A 5 nights 6 days road trip to Jodhpur and Jaiselmer
So, the mind was made to leave for a 4 day vacation in the last week of December. Out of the popular destinations, Rajasthan was the choice due to its sheer advantage of weather in winter season. Finally, we decided to visit Jaiselmer over Mount Abu and to start the journey on 5th of Jan i.e. Wednesday afternoon.
So, we started the journey to Jaipur and planned to stay somewhere on the way to Jodhpur to cover as much distance as possible. The Idea was to break the journey in such a way that we don’t travel as less as possible during the day. But the destiny had something else. Marred with the “Farmer protest” against the three agri laws, our way had 2 detours from the highway. By the second detour, Neeraj took on the wheel. This was the very moment that the rough route started to appear. This detour took us around 1 and a half hour to reach back on the highway through some narrow village roads.
Taking the first break of the journey we seriously contemplated going back home but the idea got junked by the excitement of the kids. We were also advised by a confidante to take a detour to avoid the mandatory detours on the highway, meeting the highway at behraur. Priyanka was consistently believing in Subhash’s (the confidante) good mind but the others in the pack ignoring the warning thinking like the character in Khichdi (the comedy serial) “Hansa! Main Hun Na”. Post the resurgence on highway, the intelligent men of the pack did not want to talk about their intelligence failure and hiding themselves by stressing on having dinner at the lonely restaurant like “kuch nahi hua”. The bad road was covered by Neeraj and then the highway was driven by me till our next halt.
Take away is that carefully considering the route, while discussing the routes with those who travel often.
So, we reached Jaipur outskirts by 11 pm and got some good deal on MMT for this Golden Eagle Hotel on Ajmer Road with 900/night.
It was a nice modern room with facilities and cleanliness. The only negative point of the hotel was of a temporary nature, which was some liquor party at the hotel due to which there was a lot of ruckus and noise. Overall, the hotel was 5 star in that price. When Sugam saw the TV not starting and the remote was not having any battery, he shouted “Inhoney humein loot lia, itna paisa le liya”. A comment like this coming from a 7 year old child made us laugh out loud. Good lord! The hotel guy rushed with the batteries in both the remotes at the earliest.
We ate our own food that we got from home and had a good night sleep. We targeted to depart for Jodhpur by 9:30 am and we did it. Thought of having breakfast on the way, we started the journey. The beautiful toll road made us breeze through the Ajmer by-pass and Kishangarh. Mystically, the next point that we stopped at for freshen up got us awestruck with its beautiful fort type look called “Garh Girwar”. It had some place to stay also. With an outlet outside the property, sumptuous snacks with superb pricing like 20/idly and 30/sandwich. I would strongly recommend it.
So, we reached Jodhpur with a very comfortable drive on the Jaipur Jodhpur highway by around 3 to Mehrangarh fort. The fort showcases royal belongings of the Royal family of Jodhpur. As usual, the grandeur and the beauty of the fort give some picturesque scenes to your shutter machine.
After some catching up with all the scenic points in the fort, we directed our steering to the beautiful guest house that we booked for our night at Jodhpur. It was called Mandore guest house near Mandore Railway station and Mandore Garden in Jodhpur. It was not just meant to be only a lodge to stay and sleep; rather it was a nice stay with huts and lot of greenery maintained by the very hardworking staff and the owner dedicating himself to the comfort and experience of the tourists. They had a small swimming pool, which of course must have been for the warmer times. Our weather in the night was very cold: must have been around 4 or 5 degree in the morning. We clicked lot of photographs as we were the only group in the property for the night. Had a comfortable night. Slept in nicely done circular rooms with TV, electric kettle and huge washroom.
