailand. I thought at first that this is somewhere in the middle east, at least now if I want to experience desert, I don’t have to go that far and just fly to India. I figured the water would be hard to come by there, good thing you mentioned bringing a good supply of it in this post.

    • Sure Marge, you can very much come to India and have that lovely experience of camping and parasailing in the desert. You need not worry about the water if you are staying with a resort who have well maintained desert camps in the Thar Desert. Only when you are going out, you can carry a bottle or so.

  18. I’m with you on your original thoughts about deserts. I honestly thought the same way until I read your post. It’s nice to be educated about these things. I might consider researching desert destinations.

    • Thanks Drew. Totally agree, the more you read and research, the more you gain the knowledge.

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