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The beginning:

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:

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Day 1: Delhi to Jodhpur (via Ajmer)
It was a cold Saturday Morning when my wife woke me up at 4.30 AM. The kids were already awake and we started getting ready. Target was to start at 5.30Am without fail. I had already put in the luggage in the car last night and we were able to start the journey at around 5.35 Am. On the way, I got the petrol filled up to the brim and in no time we were passing through the Gurgaon expressway. It was still dark and even though it was early, there was a lot of traffic on the roads. Thankfully there was not much fog and we were driving at a fair pace. Soon after, the first toll booth came and there was a long queue. It took us 10 minutes to get past the same. Since my wife had already cooked some paranthas, the plan was not to take any break till Ajmer and if we reach Ajmer before 12 then we were to visit the Dargah there, have lunch and then start for Jodhpur. At around 8.40 AM we reached the Highway King near Shahpura and had to take a break. We had coffee which was good and my daughter had Pao Bhaji which was Okayish. After a half an hour break we continued our journey towards Ajmer. We took the Jaipur bypass and crossed Jaipur at around 10.15 am and took a loo break at Highway King at Jaipur. Looking at the speed and road conditions, I was now certain that we would be able to reach Ajmer by 12 and hence we decided to visit the Ajmer Sharif Dargah. Upon reaching Ajmer, we took the road towards the city and left the highway. We were headed towards Delhi Gate to park our Car however, the road was jam packed and we instead decided to park our car at the Ajmer Junction. We took an Auto and it took us inside the small lanes of Ajmer and towards the Dargah. The whole set up reminded me of the busy streets of old delhi and I was amazed at the striking similarities in all the Mughal ruled old cities. We went inside the Dargah and it was very crowded. We went inside the main area and I was not very pleased with the experience I had there. I felt like everybody there was trying to con the visitors by forcing them to shell out some money in the name of God. The dargah has multiple entry gates, and it is very easy to get lost in the rush of the crowds there. The same happened with us as well and we couldnot figure our way out to the main gate. After struggling for atleast half an hour we finally figured out the way to the gate where we had deposited our footwear and we took a sigh of relief. We took the auto back and reached the station. I was now in a hurry to be back on the highway as it was already 2’o clock and we hadn’t even had our lunch. So, we decided to leave the city and take our lunch on the highway itself. Once we got back to the highway, we stopped at a road side dhaba for our lunch and continued. We were planning to take the route through Beawar—Bar – Bawal – Jodhpur.
After having lunch, kids slept in the car and as both of us were talking about various things, the topic of Bullet came along. So I was telling my wife that there is a temple in Rajasthan where they worship a Bullet (The Royal Enfield). This she didn’t believe and I told her to search for the Bullet Baba temple on the phone. When she searched she told me that it was near Jodhpur only. I asked her to put the directions in the Google Maps and it showed a detour of around 50 kms through the PALI route. I looked at my watch and asked my wife if she would want to visit the temple. She said OK and we took the detour. The road was in excellent condition and totally secluded of any traffic. We decided to make a very quick stop at the temple as we didn’t want to be driving in the dark on the highway. We reached the temple at around 5.30 Pm and it was full of devotees. The legend has it that every traveler visiting this route stops at the temple to worship and take blessings of Om Banna who died in a road accident. Read more at Om Banna - Wikipedia

Ever since I bought a Bullet, I was wanting to visit the temple and now I hadn’t even planned for it and here I was standing here. We spent around 20 minutes there and continued our journey. Jodhpur was now around 50 Kms away and the sun was about to set. The setting looked beautiful and we stopped for a quick photo break.

The tank was now at the half way mark and hence I decided to get it filled again. So, on the outskirts of Jodhpur, we got the tank filled up and set the google maps for directions to our Jodhpur Hotel, ‘Hotel Ghoomer’. It was already dark when we reached inside city and it took us some 30 minutes of driving through the city traffic to reach the hotel. I enquired at the reception about our bookings and we were quickly shown into our room. The hotel was in a dismal state as most of the RTDC run hotels are and the room was also not very impressive. To add to the misery the hotel is situated near the railway track and at every passage of a train, the room windows vibrated like they were to fall apart. We asked for tea but were told in typical Sarkari style that it is approaching dinner time hence no tea or snacks now. Looking at the hotel condition, I was in no mood to have dinner here hence after freshening up we decided to search for a good place to eat. After wandering for a bit, we found a restaurant ‘Kapvriksha’ which looked good from the outside and we decided it to give it a try. We went inside and we were impressed with the ambience there. Being typical north Indians, without taking a look at the menu, we ordered tomato soup, kadhai paneer and some butter naans J. The food was very good and the Kadhai Paneer was just awesome. We were very satisfied with the meal and ate like anything. After dinner, we drove for some time on the busy streets of Jodhpur and finally headed back to the hotel.

