Discover India|March - April 2020

The ethereal sand dunes of Jaisalmer, in Rajasthan, came alive with music concerts and art workshops at the Reth Festival held earlier this year.

LEARNING ABOUT UNKNOWN, faraway lands, their erstwhile kings, and their rich histories, has always fascinated me. On a cold January morning, while flying to Rajasthan, I look down at the vast, barren land reflecting the many shades of gold, and rub my hands in glee as I am finally about to explore one of my dream destinations.

Jaisalmer is located in the heart of the Thar desert. The car ride from the defense airport to the main town is an adventure. Narrow roads sparsely lined with desert shrubs and trees, an odd camel at every turn, and the majestic fort around which the entire city flourishes—everything affirms the image of Jaisalmer that I have had gathered from storybooks. Every haveli, camel, and local I encounter during this trip are parts of an elaborate story that I have weaved in my head over the years.

As the car comes to a halt, I stick my head out of the window to catch a glimpse of my stay, a 19th-century ancestral property called Narayan Niwas Palace. Noticing my fascination, my colleague and travel partner Priyanka recommends that I watch the famous Indian director Satyajit Ray’s movie Sonar Kella, which is based in Jaisalmer.


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March - April 2020