Khuri is about 50 km. from Jaisalmer and to reach it one has to take a double lane road winding through the Desert National Park of Jaisalmer district. It takes about 3 hours on a bicycle, however, one must carry enough water and spare puncture/repair kits with them because the road winds through some very desolate patches. This was one of my most enjoyable rides and I had booked 2 days i.e. 23 and 24 Jan, in a tent resort at Khuri. Am going to split it up into two blogs just for old times sake.
There are two options to visit sand dunes from Jaisalmer, Sams or Khuri. Sams is considered to be overflowing with tourists and is totally commercialized. Khuri on the other hand gets fewer visitors and one can find peace and tranquility here. The reason for this is that the Khuri road is double lane while Sams has a four lane road.
I started off late, around 9 am from Jaisalmer and was at Khuri by 1 pm. afternoon. The ride is truly scenic and enjoyable except for some tourist traffic which follows no road riding rules, as usual. Tourist vehicles overtaking each other at high speeds on the slim double lane road means that cyclists like myself have to get off the track to save our skins. The other issue is broken beer bottles that one can see right from where the road branches off at Jaisalmer, up to Khuri. Some of the broken shards of glass lie on the road and are big enough to rip a tire. You can’t lose your way to Khuri, just follow the beer bottles lying on the roadside.
About 35 km. from Khuri I was invited unexpectedly for a cup of tea by some of the local folks. I tried to get away using some lame excuse but they persisted and I had to give in. The short stay with these friends was memorable.
A photo op after a warm cup of tea, with my new found friends
I had promised to post these pics on the net, so here we are ! A complete blog has already been made in my vernacular Hindi to thank these folks.
There are some settlements on the way to Khuri but beyond that the desert just takes over. One remarkable aspect of the landscape just near a village called Sipla was the presence of hundreds of windmills.
I was told that many of these windmills have been installed using donations made by celebrities who came to visit the Khuri sand dunes
Windmills on the way to Khuri
One aspect of bicycle touring through deserts are the very cold mornings, temperatures can be anywhere from 0-5 degree Celsius, to the moderately hot afternoons with temperatures going well above 30 degrees; this is in the winters. Summer temperatures can touch 50 degree Celsius in the afternoons and summers are not recommended for bicycle touring here. Cyclists starting out early often feel a lot of discomfiture in the afternoons when the layer of warm inners start biting.
A reminder that I was in the National Park
At Khuri, I found the tent to be very spacious and comfortable. The rates were quite nominal, since this was the off season.
My faithful MTB outside the tent, I used to park it inside the tent canopy but outside the tent opening, after sunset
Inside the tent, quite spacious and equipped with multiple power points and an attached bathroom
I booked a camel ride on the 23rd of Jan. itself. The camel rides start around 4:30 pm and take tourists to a point on the sand dunes called ‘Sunset Point’. I wanted to finish this business by the 23rd Jan. and have the next day to myself to service my bike and take a walk through the village and the up to the dunes.
My camel ride, it was a slow walk to the dunes, but the camel is the only beast that can walk comfortably on the dunes
The camel ride was quite bumpy and I could barely hold on to my mobile cam, so am not posting the jittery video here. The view from the sand dunes was scenic. Khuri is probably the last village in this direction and its all desert till the India-Pakistan border.
More pics and vids. in Khuri — II ….