Finally the day came to an end with a drive of more than 650 KMs and apart from the hotel, it was a good day. It was around 11 o’clock when we went to bed and we had plans to get up at around 6 and leave for Mehrangarh Fort by 9 AM tomorrow morning.

Link to Video:

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Day 2: Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur to Jaisalmer via Pokhran, Gadisar Lake

I woke up at around 6 Am in the morning. I was not able to get a good night’s sleep because of the disturbance created by the passing by trains in the night. I had tea and freshened up. I went outside to clean the car and it was really very cold outside. It was foggy and visibility was very low. The plan for today was to visit Mehrangarh Fort and if time permitted, to visit other few sights and then post lunch head out for Jaisalmer. We got ready and went to the hotel’s dining area for the breakfast . The breakfast had limited options consisting of poori bhaji and poha. I took the poori bhaji and it was really bad in taste. Hence I ordered some bread toast and thankfully, they did not refuse this time. After having the breakfast, we checked out of the hotel and started our journey. It was 9.10 Am and I was happy that we were almost on time. So I put the navigation in Google maps on for Mehrangarh fort and started the journey. The shown route took us through Ghanta ghar and then to some very narrow lanes. We asked for the way to some of the locals and they told us to go to some parking which was situated ahead. I being afraid of driving in such narrow alleys decided to head back. We went back to our hotel, parked the car and hired an auto. The autowala took us through a different route through the Nagauri Gate which was a fairly spaced road. Now I was cursing Gmaps for taking me through the wrong route in the morning as this route seemed easy. Anyhow, we reached the fort and the fort looked magnificent. It was a surreal site as the fort seemed to be hiding behind the wall of thick fog.
We deposited our bag at the baggage counter and after checking went inside and bought the tickets. The fort is one of the largest forts in India and is clearly a huge one. We had forgotten to carry our water bottle and hence had to buy the water bottle from the café at the fort. It was priced at Rs. 80/- and surprisingly the water tasted salty. I wonder if they are selling refilled bottles there. We went inside the museum which housed various interesting artefacts depicting the history of the fort ranging from the arms and ammunitions to the clothes worn by the Maharajas. We then came outside the museum and headed to the area where cannon’s have been kept at the rooftop offering the views into the city. I had visited this fort in 2007 earlier and I remember we could get photographs clicked with the cannons and at the wall. But now, they have put in the fencing so as to restrict visitors from going to the cannons or to the wall boundaries may be due to safety concerns.


There was still a lot of fog and we were not able to view the city from the top. There is also a temple at the end of the fort. We went uptill there and headed back.

By the time we came back outside the fort it was already 12 Noon and we were now running out of schedule. So, we took an auto to Jaswant Thada, which is nearby the fort. It has a structure made up of marble and was built in the memory of Maharaja Jaswant Singh. It also has a small lake and a garden. We spent around half an hour there and took the auto back to our hotel to pick our car. Since the kids were feeling hungry, we went to the nearby Mcdonanlds and had our lunch there. It was already 1.45 Pm when we started our onwards journey to Jaisalmer.

Jodhpur to Jaisalmer is around 280 Kms and I was planning to reach Jaisalmer by 6pm. Soon we left the city and joined the highway towards Jodhpur via Pokhran. The highway was a single road without a divider but was in a very good shape and had very little traffic. Earlier I had planned to take a stop in between but looking at the good road conditions, I decided to carry on with the driving. On reaching Pokhran, I filled up the car’s tank and continued. We reached Jaisalmer at around 5.30 Pm and since we still had some day light left, we decided to go to the famous Gadisar Lake before heading to our hotel.

We parked our car at the parking lot and reached the lake. The lake however did not look pristine but since the kids wanted to have some fun, we decided to do some boating. Since all the pedal boats were taken, we hired a boat for four people (Charges Rs. 300/-) for half an hour. The boat wala there was a very interesting character and behaved like a film star. He called himself Salman Khan and kept on entertaining (irritating) us with his small talks. We enjoyed the sunset from the boat and I was able to get some good shots at the setting sun.