Morning was all the more beautiful and pleasant. Played with their Labrador “Bunny” and clicked some photos before having breakfast on demand (included in the package of 2400/night). A nice meal to start our journey to the final destination “Jaisalmer”. We started and drove at a decent speed towards the border city. In between, Nidhi also took the wheel and experienced 120 on the speedometer before handing it over to me after entering Jaisalmer. We went past the historical nuclear site of India, Pokharan. We were supposed to go past the city of Jaisalmer to the sand dunes village name “sam” (pronounced sum). So, we reached the luxurious tents of our camp site named “Heritage Juma Resort”. It offered us 1200/person (actually per person angle came to light when we reached the camp) with Jeep safari (a small one), Camel Safari, cultural programme at the camp, light snacks (like only one plate pakodas with a cup of tea), Dinner (not very exotic buffet but with lot of oil in gattey, ker sangri, daal baati churma and Rice and rotis) and breakfast (with poha and poori aalu and tea). Since we were visiting for the first time it didn’t give us any chance to explore the competition and locations. But now we are very much equipped with information and understanding the modus operandi of them. We could have gone to a better location but it seems not much could have been done towards the food part.
Anyways, so after a cup of tea, “Raju” (our agent, contact 9549462050) took us for the Jeep safari and assured us that it is ok with the kids too. I am sure they have been very confident about their driving but it didn’t seem cool to us. The idea of taking kids to the bumpy ride didn’t seem to be safe. Anyway, they also enjoyed the drive on the sand dunes on the open Jeep. He offered us additional jeep safari (he told us that there will be 3 deserts he is going to take us if he is paid additional) for 700 per family for 3 desert. But he after crossing 2 deserts denied there is any other desert there or he ever mentioned 3 deserts. Most of the tourists get confused with what is committed and what is being delivered. But that is the way of business in most parts of the tourism pockets in the country.
There were lot of groups throughout the jeep safari path doing all sorts of activities like parasailing and camel safaris. We were left at the sand dunes after having some rugged Jeep safari and some random clicks. Then we had camel ride with the handlers very polite initially. I used “initially” because after we refused their one of the camel competitions (Nidhi and Priyanka did camel racing competition with 250/person) they started rushing the whole ride and were very rude too. I feel that is the way they earn but disrespecting your clients is never cool. So, when they left us we clicked some cool typical pics in desert waiting for Sunset pics. As the time came, we captured the Sun going down in the far west.
It was a 10 mins drive back from the road to our camp. We were welcomed by someone dressed in typical Rajasthani dress (not sure about the lady or the gentleman disguised in a lady dress). We waited for around half an hour to receive the call to attend the cultural programme. The place was well set with the seating arrangement all around. There was one main singer (I believe he was the main coordinator of the cultural programme) and he sang really well. The performers were also good. During the performance we were served a small plate of pakoda and a cup of tea. It was good but was not enough. We were just eagerly waiting for the announcement for Dinner but the wait seems endless. Suddenly, Neeraj came back from buying some chips for Sugam and Jia and declared that the buffet is about to be ready and we must move at the dining hall. Apparently, we were the first ones to start dinner and had a very comfortable meal and no standing in lines.
The night was pleasant, with Raju providing us some extra blanket considering the Kids in the pack. We had a good night sleep again. The morning was foggy. With plan to go to war museum at Longewala and Tanot Mata Mandir, we quickly had our breakfast ( normal) and left the camp. The road was awesome and reminded me of the roads in Ladakh. Very beautiful surroundings. We stopped in between and got ourselves clicked. It was a nice drive to Longewala with a toll road. It seems to be an outdoor museum as the tanks, jeep mounted big guns and other defence equipments acquired during the war in 1971 at Longewala (remember Border movie). We could have seen a 17 mins movie that they show case but there was some more time to wait for the show and all we were short of is “the time”. So, after taking the proof of our presence at the place we set out on our journey to Tanot Mata Mandir, which was half an hour from the museum. It was again a beautiful small mandir. There were some bombs shells (literally) lodged at the temple but didn’t explode. That is the main attraction of this place. We had some maggi and tea at the stalls outside the temple.
Time to return to Jaisalmer city where we were supposed to stay for the night. This time Neeraj grabbed the wheel . The way to Jaisalmer city was not the same. It was supposed to be the shortest way to the city but not as smooth as we came from. So, this proved to be a difficult drive for Neeraj. As this was the second time that Neeraj took the driver’s seat and the same drive awaited him as was there in his first drive during the detour through the narrow roads of the village at the beginning while going to Jaipur. I felt as if the dialogue of Javed Jafri from the movie Dhamaal came true i.e. “Pata Nahi Aisey Difficult Time Pe Main Apney Aap Hi Aagey Kaisey Aaa Jaata Hun”. We all laughed merrily at the thought.
