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IN PICS: Dune-bashing in Rajasthan

Last updated on: November 9, 2012 13:14 IST

IN PICS: Dune-bashing in Rajasthan

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Dilshad Master-Kumar, Co-Founder Farinto.com went dune-bashing in Rajasthan and returned with these memories.

As I come close to the edge of the dune, my instructor yells: "Rev that engine! Press the accelerator!" And just as the car looms over the huge dune, I let it ride. If I press the brakes I'll be in deep trouble -- literally, and my friends and I would probably spend the next two hours digging ourselves out of it.

Dune bashing in Rajasthan is a great December vacation option - the sense of freedom I get behind that 4x4 wheel is simply matchless! We usually arrive in Jodphur in the morning, do the regular touristy bit and then start bashing the dunes after an overnight stay at Osian -- an oasis in the Thar desert about 65 km north of Jodhpur.

The word 'dunes' throw up this vision of unending crescents of sand mounds, but in the Thar there are an equal number of bushes and brambles that swe have to plough our way through before we actually hit the big dunes.

The SUVs gets a really good run down and I often warn my friends: 'if you've bought the 4x4 to show off and not actually use it, keep it parked in the garage and don't bring it out here!'

Jodhpur itself is an intriguing city and since I tend to identify every place I visit with the food I eat there, I dig in to the dal batti churma the moment I arrive! Right there, in the heart of Rajasthan, this dish tastes quite different from the local Rajasthani restaurant in your city.

Want to share your travel story and pictures? Simply write in to getahead@rediff.co.in (subject line: 'My Travel Story'), along with pictures of the destination you're writing about. We'll publish the best ones right here on rediff.com and India Abroad!


Image: Bashing the last of the dunes before we head home to a warm bath
Photographs: Dilshad Master-Kumar

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The churma part is my personal favourite and that sweet flavour of jaggery-ghee combo lingers long after you've licked it off your fingers! Jodhpur is also the city of forts and palaces, so we plan on what we're going to visit well in advance, else by the end of the day, we will really be "forted out"!

The Mehrangarh Fort is on the top of my list -- built across five kilometres, it stands 400 feet above the city level and its palaces have some of the most intricate carvings and expansive courtyards, with mirrored walls and artwork that has stood the test of time. It's breathtaking enough and to think that all of this was built between the 15th and 16th century, simply boggles the mind.


Image: Mehrangarh Fort at Jodhpur
Photographs: Dilshad Master

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IN PICS: Dune-bashing in Rajasthan

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Once the touristy bit is done on day one, we head to our Osian home by evening. We're staying at the Thar Camp, an old village home with a huge central open courtyard and bedrooms all around. The bonfire is lit and Mother Nature does her bit by lighting up the sky with millions of sparkles you'd never get to see in the city!

The aroma of hot rotis on the tawa pervades the courtyard and the laal maas for dinner completes the picture perfect night as far as I am concerned!


Image: Friendly villagers helping us get out of the hole we dug ourselves in!
Photographs: Dilshad Master

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We head out early the next morning, it can get quite warm during the day, even in December, and we want to get some dune bashing under our wheels before they day wears on.

It's Chinkara country, and this Indian Gazelle crosses your path -- beautiful, delicate and fearless -- when you least expect it.  We stop often to peer at these gentle creatures, who gaze back at us with equal curiosity from behind the bushes. Less than an hour of driving and we've hit the big dunes. Dune bashing is an art and just because you know how to drive, there are no guarantees that you won't dig yourself into a deep hole.

As you come up the crescent you need to be, well, fearless... that's the only word I can think of. For amateurs like me, the rule is simple -- rev that accelerator like your life depends on it and no matter what happens, don't press the brakes. As you come to the edge of the crescent, just let the car slide down nice and easy. It's exhilarating enough already. The wheelies, the unending circuits and all that sand being thrown around -- leave that to the pros!

Top five recommendations for first-timers: Take a lot of snacking stuff like bread, baked bean tins, cold cuts, chips -- the desert can make you quite hungry and besides, that's your lunch while you're out bashing the dunes. Flasks of hot chai are a good idea too, the evenings can get chilly; plan for two pairs of clothes every day -- you'll want to get all that sand off you the moment you come back to a warm bath; drink a lot of water while you're in the desert even if you don't feel thirsty; last but not the least, don't hesitate to take the kids along. There's not a single 8 year-old I've seen who doesn't enjoy a day at the dunes!

Want to share your travel story and pictures? Simply write in to getahead@rediff.co.in (subject line: 'My Travel Story'), along with pictures of the destination you're writing about. We'll publish the best ones right here on rediff.com and India Abroad!


Image: Protected by the Bishnois - the Chinkara beautiful, delicate and fearless
Photographs: Dilshad Master

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