It was now getting cold and we decided to head to our hotel. We had booked Hotel Moomal here and it was around 2 kms from the lake. We reached there at around 6.45 pm and checked into our room. The hotel looked a lot better maintained than our previous hotel and I was relieved as the room and toilet were neat and clean. Hesitantly I asked for some tea and to my surprise they said tea is available. I also asked the kitchen guy to bring some snacks to which he said he will have to check. Later he brought some Veg Pakodas along with the tea and I felt thankful at his gesture.

After freshening up, we headed outside for dinner and picked a roof top restaurant at the hotel ‘Pleasant Haveli. It was difficult to find the hotel but it had great views of the Jaisalmer Fort which was illuminated at night. The food however was not great. We order daal, roti (they didn’t have tandoori rotis though), biryani and soup. The food tasted bland and was not at all tasty. We finished the food and ordered Gulab Jamuns. As with the food, the Gulab Jamuns also were cold and not tasty. Hence, with an unsatisfying experience, we came out of the restaurant and headed back to our hotel. Enroute, we stopped near the Fort and clicked some pictures.


We went back to the hotel and asked for the extra bed. The same was arranged promptly and we called off the day at 10.30Pm. Plan for tomorrow was to leave very early for Tanot Mata Mandir which was around 120 Kms from Jaisalmer, then to visit Longevala (50 Kms from Tanot) and then in the afternoon and head to Sam sand dunes for the desert safari.

Link to Video:

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Day 3: Tanot Mata Mandir, Longevala, Sam Sand Dunes

We woke up a little earlier today and had tea and went through with the routine of getting ready. It was a bit chilly outside however there wasn’t any fog today. We headed to the breakfast area and the menu here at Moomal was also the same. Poori Bhaji, Poha and with some bread toasts. The taste however was much better than the Jodhpur hotel and we had a heavy breakfast. We left hotel and I got the petrol tank topped up as today was also going to be a long and lonely road trip. Then I withdrew some cash from the nearby ATM and started our journey onwards to Tanot Mata temple. It was about 120 KMs from Jaisalmer city and the idea was to cover the same in 2 hours. Soon, we were on the outskirts of the city and were cruising along the highway. It was a small single road with no divider but was maintained in a pristine condition. The road was almost empty with occasional trucks passing by and both sides were surrounded by sand. Soon, we could see huge wind mills covering both sides of the road and we couldn’t help but make a quick photo stop. Due to higher than average wind speed, this area is conducive to large number of wind mills and is among the world’s biggest wind mill projects.

We were moving along at a very fair pace and were on target to reach Tanot by 11 Am. I was on Jio Prepaid and till now the coverage was excellent. However, when we were about to reach Ramgarh, the network simply vanished and we couldnot locate any signal what so ever. Ramgarh was the only place where we could see some dhabas and all and we planned that while returning we would have lunch here itself. From Ramgarh, the road splits into two directions – one goes towards Longevala directly and one leads to Tanot Mata. From Tanot , there is another road which joins Longevala through Sadevala and we were planning to take that route. After Ramgarh, the landscape changed drastically and there was no trace of any villages or travelers across miles. Driving on such a lonely road was adventurous as well as scary. After travelling around 50 Kms from Ramgarh, we reached our first stoppage which was Ghantiyali Mata Temple. It is a small temple just 10 Kms before Tanot . It also has a legend attached to it w.r.t. 1965 Indo-Pak war wherein it is believed that Pakistan soldiers who had invaded the temple were killed by each other. The temple is a small complex and also houses few of the idols which were vandalized by the PAK soldiers. Everything was going fine till now but I did not know that the biggest misadventure of the trip was just about to come. We reached the Ghantiyali temple and I unknowingly parked my car on soft sand on side of the Temple entry. We went inside and visited the temple there. There were also toilets which were situated behind the temple complex but those were really filthy. Do not use them as the toilets at Tanot Mata temple are much better maintained.

