After watching sunrise fromthe terrace of Renuka hotel, we drove towards Tanot Mata Mandir.
We started early today as we had to reach Tanot Mata Mandir which is 120km from Jaisalmer city, and very close to Indian Border.The drive throughout till temple is filled with scenic beauty of sand dunes. We could see only Thar Desert all around us. And what a landscape it painted, reminding me of all those movie songs that are shot in desert. The fun started when we started to sing them out loud. On the way we crossed the Indira Gandhi Canal, which is after Ramgarh village. This canal is considered to be the lifeline of people of Rajasthan, especially those living in desert areas. As we neared the temple, we saw many military trucks, jeeps passing by, carrying the army soldiers who stay away from their family to keep us safe and sound with our family. We saluted them and each of them acknowledged it with a humble smile. At around 10.00 am we reached Tanot Mata Temple.
This is the last point where civilians can visit without permission. The temple is known for its significance during Indo-Pak war of 1965. It is said that, India soldiers took refuge in the temple, hundreds of shells/canons fell but couldn’t harm the temple. Inside the Tanot mata temple, we saw some of canons kept on display that fell during the war. After a quick visit, we got busy in getting permission to see Indian border –BP609. It took us 1hr approx to finally get permission, but it was totally worth it, as it’s not every day that you could Indian soldiers standing day-night to guard our borders. When we reached BP609, the soldier there asked for the permission slip, after providing him that we chatted, asking him about the borders, his family and his hometown etc. There was a barbed wire boundary running for miles marking the end of territory. The soldier told us that there is 24hrs electricity at the border, even if there is breakdown in anywhere in india there is still electricity there. After spending some more time at BP609, we headed back to Jaisalmer city visiting Gantewala temple which is some 5km away from Tanot mata temple.
At Ramgarh we stopped for lunch in a small dhabba. Though the place was small, the food was delicious especially sev-tomato curry (a rajasthani speciality). Once in the city, we went to our room for a quick freshen up and headed to the much awaited Sam Sand Dunes. When we reached there we saw the vast Thar Desert inviting us towards itself with open arms.
There was lots of hustle-bustle going on of tourists coming and going, the camel owners calling out to entice tourists to hire their camels or cart, still there was a sense of serenity that provided me tranquillity, beckoning me to explore more of this sea of sand.
Since there were 8 of us, we hired a camel cart as it sounded more economical than individual camels. The cart took us around the sand dunes; we were too mesmerized to speak for first few minutes and then came the pic spree, where we just couldn’t stop clicking. The cart fellow was a jolly guy chatting with us, telling desert stories.
He also showed us seashells, which one can sometimes find in this desert, telling us that once a vast sea existed in the place where we stood now and because of climatic changes on earth, the sea formed the mighty Himalayas leaving a immeasurable and magnificent Thar desert behind. We got down at a spot with sand dunes and enjoyed ourselves playing with the fine sand, letting it loose from our hands, making different poses for camera and watching the sun set to our hearts content.The sunset was a pretty sight, changing colour of sand from bright afternoon yellow to setting sun orange to almost gone red to pure calm white.
When it started to get dark and cold, we decided to head back to hotel renuka. It was around 7-7.30pm when we reached back to our room. All of us were too tired to go out for dinner; hence we ordered food in the room itself. Also we had heard that a shop owned by a Mr. Bhatia sells amazing laddoos, and as we were thinking of going out to get them, the hotel caretaker offered to get them for us. We were delighted to hear this and asked him to arrange laddoos. Thus at dinner, the caretaker came with our ordered food and the delicious laddoos. We had a merry time; chatting, laughing and enjoying the tasty food. After dinner, we went up on the terrace that provided a great view of Jaisalmer fort. We stood there watching the fort glow with the night lighting and enjoying the cold weather.
Later around 11.00 pm we retired to our respective rooms.