While in Jaisalmer, in the Thar Desert in NW Rajasthan, we are going on a famous tourist activity, riding on a camel in the desert to watch the sunset. We have enjoyed our time in Jaisalmer, as shown in this post about the city and fort, and this post about the fabulous Jain temples.
We started to drive into the desert to where the camels are. The first thing we noticed were some people doing a bit of adventure tourist fun, riding above the desert on a parachute.
It was being pulled by the jeep, in the lower right of the photo. Look closely and you will notice a couple of camels passing the jeep.
Before long we arrived to where we were going to ride camels. There are a lot of camels here!
We were introduced to our camel driver.
And climbed aboard one of the camels. So far so good.
Then the easy time ended when the camel got up. First he stood on his front legs. We were at about a 45 degree angle. Carol could hold onto the front of the saddle and there were cloth loops that acted like stirrups. I had no such secure hold, and after pulling Carol into a river in Nepal while elephant bathing (see this post), I was concerned about falling off the camel and pulling her off too. So I could not hold on to her. I reached down and found some part of the saddle I could hold to. We were OK so far. The camel went up on his back legs, moving us to 45 degrees the other way, then got fully to his feet. We were on our way.
This is what it looks like when you are riding a camel.
We rode along. The camel was swaying as he walked. This still didn’t feel very secure to me. I could hold on some by gripping the camel sides with my knees.
While we were riding with this insecurity, boys rode by the other way, their camels at a gallop. They were not in the least uncomfortable riding camels.
Some people went to the sunset viewing in carts, pulled by a camel. The girl got to ride the camel while everyone else sat in the cart.
Our camel driver took this photo of us. He was being helpful, probably to get a better tip at the end.
As soon as we got off the camel we were approached by entertainers. These girls were singing and clapping their hands.
While another woman, older, danced for us. I bet she was the mother, and these were her two girls.
Flute players came too, and gave us a short concert.
Here is a short video so you can get a sense of the music.
This musician seems aged by years in the hot desert sun.
Scenes we saw reminded us of desert fantasies, like the camels on the horizon. Imagine during the days of the Silk Road trading, maybe there would be 200 camels in the caravan.
I my mind I imagined being the desert by ourselves, experiencing the wonders of the desert with just the two of us. I had not counted on hundreds of others being in the desert with us, doing the same thing. The desert is pretty big, though, so we were not crowded together.
Our camel knows how to rest white waiting.
Another desert scene, a man walking away from us, over the sand dunes.
More people join us, coming in on camels, each one led by their handler.
These camel guides also know how to rest while they wait.
I like this photo of the woman between the two camels.
The sun starts setting. I got a view through the camel’s saddle.
The sky grows redder as the sun gets lower.
It is almost ready to drop behind the horizon. (It looks higher above the horizon because of the close-up photo.)
Then the sun is gone for the day.
Driving back into town we see the Golden Fort of Jaisalmer, lit by floodlights. Nice, I like it.
The walls rise high above us.
What a picturesque sight!
I am glad that we took this ride, but I was uncomfortable enough that I probably won’t do it again. I would certainly recommend it to anyone who comes to Jaisalmer, though.
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Rajasthan: Jaipur Amber Fort
Rajasthan: The Jantar Mantar in Jaipur
Jaipur: Monkey Temple, Fort and Royal Crematorium
Rajasthan: Mandawa—Havelis and Mughal Art
Rajasthan: Bikaner and Junagarh Fort
Rajasthan: Karni Mata and the Rat Temple
Rajasthan: Jaisalmer, The Golden City
Rajasthan: Jain Temples in Jaisalmer Fort