It was 10.30Am when we came out and I started the car. While I was trying to move the car, it somehow didn’t want to move and I kept on accelerating and due to this the whole of the front tyres got buried in the sand. I was like “what the hell”. I tried to remove the sand with my bare hands but it went in vain and straightaway I knew that now we were doomed. Seeing me struggling, the small shop owner in front of the temple came to help and told me that you shouldn’t have accelerated that much harder. I was feeling like very bad and went inside the temple to ask for some help. There were two –three labourers who were working inside and they came outside to help. They tried to push the car from behind but nothing happened. The guy brought the spade and tried to clear the sand from the sides of the tyres. But all our attempts were going in vain and I was now starting to feel very worried. Thereafter, a bolero came with few people who were going towards Jaisalmer. We asked for their help if they could pull the car with the tow rope. But they didn’t have any rope for towing. I suddenly remembered that I had bought the tow rope and it was lying in the boot of the car. I opened that rope and we tied our car with the Bolero. As soon as the first pull came, the useless rope broke off and I was like.. I knew this was going to happen. Since, we had no other jugaad to pull the car, the bolero people went away and we were again left there stranded. Meanwhile, there were other tourists who were coming and going from the temple. One of the drivers, who saw us struggling, came to us and told us that it will not work out like this. He told us to pull the car sidewards and shake it harder so that the sand can get beneath the tyre and the tyres could come upwards. We tried that but we were only 4-5 people and we were not able to move the car at all. The driver gave us the idea to lift the car tyre by putting the jack. However it wasnot very easy to put the jack as well as there wasn’t any space and front of the car was completely submerged in sand upto the bumper. With the help of the spade, we tried to create some space to place the jack. Finally after so many tries, we were able to place the jack and tried pulling up the car. Meanwhile few other travelers and a few army men had also stopped there to help us. With the jack, we were able to somehow lift up the right tyre and then all of the people pushed and shook the car from the left side. This time, there was a lot of force and the car moved very easily. One person filled sand beneath the tyre and now the left tyre also came upwards. With high hopes, I sat inside the car while all the people were pushing the car from behind. Very slowly I accelerated and then with the force from behind, the car started moving and I was able to park the car on the road. I took a sigh of relief and thanked everyone who were there for the help. I also gave 100 Rs. each to both the labourers who were there all the time for the help and they were very reluctant to accept that. I was totally sweating by now and after having a large gulp of water, we sat in the car and started our journey again. I looked at the watch and it was already 11.45 Am and we had lost a lot of precious time today. Anyhow, I am very thankful to all those people who came there to help us and I must say that the locals were very helpful. I wonder what would have happened, if I had gotten stuck somewhere on an empty road.

We reached Tanot mata temple soon thereafter and spent around half an hour there. A lot of people do visit the temple looking at the number of cars parked there. The temple is now maintained by BSF. It is believed that in the war, the Pakistan army fired more than 3000 bombs on the temple but none would get exploded. The temple premises, still has few of those bombs on display. There are a few small shops selling food items outside the temple and there are a large number of goats as well roaming inside the temple and the outside as well. The toilets here are in much better shape than we experienced earlier.

After visiting Tanot Mata, we headed towards Longevala. There is a direct road connecting Longevala to Tanot. Distance between Tanot and Longevala is roughly 40 Kms. We set up the directions in google maps and started the journey. It was a comparatively narrow road and if you got a vehicle coming from the other side, you would have to make space for that vehicle to cross. It was totally secluded with no trace of inhabitants anywhere for miles. We carried on the journey for about 22 kms and then reached the checkpost at Sadevala. At Sadevala, there were 2 BSF soldiers posted. They checked our id and asked me to make an entry in the register kept there. When I was about to start there was a strange sound which came out of the front right wheel and we inspected. I didnt find any issue or loose part. I told the soldier there that we had stuck earlier in the sand and there might be some issue due to which the noise came. We tried again but this time no noise came. He advised us to take it slow till Longevala to avoid any issues. Longevala was about 16 kms from there and hence I decided to keep it slow and not to overspeed. Next 16 kms went without any issues and we reached Longevala at around 01.30 Pm. We parked the car and headed towards the museum. The war memorial has the Pakistani tanks and jeeps captured during the 1971 war on display. It also shows the various arms and ammunitions captured from PAK army during the war.

We came out of the museum area and headed to the theatre where they play a small 15 minutes movie depicting the victory of Indian army over Pak in 1971. There is a ticket of Rs. 40 per person for the same. We bought the ticket and went inside the small theatre like area. This theatre had around 40-50 chairs and by the time we had gotten inside, all the seats were full. Hence we had to accommodate ourselves at the last row standing. The movie showed the planning and efforts by the Indian army to defeat the enemy including few clips from Border movie. Overall it was a nice experience specially for the kids who were not yet aware of the history of the war. Outside the theatre area, there is a small stall where they were selling maggie and chole bhature. Since it was already 2 pm, we decided to have a quick lunch there only. We ordered 3 maggies and a plate of chola bhatura. The maggie was ok, however the bhaturas were not that great and were soaked in oil.