Nevertheless, without enjoying the drive Neeraj yet made sure that we should not feel uncomfortable. We reached Jaisalmer City in around 2 hrs. Not knowing where to stay for the night (but confident of finding a good place during Covid times) we headed straight to the Gadisar lake. A beautiful peaceful lake with not many visitors at that time. We took the boat ride for Rs.600 for our group of six. The Sun was going down with its rays making a wavy background and some construction in the middle of the lake. The boatman made some crisp angles to help our struggling group with nice clicks. Nidhi and Priyanka were keen on having the signature Mirchi pakoda in the city. So, after coming out of the lake we got some clue about the whereabouts of the good pakoda point and after a long walk inside the old part of the city, we reached next to one of the Gates of Jaisalmer fort and sat at a sweet shop “New Chandan Sweets” that served us some good pakodas and tea. Post this, we had the famous gol gappe with 5 different types of taste of water. The ladies then tried to catch up with some local shopping from one of the cloth shops while returning to the car. It took us a while to finally consolidate and pay but fortunately, we found one of the Hotel owner whose property was inside Jaisalmer fort (Mud Mirror) referred by the shop owner. After looking at the pics, I and Neeraj felt it was too good to believe because we could see that the Sun rise can be seen directly from the window of the room. That was why we tried seeing one more hotel outside the fort (Swan) but luckily they were not having the required 2 rooms on the same floor (but we really liked the place), so we thought to give Mud Mirror a try. When we reached the hotel, we felt completely confident on the decision we took.
Both the rooms were made a little differently but very beautifully and cosy. The location was next to the Jain temple. We could fathom its perfect location and the scenic window only in the morning.
Neeraj was so engrossed with the idea of capturing rising sun that he clicked Priyanka literally from the back of her head and also Nidhi with her pale looks inside the room. It only came to the fore when the ladies started seeing the photographs while on the way to Jaipur that the shutter bug was least bothered about the person in the photo and wanted to capture the momentous sun rise.
It was a scene no one wanted to miss. The windows were showing us the horizon from the top of the fort. And their rooftop dining hall / restaurant showed us the full glimpse of the Sun Rise scene on a clear morning without any fog.
We paid 1200/room only. It was a memorable stay there. When we were wondering how come the world heritage site can house so many hotels and homes, Surya and Lala (the owners of the Mud Mirror) told us that the people who are staying inside the fort were actually 13-14th generation of the court men, who served the King back then. They were then given the ownership of the place they were staying at that time. And only a few years back the tourism started flourishing inside the fort and that is how many future generations came back and opened their hotels or guest houses to earn their good living. This fort is considered to the living fort as around 5000 people stay there.
Now this day of travel from Jodhpur to Jaipur was very crucial because we had to drive around 10-11 hours. And it culminated as the worst decision of the trip. We followed the fastest route showed by Google maps rather than taking the same Jodhpur Jaipur highway. So, we took the route Jaisalmer-Falaudi-Nagaur-Jobner-Jaipur. Coming back from Jaisalmer, taking a turn from Pokharan towards Falaudi and then towards Nagaur. This was off the highway and takes you through some village roads (although good roads but not as comfortable as the highway). I would not recommend this route for coming back to Jaipur. It took us 11 hrs to reach Jaipur with just a quick break for tea for others and lunch for me. We stayed back at the tried and tested hotel “Golden Eagle by Keshav” at the outskirts of Jaipur. At 11:30 pm we had a finger-licking Dinner. Next morning was the conclusive day of our 5nights 6days trip. We reached the Bapu Bazaar and Johari Bazaar at 11:30 am. We shopped some Jaipuri stuff and had some very expensive food at the Johari Bazaar. We started for Gurgaon at around 4 pm and due to the detours we reached home in Gurgaon at 11:30 pm via Rewari.
The trip concluded with dinner at home and Neeraj, Priyanka and Sugam leaving for their home in Vaishali.
This beautiful memory went down in our memory for rest of our lives.
Lot of take aways but ready for the next trip…..May be Udaipur Mount Abu