Jaisalmer : Sam Sand Dunes To Unexplored Dhanana!
If you have followed Travomance you know our posts aren’t merely factual – a small anecdote, a dreamy recall or a blurry reminiscence is sure to be a part of all our stories. We love to hear as much as we love to share, my soul’s truest mate put this out in the best way possible – Your stories will not only help travellers in planning but also inspire people to travel!
So on that happy note my dear readers, sharing a thrilling piece of our journeys!
Rajasthan, a place really close to our hearts as our professional journeys took an upswing here, mine with ICICI Bank and Kingshuk’s, with hospitality. Here, some of the finest friendships were formed as people with warmest of hearts live here and this is the place I started living alone, for the first time at the age of 21 – Experienced being Solo! Change in jobs, vertical growth, getting married and we experienced life in various cities of different states before moving to Pune, Maharashtra. Its been a dozen years, here, we totally love the city but there’s something captivating about Rajasthan, its intriguing and glorious past (again stories, you see), its hospitality, its meethi boliyan that a traveller so cherishes. Since 2006 we have taken 2 road trips to the state ex Pune, come winter and our hearts starts responding to “Morni Baaga Maa” notes, the urge to recreate memories come alive!
Snippets on how we plan
Jaisalmer was done once before, a factor that never dampens our spirits and we have our exploratory streak to thank for this – something that helps us to rediscover a place, in a totally new avatar each time. Destination selection, recce of in and around places are my babies while Kingshuk is superb with roads, maps and basically everything boring but what I sheepishly admit, the nerve centre for any successful trip. His impeccable road planning coupled with sharp navigation skills and exciting stopovers are factors that help us get much more out of our journeys. We are somewhat challenged in planning a trip in isolation, he has the map on-screen while I am surfing through blogs, our complementing traits are mostly the reason we travel the way we do, also the biggest hindrance in popping up surprise trips for one another on special occasions. We can mind read when the other is thinking Trips and Travels 😉
How a usual 2 day work trip of hurrying and scurrying into flights hotels and offices got extended into a full on 9 day Road trip zooming through 4000 odd kilometres, traversing through 3 states (Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan) remains one of the best travel memories of Travomance Trio, sharing a slice on this post!
Reaching Sam Sand Dunes
Exciting stuff on what we discovered in the Golden City, Jaisalmer will follow soon, in a synopsis we spend 2 days at Udaipur with business meetings and in leisure before heading out to Sam desert, 548 kilometres away, a journey we covered in 11 hours with 2 breaks on a day that happened to be my birthday. Most memorable one as started the day with sun rise at Ranakpur ( a quaint village famous for the most spectacular Jain temples ) and sunset at Sam Sand dunes.
Confessions of a travel drugged – Solitaires, Swarovskis, Bugattis definitely make my eyes gleam but it fades unlike rhapsodies of a new place, where the twinkle lasts forever! Reached Sam around sunset and checked into Prince desert camp, midst the desert where one can see sand dunes from the tents. Highly reviewed by fellow travellers we chose this camp due to its secluded location, excellent rating on cleanliness, prompt service and extreme hospitable hosts, parameters that make a trip memorable. After a quick check in, without wasting a second we headed out for camel safari in to the dunes. My notion of desert was a bit distorted, I learnt that day. To me desert was dunes and that was very exciting as a traveller whereas in actual, desert is a barren land not conducive to plant or animal life so I must confess I wasn’t as excited at the sight of more desert and fewer dunes. As if sensing my disappointment the owner of our camel tried to keep us entertained with his quick-witted humour, till he plonked the camel where we alighted and enjoyed our sand play. Nature brings out the child in all of us, whether waves that make us squeal or the golden soft sand, that Anaya and I walked, raced, galloped and glided merrily on while Kingshuk clicked some amazing shots for us, and now for you to feast on!
At sundown, the camp organised folk songs and dances by local artists where I quenched my Morni Baaga Maa desire, super pleased on my birthday. Dinner spread was exciting and authentic – Dal Bhati Churma, Ker Sangri, Millet Bread, Spicy Lahsun Chutney, Laal Maas, Gatta and many such Marwar delicacies. I also cut the birthday cake here with other guests, bikers from Melbourne, who with their intriguing tales left us even more inspired. As we moseyed to our tents, the stimulating conversation with the bikers, melody emanating from distant camps, clear night sky with blazing stars and lyrics of Don Mc Lean’s Starry Starry Night played softly in my mind.
Don’t stop at Sam – Drive away to Dhanana
The next day was a city tour of Jaisalmer that concluded by lunch time, bit drowsy after being on the roads for the last 5 consecutive days we decide to take a catnap to get some extra energy for the lined up jeep safari at sundown. Just before our Scorpio was about to take a turn towards Prince Camps our eyes fell on a milestone that read Dhanana 35kms, our notion of Sam, the endpoint was proved untrue and our curiosity paved through. Almost at the last second we gave the right turn to comfort a miss and zoooomed in search of DHANANA, bang in the middle of an afternoon that could have been well spent in the cozy confines of the tent only to quench our thirst for exploration and may be fulfill my desire of seeing limitless dunes. A drive that we will never forget for as long as we live, hadn’t discovered something so exciting till this warm winter of February, felt like a gold digger totally!
An unending drive to no man’s land, not a single vehicle or human in sight on the entire stretch, just a few interspersed Pathani encampments, 35 kilometres of uninterrupted dunes with soft as silk sand, it was exactly as I had envisaged through books and movies, with invisible wells and oases. We reached a point where road converged with sand and made driving, challenging and our off-road beast with Kingshuk behind the wheels came to rescue. The dream drive was snapped by a Border Security Force Post as we realised we have come a bit too far, reached the forbidden, with Pakistan just few kilometres away. Take a U-turn, you’ve reached the end point for civilians they told us politely and we returned with one of life’s best experience – looking up for destinations on google and reaching is something but to follow a milestone blindly and stumble upon a place which even Google can’t pop up is a kick I can’t explain, something one can only relate if experienced.
It’s close to 2 years that we did this trip and I often wonder, if we were to do Sam again will we make it to Dhanana or checkposts have been planted after few madcaps like us ventured, a bit too far! I havent seen Dhanana on any blog, infact google pops up Haryana’s Dhanana unless you specify Dhanana Rajasthan!
If you’ve been to Sam Sand Dunes, do share what did you enjoy the most and if you are likely to go soon, please give Dhanana a shot. I promise you will come back THRILLED.
We shall wait to hear from you, as always!