There are also some temporary toilets arranged near the memorial however those were not clean and hence we decided not to take a loo break there. After a few more clicks, we now started on our journey to sam sand dunes. The distance was approx. 110 Kms. The road till Ramgarh was totally empty and it was in a great shape. So much so that I forgot that I had decided to drive not at a pace above 80. I was easily touching a speed of 120 constantly. Soon we reached Ramgarh and took the much needed loo break at a small dhaba which had a cleaner toilet. At the petrol pump, I got the tank filled and asked the attendant there the way to Sam. He confirmed the way which google was showing and we headed on to the same. It was around 70 kms from Ramgarh and the road proved to be a very small road which passed through mainly villages. As a result, there were a lot of speed breakers and it took us some time to cover that stretch and finally around 4 pm, we connected to the main road leading to Sam sand dunes. There is an entry fee of Rs. 50 which is taken at the road for entry to Sam sand dunes area. We drove on the road and could view the sand dunes across both sides of the road. There were also so many camp sites along the road in case you are interested in spending a night there. As soon as you reach the main area, a lot of people will come running to you for jeep safari and camel safari. Some will even follow you on a bike until you shove them off while some will stand right in front of your vehicle and if you don’t stop you might as well run them over. The salesmanship of these guys is quite aggressive and they will try to sell the package to you by hook or by crook. Finally after searching for a while we parked our car in the parking (on concrete road just outside the RTDC's Sam Dhani resort) and hired a jeep for a safari. He told us that he would take us for a 25 KM ride and will show different tourist points. Personally I believe that all this is just hoax and one should not listen to the stories they tell you to sell. Anyhow, since, we had to do the safari, we hopped on to the Jeep (open jeep) and he started driving like a racer. He carried on the main road for a while and then took a left to move into the desert. The jeep was moving very fast and he was playing loud Rajasthani songs in the jeep. We moved deep into the desert and now it was beginning to show the true colours of the desert. Soon, we reached the main point where all the jeep walas stop for photo stop. We spent 15-20 minutes there and clicked some photos. The kids also played with the sand there and were very happy. Later, the driver took us to another point and claimed it to be the point where the Bajrangi Bhaijaan scene was shot. Soon after, we were on our way back to the parking for the camel safari.


The jeep safari was also wonderful while it wasn’t actually comparable to the Dubai safari. The level of stunts performed by those guys over there was entirely very scary. This safari was however less scary and hence the kids also enjoyed a lot. All in all it was a good experience. We reached the parking and set on for the camel safari. The rate for camel safari was Rs. 50/- per camel. We took two camels and started the safari. While the kids might enjoy riding the camel, I totally do not like the awkwardness and the leg pain it brings to me but however, we moved on. One thing I would like to mention here is to not to get into the bewildering chats these people can get you into. For example, they will tel you that the sunset point (destination for 50 Rs. ride) is no good and dirty. They will claim to take you to national desert park and they will say that they will spend the whole evening showing you around. They will entice you that the sand here is very inferior and that this is not the original desert. They will show you the original Thar desert.
Just beware of these thugs as all these claims are to entice you in spending more money. Since the kids were enjoying the safari, we asked them to take us to a longer safari and we agreed for a payment of Rs. 400/- which I still believe was on a very higher side. They took us for some 500 meters more and said that they cannot go beyond this point. They asked us that we should get back to the sunset point to view the sunset. When I objected then they had to take us a little further and asked if we would stop there. Since kids wanted to play more with the sand, we stopped there for 10 minutes to sit in the solitude. However these camel walas were very eager to get back and keep on asking when we will move (even though they had promised that they would show us for the whole, evening). Irritated, I decided to go back and soon after, we reached back at the starting point. When I handed him 400 Rs., he started shouting that it was supposed to 400 Rs. Per camel. Perplexed, I had to remind him that what we finalized was a lumpsum amount and not per camel. They started arguing and it was a very unpleasant experience. Finally I handed him 100 Rs. more and told them to just go away. They finally went away cursing us and this had almost spoiled the complete experience. We certainly learnt a lesson and agreed that we would try to stay away from such conniving thieves from now onwards.


