We’ve finished the desert state of Rajhastan now, and befitting of a desert state we had to go out into the desert!
Through our hotel we organized a two day and one night trip into the desert on camels. We went especially far into the desert via jeep to get away from the usual tourist routes, and were in fact only 20Km from the Pakistan India border. We didn’t see any other tourists in the whole trip it was just us, the guide, the camels, and the occasional nomad! We each had our own camel to ride, which we learnt how to control and ride pretty much without assistance.
After the first day we stopped riding and set-up camp in some very nice sand dunes, and spent the night under the amazing night sky, with zero light pollution! I’ve never seen so many stars, satellites and shooting stars. That was the highlight for me. On the second day we proceeded to ride through a lot more desert and we visited several small villages, where life seems especially tough as pretty much nothing will grow in the heat they have. By 5pm on the second day we’d had enough of riding camels, it really really hurts!
After Jaisalmer we traveled back to Delhi on an overnight train, stopping in Delhi for just a few hours before carrying on another over night journey to Amritsar. The strangest thing happened (well many strange things happen on Indian train journey!) i woke up at 5am to see some random bloke wearing my sandals, no idea what he was doing with them, but i grabbed them back, glared at him and that was it! So random, i was just completely shocked. Everything else we had was locked up and secure except my sandals, a lesson learnt for next time! It seems Indians don’t have the same boundaries as Europeans, we’ve had other passengers sit down in our carriage complete one of my sudoku puzzles and then move on again without saying a word, we’ve had numerous inspections of the books we’ve been reading too, sometimes it feels like we’re a travelling library 🙂
Today we arrived in Amritsar which is most famous for the Sikhs most holiest of temples, the golden temple ! We’re staying within the temple grounds where it’s free to stay and eat, and we’ve met a lot of friendly Sikhs, even one on a pilgrimage from Southampton back in England! He was cool and helped me put on my turban, some people even claimed i looked Punjabi, the long beard is starting to pay off!! It’s an awesome temple, surrounded by a lake and covered in 750KG of pure gold, and the place has an atmosphere, unlike the last ashram we visited.
Earlier we took the bus to the small village of Attari (a short distance from the Pakistan/India boarder) where we watched the boarder ceremony, which was hilarious. The Indian army and Pakistan army try and out do each other with macho poses and posturing, both sides has scores of spectators/supporters which are on each side of the boarder and there’s a lot of national pride visible within both sides.
Tomorrow we’re heading for Dharamsala, home to the Dalai Lama, and the tibetan government in exile. We look forward to that, but not the drop in temperature.
Just in case you were wondering, i’m still wearing my turban now, whilst writing this 🙂