Travel Guide to One of The Most Beautiful Deserts in India – Thar Desert
Think Rajasthan and the picture that comes to mind is the royalties of old, majestic palaces and the vast Rajasthan desert scenery. The Thar Desert covers a vast expanse in the state (almost 5% of India’s entire landmass). Naturally, this place is home to vibrant cultures, colourful villages, and various things to see and do.
We decided to open our travel diaries and put together our notes to give you a comprehensive guide to the Thar Desert in Rajasthan.
Best Time to Visit Thar Desert
The best time to visit the Thar Desert is between March and October when the weather is relatively pleasant. During the summer months, it becomes unbearably hot.
How to Reach
The Thar Desert in Rajasthan is an effortless destination to navigate. This is because the Gateway to the Desert, i.e. Jaisalmer is easily accessible via Rail, Road and Air.
- Air: The nearest airport is in Jaisalmer though it’s mainly used as a military airport. The second-nearest airport (with regular flights) is in Jodhpur.
- Rail: The nearest railway station is in Jaisalmer. You can catch a train from anywhere in the country to this station.
- Road: There are plenty of ways to travel from Jaisalmer and other cities to the Thar Desert in India, including buses, taxis, private vehicles and more.
Tip: During the peak season, hotels and private tours tend to sell out very quickly. Book them before you start your trip with your digibank by DBS debit card to avail exclusive discounts.
What to See Near Thar Desert
1. Jaisalmer Fort
The Jaisalmer Fort or Sonar Quila is a massive fort built from yellow sandstone. Remember to keep at least a day aside to explore the impressive architecture. It houses the Raj Mahal Palace, 7 Jain Temples, the Laxminath temple and many Merchant Havelis.
2. Desert National Park
In Jaisalmer, the Desert National Park offers a glimpse of the perfect desert ecosystem with craggy rocks, dunes, cacti & thorny bushes and compact salt lake bottoms. It is one of the largest National Parks in India. This National Park is home to various local and migratory birds including the endangered, Great Indian Bustard. Animals that live here include the Bengal Fox, Gazelles, Blackbuck and Caracal Cats.
3. Jaisalmer Desert Festival
The Jaisalmer Desert Festival showcases the best of Rajasthan over three days. From local performers showcasing Rajasthani art and dance performances to competitions like fire dancing, turban tying, Mr and Mrs Desert and others, there’s never a dull moment. Beautifully decked-up Camels participating in the Camel races make for a great watch. The festival ends on a full-moon night with traditional folk music and the Rajasthan desert landscape in the background. This festival is held in February.
What to Do
1. Enjoy Shopping
You haven’t been to Rajasthan if you’ve not picked a few handmade souvenirs on the way. From puppets to Rajasthani textiles and from elaborate jootis to sandstone showpieces, the shopper in you is going to be spoilt for choice.
2. Go on a Camel/Jeep Safari
Travelling across the desert is a unique experience in itself. Explore the dunes in a Jeep. If you’re a little more adventurous, try the Camel Safari. This usually lasts for a few hours with two riders on one Camel.
Tip: While there will be multiple owners offering Camel rides, make sure that you book a legit one. It’s generally safer if you’re travelling alone and these operators make sure that the Camels are treated well.
3. Sleep under the Stars
Imagine the vast expanse of the desert landscape with the surreal beauty of a starry night. That and sitting by a campfire are what make camping in this desert in Rajasthan worth spending the night here.
Tip: While deserts are generally imagined to be hot, in actuality the temperatures tend to plunge to below 10OC at the nights. If spending the night outdoors, wear clothes that’ll keep you warm.
4. Try Some Authentic Rajasthani Cuisine
Nothing speaks volumes about the essence of a place than its cuisine. In this desert of Rajasthan, you have to try the Mirchi Vada, Lauki Ke Kofte, Kicha ki sabzi, Pyaaz Kachori and the unforgettably delicious Ghotua Ladoo.
5. Other Off-Beat Things to Do
If you have the time, there are several other things to do here. Enjoy a boat ride on the Gadisar Lake, an artificial reservoir constructed in 1367 by Maharawal Gadsi Singh. You can even take a trip to the nearby folklore museum. Take a look at the breath-taking desert scenery while parasailing. Are you looking to go off-roading? Book a quad-bike or SUV and hit the dunes.
Where to Stay
Desert Palace, Jaisalmer
If you’re visiting the land of palaces, why not live like a king (or queen)? The Desert Palace in Jaisalmer is a luxury resort designed to depict the elegance and grandeur of the eras gone by. It offers a great view of the Thar Desert and is located near most sight-seeing locations.
So, are you ready for an adventure of a lifetime? Book your tickets to the Thar Desert in Rajasthan with your digibank by DBS debit card today.