It was already sunset and we decided to head back to Jaisalmer. We started at around 6 and reached Jaisalmer (around 40 Kms) at around 7 Pm. Yesterday we had heard someone talking about some puppet show near the Gadisar lake and hence we decided to give it a try. We headed to the Gadisar lake area again as asked for the Puppet show. It was across the road in the Desert Cultural Center. The show would start at 7.30 PM and hence we decided to have some bhel puri at one of the stalls at the lake area. It was very good and with some of the appetite subsided, we headed to the show.

The show was supposed to last for 40 minutes where they would play a movie for 10 minutes and 30 minutes were for the puppet show and the museum. Yes, there was a museum too, consisting of artifacts collected by a single person, Mr. N.K. Sharma. The show started late at around 7.40 Pm. All good seats were gone as usual and we were sitting in the 5th or 6th row and it was supposedly the last row as there was only a limited audience. It started with a film on a small tv screen narrating the history of Jaisalmer. Thereafter, the narrator started telling the stories about how the show was started and the efforts being put in by Mr. Sharma for the benefit of the city and its culture. The kids were starting to get a bit jumpy by now and I too was feeling the same. Finally the puppet show started. It was good while it lasted. They performed 3-4 acts on various themes and kids enjoyed few of the acts. Finally the show ended around 8.45pm (instead of 8.10 as it was scheduled to be). The effort put in by the puppeteers was great and somehow I felt may be the narrative should have been a bit more engaging. Thereafter, We headed for some place to eat. The last night's experience of the 'Pleasant Haveli' was not very pleasant so we again googled for the best restaurants in Jaisalmer and it again proved to be a very tiring experience, navigating from one restaurant to another, sometimes in the tiny alleys and sometime ending into some horrible looking place. Finally we settled on a decent looking restaurant in a hotel and ended up having our dinner there. The food was okayish but atleast better than yesterday. We headed back to our hotel after the dinner. It was a very tiring day and also the most adventurous of our trip. Tomorrow we had to leave Jaisalmer and head to Bikaner. Since we had to cover only the Jaisalmer fort and Kuldhara, we decided to take it easy tomorrow and get up a little late. Plan was to leave Jaisalmer by lunch time and reach Bikaner by evening.

Video Link:

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Day 4- Jaisalmer Sightseeing. Jaisalmer to Bikaner

It was a leisurely morning and we took our own sweet time to get up from the bed. After having the morning tea, we got ready and headed for breakfast. The menu for breakfast was very dismal. Since today there was no Aloo poori and I am not a big fan of Upma so I had to be content with butter toast and coffee. Anyhow, we started at around 10 AM and reached the Jaisalmer fort. Since we were checked out of the hotel Moomal, we clicked a few snaps there and carried on.

We parked our car at the parking which is on the road and took an auto to reach the fort. From the parking you can either choose to walk upto the fort or take an auto. Since we were with kids and they were in no mood to walk, we hired the auto to reach at the fort entry. The fort is also called the Golden fort or the "Sonar Kila" because of the fact that the sun rays when fall on the yellow sandstone walls of the fort, they give a golden tinge to the fort. The fort is also one of the very few living forts in the world and it still houses a lot of the locals' residence.

The fort is very impressive from the outside but from the inside it is not that magnificent. It houses the artifacts from the historic era and is not very exciting. The roof of the fort however provides some fantastic views of the Jaislamer city.


From the fort, there goes a narrow alley towards the Jain mandirs. After a small walk, we reached there. My wife and daughter went inside the temple and I stood outside with my son (as he didnt want to go) and waited patiently. There were a few shops selling souvenirs and we did some shopping. We walked back to the parking and took an auto to Patwa Haveli. The auto wala took some time off and explained the significance of the havelis to us. The havelis once belonged to the famous and rich traders of the city. There are around 5-6 havelis there. 1 is run by govt. which doesnot have anything at display. You can take a ticket (50 rs) and roam inside. The other one is run by a private person and houses the various artifacts used by those people. It has an entry ticket of 100 Rs. The other havelis are occupied even today and are private properties. We went inside one of the havelis (the privately maintained one). It is a multi storey building having various rooms and contains the artifacts on display. We reached the roof and it offered views of the jaisalmer fort and the surrounding households.

