Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Tour de Thar 2017 - Taking A Break In the Dunes Of Thar

Tour de Thar 2017

Taking A Break In The Dunes Of Thar

By Mrinal

Travelling and specially road trips have always excited me since childhood and when its gets more adventurous it is more interesting. I love driving and so does my best friend Naval Sharma.
The Western Motorsports had organised a self-drive expedition the Tour-de-Thar, 2017(“TDT”). Naval and I, took few days off from the usual work life and left to venture in the desert of Rajasthan.

With My Best Friend Naval Sharma - Tour de Thar

The D-day was on December, 24, we reached the rendezvous point met the other team members and participants introduced each other, we had early breakfast and the convoy moved on. The convoy had 5 vehicles plus a service vehicle and 17 of us. We were on our way to explore Rajasthan from a new and a very different perspective. We saw the temple of living God on the way and the Bullet Baba temple also known as Om Bana Temple.
Our first destination was a hut resort on the outskirt of Jodhpur in a village. Naval identified the hut and we unloaded our luggage from the car and made our selves comfortable. The caretaker of that place had organised nice hot cup of tea and a bonfire for all of us.  The beautiful stars lighted up the sky. We were served the local cuisine for the dinner, which was tasty and sumptuous.
The next day we went to the Mehrangarh Jodhpur Fort and were exploring the history of the Rajput clan. Our lunch was arranged at one of the restaurants which had the majestic Mehrangarh as the backdrop.  Post lunch Anukraman Singh / Digvijay Singh and Naval Sharma had organised a surprise birthday party at the rooftop of the restaurant which was really touching and I never felt that I was away from the family. Digvijay did the honour of smearing the cake on my face and every one was clicking my photos.

Celebrating My B'day - Tour de Thar

The next day we left for WMsar. We drove through the narrow back roads through villages and state highway exploring the beautiful lakes and ponds and the ruins of the forts.
The convoy moved on and the windmills welcomed us at WMsar. As we were reaching the campsite there was lots of excitement and fun, as we had to camp in the tents on a vast salt lake.
To reach our campsite we had drive through cross country track on a sandy terrain. Anukraman Singh told me and Rahul not to move till we get specific information on the radio as we were driving 2 WD vehicles and we were briefed about the risk of getting stuck in the sand.
Harsh Pabri our radio operator told me that the Nano and Innova should move to the campsite and maintain momentum. As we heard this we became too adventurous with our cars and the result of which that we got stuck in the sand. Anukraman said what happened and why did we move from our location. I said we were told to maintain the momentum by Harsh… HaHa… That was a real fun story.

Vast Expanse Of Thar - Tour de Thar

Ritesh arrived with his Fortuner to rescue us. The Fortuner towed out the Innova and Tata Nano was pushed out of deep sand by sheer man power and some “power” driving. Finally both the cars reached the campsite safely. Anukraman was gracious enough to become the chef for the evening and he made very delicious Junglee Maans (A shikaar recipe from the bygone era of Rajas and Maharajas) for all the non-vegetarian’s in the camp.  We had the bonfire and we had a lot of fun. We did the star gazing at night.
In the morning we saw the beautiful sunrise, it had so many colours and shade to it, which is not visible in our polluted cities, we took pictures of the sunrise.

Sunrise At Our Campsite - Tour de Thar

We moved on through the backroads and on our way we visited the famous temple of Tanot Mata, Longewala post and the Ghotaru fort.  All these 3 places reminded us of the sacrifices made by our defence forces.
We moved on to Sam our camping site, which was on the sand dunes. We had learnt from our past mistakes in WMsar and left our vehicles outside the village and hopped into the 4x4 vehicles.  The terrain was only for 4x4 vehicles anyway. The tent was being put and the bonfire preparation was also on, fresh food was being cooked. The dunes were looking so beautiful under the moonlight. I, Naval and Anukraman got up early in the morning to see the sunrise.  We had a photoshoot on the dunes.  Anukraman got camels for the camel ride and we all enjoyed the camel ride.

Camel Ride - Tour de Thar

We moved to Ossian, on our way we saw the abandoned villages of Kuldhara and reach Ossian, Naval had pre scheduled plans with his family, he said bye to the gang of TDT.  The bonfire was lit, the folk singer started to sing the folk songs one after the other and everybody was made to dance to the music.  In the morning we had the folk singers sing songs for us now in the backdrop of the sunrise. We had our breakfast and packed up.  Officially the TDT had concluded.  Jatin said bye to us and moved on to Jaipur little earlier than the convoy.

Bonfire - Tour de Thar

The convoy started a little in a relaxed manner and we again took the backroads to Jaipur and on the way we took our cars to the salt pan of Sambhar Lake. The experience of driving into the sunset at Sambhar Lake was amazing. 

With Our

These memories will always be with me forever. I didn’t know anyone when I started the expedition except Naval but by the end of the trip we all become friends and like a family. One thing I must mention would be that hats off to Anupama and Rahul to get their 5 year old daughter Kanika on the expedition, Kanika was the star of the expedition and she was no less than anybody in keeping up with the pace of the expedition.

Kudos to Western Motorsports for putting together such fabulous road trip, hope to join WM on the other expeditions.

Mrinal is a corporate lawyer by profession. He currently works 
for one of the leading law firm of India.

He was accompanied with his best friend Naval Sharma. 

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