The world knows Rajasthan for its magnificent palaces and remarkable forts. While its cities with palatial architecture lie on the forefront of this region, it has more stories to tell than that of the maharajas. Within the Thar Desert, (also known as the Great Indian Desert) is a completely different side of Rajasthan. Beyond the usual sand dunes and camels rides, we had a unique and memorable desert experience in Rajasthan. Here’s our story:
Camp Thar: A Luxury Desert Camp in Osian
Located near the desert town of Osian, around 60km from Jodhpur, we found ourselves in the luxurious Camp Thar. The unique desert camp is set close to some small sand dunes. The beautifully decorated grounds reminded us of haveli hotels, the only difference was we were in the desert!
During our visit, we stayed in one of Camp Thar’s Classic Tents, a step up from the usual Swiss tent. While it looked like a “tent”, it was really more like a hotel room with a comfortable bed, hot shower and air conditioning. The comfort this room provided was perfect for the heat in Rajasthan during summer (we were there in mid-July). Most desert camps actually close during this time of year so we were very glad to be accommodated even though it was low season. Apart from the Classic Tent, Camp Thar has various accommodation options for different kinds of travellers.
Camels and the Desert
Having done a camel trek in the Sahara desert before (it was quite uncomfortable), we decided to opt out of the usual tourist camel ride in the Thar desert. Instead of the camel ride, we went for a walk around the sand dunes located close to Camp Thar. We saw a couple of camels there resting under the shade of trees, probably glad they didn’t have to carry another set of tourists around the sand dunes. While the sand dunes are nothing like the Sahara Desert (Morocco) or those in Huacachina (Peru), they were pleasant enough for a stroll.
A Jeep Safari in Rajasthan
Late in the afternoon, when it was cooler, we hopped on a jeep to start our desert safari. I remember how we enjoyed the 4WD trip we did in Huacachina before so we opted for this kind of tour. During the jeep safari, we saw a different side of the desert. We saw scrub forest lands, small villages and different animals that live in the Thar Desert. We later made a stop at one of the settlements. There, we met a local family and were introduced to their way of life. These rural communities have lived in the Thar desert for generations and rely on agriculture to get by — they grow crops and raise livestock. They live such such simple lives in comparison to the luxurious lives of the former maharajas in cities like Jaipur, Bundi and Jodhpur.
Sunset and Sand Dunes
Our jeep raced against the sunset and made its way to what they call “sunset point.” The best part? We had the place to ourselves. The colours of the sky were amazing and we enjoyed taking silhouette photos against the sand dunes. As the sun went lower into the horizon, we had our last took at the great panoramic view of the Thar Desert — a mix of scrub forest, agricultural lands and portions of sand dunes.
Traditional Rajasthani Dinner
Back at Camp Thar, a traditional Rajasthani dinner awaited us. Some of the dishes included dal, rice, potato pakora and rogan josh (a kind of mutton stew). The food was delicious! The service was amazing during dinner and since Jon and I were the only guests, we really felt the great hospitality.
Folk Dance Performance by Kalbeliya
Packages at Camp Thar include activities such as a bonfire and fireworks. As it was low season and we were the only guests, we were quite glad they didn’t go to too much trouble. Nevertheless, they continued with the folk dance performance at night.
Kalbeliya tribes are known to be snake charmers of the Thar desert. Apart from this,they are also known for their music and dance. A pair of women in beautifully adorned clothes graced us with an outstanding dance performance during dinner. They even invited me to dance along for one song. It was so much fun and truly memorable (Jon was glad that he wasn’t asked to dance though!).
Location: Thar Desert in Osian (near Jodhpur), India
Camp Thar is located in the Thar Desert near Osian, around 60km from Jodhpur. From Jodhpur, you can arrange for private car with Camp Thar for a certain fee. An alternative would be to take a train or bus from Jodhpur then an auto-rickshaw to get to the camp. They can probably pick you up from the train/bus station if you inform them ahead of time.
Disclaimer: We were hosted by Camp Thar during our visit to the Thar Desert (Osian), India. Thoughts and opinions in this post are our own.
Camp Address: Pratap Nagar Road, Osian
Tel No.: +91 998 282 3333 / +91 998 287 3333
Corporate Office Address: 411, Aks Height, 9th and 10th C Road Sardarpura, Dist. Jodhpur 342303
Tel No.: +91 291 2647555 / +91 998 282 5555
Email Address: email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org
What do you think of Camp Thar? Did this review inspire you to stay in this hotel in Osian? Let us know.