We came down and took the auto back to our car. It was around 11.45 and we moved on towards Kuldhara, the so called haunted village. The village is around 15 kms from the city. There is an entry ticket at the village entry and you can take your car inside. The path is not so great as it is made up of stone bricks and you would have to drive at very slow speed else the ride would be very jerky. We reached the parking and went inside the village. The village is in ruins and there are abandoned model homes which are structured keeping in mind the older homes. After a bit of roaming around and climbing roofs of the houses, we decided to move on and start our journey. There is a cola van standing at the entry point which sells some kind of machine made soft drinks. We decided to give it a try. While the lemon flavored one was ok, the cola flavored was totally pathetic and we had to throw it away.

It was around 1.30 pm when we started our journey towards Bikaner and we had to cover around 350 kms today. We decided to take the route through Pokhran which goes through NH11. We had planned to continue our journey till Pokhran (around 100 kms) and then break for lunch. The journey towards Pokhran was very smooth and we could reach there around 3 o clock. We now decided to hunt for a good place to eat and soon stopped at a road side dhaba which looked good enough and also had few guests already. We ordered Daal roti and the kids ordered maggie. The food was quite good and we enjoyed the same. After around 40 minutes, we continued our journey to Bikaner. As we were heading onwards towards Bikaner, the road condition was getting worse. There was a lot of construction work going on the NH11 and there were a lot of rough patches and diversions. It was a single road and now we encountered the maximum number of trucks and other vehicles. Still I managed to keep up with the speed and we finally managed to reach on the outskirts of Bikaner by sunset. Once inside the boundaries of Bikaner, we had to stop at a railway crossing for 15 minutes. It was around 6.30 pm when we finally reached our destination for the day, Hotel Dhola Maru. It was again, a hotel run by RTDC and since I had already read the reviews online, I kept my expectations to the minimum. However when we reached he hotel, it felt as if we have entered some kind of an old hospital building or a jail. I discussed with my wife if we wanted to stay there. Since our son was not feeling well and also had slight fever, we decided to settle in the hotel instead of going to look for another hotel. The hotel barely had any other guests and it was like a place from old horror movies. The room was poorly lit and had cracks in the walls. The bathroom was also in pathetic state. The toilet seat was positioned in such a way that it had very less space to sit properly and the water was leaking from the flush all the time. There was also a very strange smell coming from the entire hotel and felt miserable. However nothing could be done now and we thought we had to somehow spend the night in that dungeon like place. After resting for a while, we went outside to have our dinner as we couldn’t simply stand at the thought of having to eat at the hotel.

After a bit of google search, wandering here and there, we headed to a place called "Sattvic". It was a roof top restaurant and the atmosphere felt great. Since it was an open sitting area and it was getting cold, the guy there brought the heater near to our table and it started to feel warm. There was also a big slide for the kids and the kids enjoyed a lot playing there. The food also tasted good and the price was also not very high. Overall it was a pretty good dinner and we really enjoyed there. We then headed back to our hotel where we tried to somehow get a sleep and pass the night. Since we had left the window open, that horrible smell was somewhat reduced but the continuous leaking water from the flush had not stopped and was a source of continued annoyance and irritation. We consoled ourselves thinking that it was our last night there and tomorrow we would sleep in our cosy beds at the home.

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Day 5: The last leg of the journey...

The morning was beautiful and since we had somehow gotten a good amount of sleep, we felt refreshed. We asked for tea and it was served rather promptly. The real trouble began soon after. The water which was continuously overflowing throughout the night had now stopped but now there was no water at all in the bathroom. We called up the reception, the guy came and checked but after trying for some time he gave up and told us to use the bathroom of some other room as the entire hotel was almost empty. We got ready in the adjacent room and headed to the dining area dreading the taste of breakfast. Since there were very few guests, there wasn’t any buffet and we were asked for the order. We ordered some aloo pyaaz paranthas which took some time to be prepared but when they were served, we were pretty happy as they tasted very good. We were finally smiling and we thanked the cook for serving us the best breakfast we have had on this trip and finally the stay at hotel Dhola Maru ended with a silver lining. We packed and the luggage was put back in the car and we checked out. It was around 9.30 when we left the hotel. We went to the Juna Garh fort which wasn’t very far from the hotel and we could reach there by 9.40. We drove inside the fort and parked in the parking area which is right in front of the fort. The fort opens at 10 am so there were already people waiting to get inside. We clicked a few pictures and then moved towards the queues for entry. It was already 10.10 and they hadn’t opened entry into the fort. More and more crowd was now coming in and the queue got increasing. It seemed that the guys at the ticket counter hadn't
come as yet and therefore it was getting delayed. It was already 10.20 am and we didn’t know how much more time it would take. Since we had a pretty long day ahead of us, we decided to skip the fort and move ahead.

