Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Night in Khuri Sand Dunes - Royal Rajputana Rhapsody - Day 2


After the sun set, we continued our journey towards Khuri village. It was quarter to seven in the evening. In another 30 odd minutes, we were stopped by a guy who waved at us outside the Khuri village. He was the guy from the ‘Mangalam Resort’ where we had decided to spend our evening and most probably, the night also. Khuri is one undiscovered gem near Jaisalmer and makes it a better destination than it’s cousin - commercial, crowded and noisy Sam dunes.
Mangalam Resort, Khuri, Jaisalmer
Our car made way through the village and all I was praying was to have our accommodation in the outskirts of this village and not in the village. We frankly speaking, had no idea about how exciting time was just ahead of us. In no time, we reached the Mangalam Resort. We tried meekly to negotiate with Jeetu, the soft spoken guy at Mangalam who was firm on the charges but assured that we would not be overcharged. I bought his words and from the next morning onwards I had reaping the profits till date, of the experience. J

Mangalam had a huge courtyard and bonfire was lit in the middle of it. The Indian sitting arrangements around it already had been occupied by other guests and we were the last couple to enter the premises. We settled at our place and were provided with some tasty Indian munchies.

The Fire Dancer at Mangalam Resort
The folk singers started their performance. The songs like ‘Kesariya Balam’ and ‘Nimbuda’ were familiar. In fact, since we were the only Indian couple amongst guests, the artists interweaved our names as the protagonists in few songs which were all about love. This was probably the best wedding anniversary we had till date. We danced and sang with them and so did our European friends. We simply had a gala time that evening. After burning few calories, it was the time to dig our teeth in the sumptuous Marwari food affair. The fresh ‘ker sangari’ along with rotlas was indeed tasty. We somehow happen to mention about our anniversary to Jeetu and wow…another surprise! We were presented with an extempore moong daal halwa ‘cake’ and we blew the candle to celebrate our anniversary. What a wonderful moment it was!

Peter and Eliane
After dinner, we unexpectedly were provided two options – either to stay in the hut cottages at the Mangalam Resort or to go in the mid of the sand dunes and sleep under the starry night of new moon. No prizes for guessing! In 5 minutes, we were on a camel cart heading towards the sand dunes inside the Desert National Park. Soon the lights were dim at Khuri and we were heading in the darkness. It was an amazing atmosphere which still gives me goose bumps – cool air, complete darkness and the lovely silence! In half an hour, we reached our destination. And surprise surprise..we were told that we would be sleeping in the open! Anita shuddered J No tents? And I was super excited! We had our beds arranged at a ‘safe distance’ from other couples ;) After a while, we lit the bonfire and invited our companions if they were interested in a chat. And I was not surprised when Eliane and Peter, the lovely couple from Belgium joined us. And we are good friends till date! J

As we were done with our talk around the bonfire, we retired to our beds. It was indeed a
thrilling time. We lied and what we could see were the zillions of stars twinkling. Shooting stars were making their appearance so frequently that we could have fulfilled wishes of our life time in one night itself. The other lights which were at a distance and were not twinkling were the lights on the windmills. The wind was now blowing with gusto. And Anita was uncomfortable. Yes the combination was nasty – a new moon night, silence, howling wind, no network on our mobiles and we people alone in the unknown sand dunes! We finally took shelter in a camping tent brought along.



The Desert Sunrise, Khuri Sand Dunes
 I got up early in the morning to capture the sunrise in the desert not knowing that the sun rises late in the desert (How similar to me!) It was cold. So finally the Sun God started appearing on the horizon by 7 am in the morning. In the meanwhile me and Anita were enjoying the desert, the feel of the smooth sand. A good morning to Sun and everybody else there! We were told by Peter that we had few visitors in the night – the deer or sambhar, we don’t know!


Life is full of surprises. I never expected that I would be spending such a spectacular new moon night amongst desert. This was neither on our minds nor on our itinerary. This just happens. And these things happen to your life. Because this is how you define your life. After 20 years (or even today) you won’t be telling stories of how you grabbed a seat in the local train in Mumbai. Talk about how you stared at the Himalayas, how you swam in the Ganga, how you felt the sand to your feet in Rajasthan and how you were in face to face with a Royal Bengal Tiger. Then people will inevitably say, “You have lived life!” J       

2 comments:

  1. have heard a lot about Khuri from some travellers, but first time reading abt it. Very informative & nice post. Are there more pics?

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