After many years travelling around
in high mountains, amidst snow capped peaks, bathing in mountain
springs and sleeping under the stars in lush green valleys, OutThere
Adventurers is now venturing into the desert sands of the Thar. And we
are giving up motorised forms of transports and travelling by ship -
the ship of the desert.
The plan is to travel through the
folds of the dunes that dot the landscape of the incredible desert of
western India. But we are not planning to wander away into the loose,
shifting sands and the rolling dunes of the desert, we are leaving that
for the next trip. This time around, we have a fairly fixed route in
mind, a destination to head towards and a tentative schedule to do it
in. A self-sufficient and completely self-contained expedition, we will
however, be living almost like the proverbial desert rats.
And this is your opportunity to
become the famed rodent, surviving in the harshest conditions. Aptly,
this first-of-its-kind adventure from OutThere Adventurers is called
The Desert Rats.
You have probably been an
adventurer having either rafted down some white waters or ridden your
motorcycle or trekked up and down the mountain or maybe even jumped the
bungy. But have you ever wondered what it would be like to sit on the
back of a camel and consciously head off into the wilderness? If you
been to Rajasthan you might have undertaken the customary “camel
safari”, but this Expedition being undertaken by The Desert Rats is way
beyond anything you might have ever experienced, or imagined.
Do you want to be a desert rat? If
you do, this is your lucky day.
We are after all headed right into the heart of the desert. And deserts
are renowned for their extremes of temperature. The scorching sun
through the day will ensure that we flirt on the fringe of heatstroke
and dehydration through the day. And as the sun set over the horizon,
the chill sets in. It is not surprising to find differences in the day
and night temperatures to be twenty or thirty degree Celsius, making
the comfort of a sleeping bag a very pleasant prospect. The temperature
during the day is likely to be in the thirties while at night it can
plunge to two or three degree Celsius. The very thought of the coming
day and the return of the scorching sun makes one pray for a long
night. While you are in summer clothes in the day, the jackets are out
The ‘survival’ water ration is
five liters per person per day. If you want to live a life of luxury in
the middle of the unrelenting desert, you should be drinking upwards of
15 liters a day. But then, all drinking water has to be carried for the
duration of the trip and all that will be available is a little more
than survival quantity. Dehydration is a possibility, so ensure that
you drink water but drink it conservatively.
This is going to be a completely self-contained Expedition. Each member
will be on one camel. There will be ‘support’ camels carrying the
luggage, food, water, camping gear, etc. And a few extra camels just in
case a particular camel decides that enough is enough and s/he does not
want to travel anymore. It has been known to happen.
We will be camping along the way,
sleeping in tents, three persons to a tent. A toilet tent provides the
privacy for morning duties. Water is very scarce in the desert and we
will be carrying just about enough for drinking, so there will not be
any water to wash away the dirt at the end of a tiring day.
The schedule and the
The Desert Rats team will comprise 10 individuals. The team will
assemble in New Delhi and then take an overnight train to Jaisalmer.
The first two days will be spent visiting the sights and sounds of
Jaisalmer and getting used to the camels for the adventure ahead. The
expedition into the desert will commence from Sam on the morning of the
third day. The first couple of days are expected to be the most taxing
when the adventurers start getting used to riding a camel for extended
Our steeds, the ships of the
deserts, are living beings and they too get tired. On an average a
camel is not expected to walk for more than 25 to 30 km a day on deep
sand and dunes. More than the distance, they should not be taxed beyond
five or six hours a day.
Our daily schedule will begin just
before sunrise. After an early breakfast, we break camp and hit the
‘road’ by seven in the morning. By lunch time, we pitch tent and enjoy
the many wonders of the desert for the rest of the day. As night falls,
and if there are fallen branches and twigs available, we can party
around the campfire. If we are lucky, our camel drivers will double up
as bards and we can join in as they sing typically Rajasthani folk
songs. After an early dinner, we retire to our tents and await the
adventures of the next day.