We headed towards the market area and went to do some shopping. Since Bikaner is famous for its bhujia, we decided to give it a try and went into the famous shop of "Bhikharam Chandmal". We tried some bhujia and gondpak and finally ended up buying a few packets of bhujia and some papads.


After shopping, we headed towards Deshnok where the famous Karni Mata temple is situated. It is about 25 kms from Bikaner. The road was good and we reached there in half an hour. The temple complex is fairly large and a large number of rats live inside the temple complex. As soon as you enter the complex, you can see the rats running here and there in search of prasad or other food items. The kids were fascinated by seeing so many rats running around and were very excited. There are a large number of shops as well selling the prasad as well as food items like chana etc for the rats. The temple was not entirely crowded and there was a small queue to get inside the temple. After offering our prayers at the temple we stayed for some time as the kids watched the rats in astonishment.



It was around 12 when we decided to move on and start our journey back to Delhi. The idea was to take the route from Bikaner to Sikar and then to Chomu and thereafter get on the national highway 8. We had to drive back till the outskirts of Bikaner and then head towards NH11. As soon as we entered the NH11, we were stopped by a police patrol and were asked to show the papers. The policewala verified my license, RC and insurance. He also asked for the PUCC which I showed to him. He asked a few questions about from where we were coming and where we were headed. After wasting 15 minutes of our time, he finally let us go and we started again. I was planning to reach Sikar around 3-3.30 and then break for lunch. The journey was fine and road was also very good. I was able to consistently put on a speed of 100 kph very easily. We were moving around very comfortably when suddenly, another police patrol stopped our car. I asked the policeman about what had happened and he told me that I was overspeeding. I was surprised for being the only one who was stopped as there were so many other cars and vehicles which were passing at a far greater speed than myself. May be it was because of the Delhi registration number that I was getting this special treatment. Since I didn’t want to argue, I asked him what is the fine. He told me that they will impound the license and I would have to collect it from court. I thought that was stupid. May be it was a simple ploy to scare and extract more money out of people. I told him that I want to settle then and there only. He showed me the challan copy wherein it was written about impounding only. He asked me if I could visit again after 15 days to the court and if I am a frequent visitor. Annoyed, I told him that I still had a lot of distance to travel and I was with family and small kids and they should stop harassing me. Finally after a lot of debate they agree to take money and asked me to write on the challan that since I am from Outstation and I cannot visit the court, I want to settle in cash. They took Rs. 700 fine and let us go. I wonder what portion of that money would go to the govt anyhow. I asked him the way to Chomu and he told me that I needn’t go till chomu for going to Delhi. He told me to take the state highway from sikar to kotputli which would be faster and shorter. It was the biggest mistake I made and I took the route suggested by him. It took us inside the sikar city where a lot of road work was being done and we got stuck in traffic. After an ordeal of almost 1 hour we could come out of the city and reach the state highway. It was already 4 pm and we had not even had our lunch. On the state highway, I got the tank filled up and we stopped at a dhaba for lunch. We also freshened up at the dhaba and when we resumed our journey it was almost 5 and we had around 250 more kms to cover. The state highway was narrow but the road was good and was surrounded by small hills. It was as if I was driving in a valley surrounded by mountains. However being a state highway after every few kms there was a village or town and we had to break our speed for the passing by people or the animals. We took the bypass to ‘Neem Ka thana’ and thereafter the problem began. The road after the bypass was not in a good shape and it had a lot of pot holes. Maintenance work was also going on the road due to which there was a lot of dust as well. It was already starting to get dark and all I wanted was to reach the NH8 before it was completely dark. This stretch of 50 Kms seemed so long that I had to check a couple of times with Gmaps if I am driving on the correct road. Finally at around 6.30 Pm we were finally able to join the NH8 at Kotputli and we took a sigh of relief. As always there was a lot of traffic on the jaipur- Delhi highway as I tried to reach home as soon as possible. We rode non stop for the next 150 odd kilometers and finally entered Delhi. However, it was around 9 when we entered Delhi but we were welcomed with a massive jam at the airport to Dhaula Kuan road. Finally at around 10.15 pm, we reached our home.

It took us 5 days to cover around 2200 Kms and I must say, it was indeed a great road trip.
I would like to thank the BCMT forum and specially to Mr. Yogesh Sarkar for helping me in planning this trip. You guys are doing a great job helping fellow travelers and making our journey's wonderful.

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