The rich culture and well-preserved heritage of Rajasthan state in India have enticed tourists and travelers for ages. One does not have to visit the forts and the museums to experience the colors of this wonderful ‘Land of Kings’. The quintessential Rajasthan can be best explored on a road trip zooming through the cities and villages of the state. The favorite part of our road trip in Rajasthan was from golden city of Jaisalmer to the blue city of Jodhpur.
Our stay at the desert camps in Jaisalmer was a splendid experience. The famed sunset over the Sam sand dunes followed by folk programs and authentic Rajasthani dinner the previous evening had left us in rapt. And here we were at the break of dawn bidding adieu to the mystical golden expanse of the desert land all set for our next destination Jodhpur.
The land was uninhabited as far as our eyes could see. We came across several herds of sheep grazing on this arid land on their own with no herdsmen in sight which made us wonder how far the herds would they have traveled in search of the pasture.
The tarred road stretched for miles and miles through the wide expanse of barren land which was mostly dry if not for the few thorny thickets. The idea of being nowhere is sometimes strange and so different from the chaotic city we come from. The occasional small huts in the midst of the deserted land pique a curiosity on how difficult it should be to earn a livelihood in this land.
The unexpected wildlife sightings amidst the groves added to the thrill of the road trip we were all eyes to spot more of them camouflaged in the bushes. The rustic rural life, desert terrain, and the wildlife are a significant part of the quintessential Rajasthani experience.
We stopped by a herd of camels to take some pictures. The camels seemed to enjoy posing for the pictures, there were baby camels, young camels and older ones too. The herdsman offered us camel milk which is said to be very healthy and nutritious.
Agriculture in this parched land is very difficult. And a scene like this of farmers cultivating the land and sowing the winter crops is very rare to find.
Tanot Mata Temple
Tanot Mata Temple in the small village of Tanot was the first stop of our road trip. The temple enshrining Tanot Mata is close to the Longewala the battle site of 1971 Indo-Pakistani War and the infamous India-Pakistan border.
The temple is managed and maintained by the BSF soldiers due to security reasons. The temple is said to have great powers and is known for the miracles protecting the area during the wars of 1965 and 1971. It is said that out of 3000 bombs dropped on the temple during the 1965 Indo-Pakistani War none exploded. One can find the unexploded shells of bombs displayed in the temple.
We were smitten by the amazing stories of powers of the temple and enjoyed chit chatting the same with the people at the tea stall outside the temple.Tanot is a small village with a small population of around 500. The village is surrounded by miles of arid desert and sand dunes and main occupation of the villagers is farming.
The people at the tea stall on seeing that we were impressed by the Tanot Mata Temple insisted us to make a visit to the Longewala battle site which wasn’t on our list. The village Longewala is the battle site for the 1971 Indo-Pak war. The first sight was massive tanks marked with the Pakistan flags. These tanks are said to be captured during the war. The site spoke of numerous stories of valor and bravery of our fallen soldiers of the war while the tricolor fluttered with pride high above.
There are numerous monuments commemorating the fallen soldiers with names and description of their contribution towards the warfare. The battle site also plays a short video on the preparations, happenings of the war with clips of the popular Bollywood movie Border which is based on the 1971 Indo-Pak war fought here.
We were so lost in the stories of valor of our soldiers in the war museums and the battle site that we completely forgot about getting to the next destination before sunset. We were back on road after a quick lunch. We took a deviation some couple of km before entering the Pokhran city which is known for serving as the test site for India’s first underground nuclear weapon detonation. A 14th-century Pokhran fort standing in the midst of the desert and several imposing Havelis are major sightseeing places in Pokhran
The diversions and the traffic owing to road repairs got us to the village of Khichan right at the sunset but unfortunately, the birds had already flown off. We did spot flocks of them high in the sky but in vain. Nevertheless, we have some great shots here shared by our blogger friend Shubham. Do read his post on the wonderful Havelis of Khichan which are definitely unmissable when you visit Khichan in search of these ethereal birds.
Our last stop of the day was the ancient town of Osian in Jodhpur city of Rajasthan which is popularly known as the ‘Khajuraho of Rajasthan’. Osian town is famous for ancient Jain and Hindu temples. The most prominent of temples is the Sachiya Mata Temple dating back to the 8th century. The temple situated on a hill can be reached by a flight of steps through the exquisitely carved arches.
We reached our destination Jodhpur by dinner time. We were exhausted and hungry but thanks to our host at the Blue House, our accommodation in Jodhpur who had hot tasty Rajasthani thali ready for the dinner. We devoured on delicious meals and called it a day.
Have you been on a road trip in Rajasthan? Do share your experience with us.
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