While I had a very hectic office schedule in December, the need for a vacation was always on the cards. Since, the office workload was to subside in January, 2019, I was looking for some place to spend a couple of days at peace with the family. I love snow and the winter season wherein things are not so sweaty and everything seems to move at its sweet own pace. I had visited Manali last in Dec 2010 and I felt it was high time to visit it again. After all, I would be able to play with snow and if luck would have it, I might also get to see some snowfall. I had also thought of Dalhousie as well and kept it as an alternate option. I had planned to start the trip in the first weekend of January and I had around 4-5 days in hand.
1 week prior to my trip, the climate changed and there were forecasts of snowfall expected in the mountains. My wife who was hesitant from the beginning with my plan clearly told me that she would not like to travel in such a cold weather with the kids.
Even though the kids I believe are old enough (10years and 5 years) and could cope with the cold weather, I somehow decided to drop the plan for the mountains and head for some place warmer. I had always dreamt of going to Jaisalmer and specially going there by road. I have always wanted to drive through lonely roads with nothing but the desert on both the sides. I proposed this plan to my wife and she agreed to it. However, since it would be a very long trip, she was worried if I would be able to drive or not. I myself was pretty confident about the same as I knew that road conditions there are very good and if I plan my trip well, I would be able to drive well. I had only 3 days’ leave and with weekends included, I could spare only 5 days for the trip. This meant that I would need to drive on each day in order to keep up with my itinerary. I had already driven a couple of times to Amritsar non stop from Delhi in a day and I was sure that I could easily drive at least 600 kms in a day.
Keeping all this in mind, I posted a query on the BCMT thread with my tentative itinerary. Big thanks to Mr. Yogesh Sarkar for helping me out and finalise the itinerary. The below was the itinerary which I had planned to follow:
Day 1: Start from Delhi at 5.30AM. Reach Ajmer before 1 PM. Visit Ajmer Sharif Dargah and then post lunch start for Jodhpur. Reach Jodhpur by 7 PM
Day 2: Sightseeing in Jodhpur in first half and leave for Jaisalmer post lunch. Reach Jaisalmer around 7 pm
Day 3: Leave early morning and Visit Tanot Mata Temple and Longevala. Head to Sam sand dunes on way back and do camel safari and Jepp safari. Night back at Jaisalmer Hotel
Day 4: Sightseeing in Jaisalmer in first half. Leave for Bikaner post lunch. Reach Bikaner around 7 pm.
Day 5: Bikaner sightseeing along with Karni Mata temple and leave for Delhi around 1 pm. Reach Delhi at whatever time it takes on the road J
Since I was reaching all the destinations at late evenings and I didn’t want to end up wandering with kids at night in search of hotels, I booked up the hotels in advance. I booked up all the RTDC hotels through my sister as she has some contacts there. The online reviews were not that great but I didn’t want to take any chances hence went through with the bookings.
So with all this, I started preparing for the trip. I have an i10 which has been sparingly driven for the last 8 years and I knew that it could make it. I got my car serviced 5 days before my trip started so that any issues post service could be corrected in time. Since my car battery was also more than 4 years old, I decided to get that changed as well even though the old battery had not started giving any troubles as yet. But for the sake of peace of mind, I got the battery replaced as well.
As usual to all my trips, I prepared the checklist for the items etc. to be carried for the trip. Apart from the regular stuff like medicines, torch, cameras etc., a lot of food items were also purchased so that we could have sufficient munchies for the road for the five day trip. Few additional items I purchased were a tow rope (which later proved totally useless) and a puncture repair kit (not used). I also arranged a car battery powered tyre inflator from a friend as I only had a manual one. I filled in a lot of 2 litre water bottles and also put some old newspapers and plastic bags in the car.
With the preparations in full swing, now we were waiting eagerly for the trip and being my first such long road trip, the excitement levels were very high.
Few teaser images and a link to the video is here:
----- Click here for next part ---