We will also try and camp close to
villages to get a first hand feel of what a typical village life is all
about in the deep desert.
There are some incredible sights and sounds that we will be witness to
during the journey, places steeped in history, abounding in man-made
and natural wonders. We will also be riding through the Desert National
Park. The total distance we hope to cover is about 300km. Depending on
how we are doing for time, how the crew is feeling, the permit
situation for visits to the border, etc the route might get modified as
we go along.
Incidentally, we expect to be on
the dunes for five to six days.
Some attractions on the
The two big towns on our route are Jaisalmer and Barmer while the sand
dunes at Sam are a must-see. The golden hued fort in Jaisalmer is a
sentinel to the bleak desertscape from its high perch on the hill,
housing an entire township within its ramparts. It has an enchanting
cobweb of narrow lanes dotted with some lovely havelis, three
beautifully sculptured Jain temples dating between the 12th and 15th
century AD and five interconnected palaces. The Patwon-ki-Haweli is the
most elaborate and magnificent of all temples in Jaisalmer. It has
exquisitely carved pillars and extensive corridors and chambers. One of
the apartments of this five storey haveli is painted with beautiful
Bada Bagh is a fertile oasis on
the bank of an artificial lake. Dense trees and royal cenotaphs, with
beautifully carved ceilings and equestrian statues of the former rulers
The ripples on the wind-caressed
Sam sand dunes, that create an enchanting mirage, are a sure delight
for trigger-happy photographers. At a distance of 16km from Jaisalmer,
lies the ancient capital of Jaisalmer, Lodurva. An important pilgrim
spot of the Jain community with some magnificent Jain temples, the
Toran or the ornate arches at the main entrance of the temples and its
splendid carvings are noteworthy. A Kalpataru or a divine tree within
is the main attraction.
Salim Singh-ki-Haweli is an
extraordinary mansion in yellow stone covered with intricate carvings
and has an elaborate projecting balcony on the top storey. At a
distance of 18km from Jaisalmer, Mool Sagar is a pleasant shady grove
and a perfect picnic spot.
At a distance of 17km from
Jaisalmer, lying on the Barmer Road, the Wood Fossil Park takes you
back to the Jurassic period, when the whole Thar region lay under the
sea. It has a 180 million year old fossils, the geological landmarks
and relics of the Thar. Barmer, comprising small villages, offers the
variety of the desert and is popular because of its handicrafts.
Munaba is 119km away from Barmer and on the Pakistan border. Khuri,
40km southwest of Jaisalmer, again on the border of Pakistan, is famous
for its waves of golden and. The Jodha Rajputs live here and even
today you can see the stamp of traditional Rajput culture in them.
This Expedition is for 10 adventurers. This is a unique Expedition and
very different from what has been undertaken in the desert in the past.
It is going to be exciting, strenuous, tough and the memories will last
a lifetime. So, if you are late in registering for it, you might find
yourself left out since all the camels might already have been booked
by other more keen adventurers who want to join in this incredible
journey. So hurry in your confirmation.
Things to carry
In the city, heat makes us want to wear the least possible clothes.
Contrary to life in the city, travelling through the desert can be
extremely taxing due to the lack of moisture in the air. One does not
visibly sweat and that makes dehydration lurk just around the corner
and creep up when you least expect it.
You have to dress in layers so
that the air trapped between layers keeps you relatively comfortable. A
wide brimmed sun hat is a survival necessity. A thin but big towel is
essential to cover your head and face from the winds that bring with it
tiny particles of sand that sting when they hit exposed skin. Good
boots with ankle support are a very good idea. Lots of sun screen
lotion will keep sunburn at bay.
How to book
If this document has interested you in becoming a member of The Desert
Rats and you want to join in this incredible, spectacular and awesome
OutThere Adventurers Expedition, book yourself now. Once we hear from
you, we will let you know all other relevant details like things to
carry, how to prepare and the costs.
Remember, the ships of the desert
are waiting for The Desert Rats.