Thursday, December 31, 2015

Comforts of Thar Desert, Rajasthan

Comforts of Thar Desert, Rajasthan

After visiting Jaisalmer fort in night, we have enjoyed the Dome of Nature lighted by the full Moon. Next day morning we took a journey of the Thar desert under the same Dome lighted by the Sun. 

The entire desert of Thar was vegetated by shrubs and arid trees, i.e., Kera, Aakda, Thor, Ber, lana, luni, Khejri, Israeli babool, etc.  Bhuyee, a small shrubs silver in colour, carry soft cotton type material. People use it for making pillows. There is human efforts in planting arid trees to stabilize the sand dunes. Good rains over past few years is giving a green cover to the desert. Global warming may be changing the geography of the desert.

After a drive of 57 kms, when we entered into the Desert National Park, a beautiful Tawny eagle took its royal flight in front of us. Larks (dholars), the birds I was searching from my school days (the story of lark and its chicks), were otherwise not seen due to its colour mix with the land, flying and welcoming us by the passing of the vehicle at both sides of the road. Goraiya..o..goraiya...the desert has preserved many house sparrows. They were settled like a bulb decoration on Khejri trees.

Finally we reached to village Sudasari, the maternity home of the Great Indian Bustard. The area rich in chaniyo, the golden grass, was fenced for protection of the bustard eggs. Protecting these invaluable eggs from desert dogs, lizards, cattle, crows, etc, the forest officials do celebrate the event of new chick born with joy and gratitude. Mother is the great protector of its chicks. Till the she bustard remains with the egg, no animal can dare to damage the egg. But when she fly away for food and water, the enemies eat the egg. The forest department has started planting of bajara etc, and created water holes to provide food and water to the mother within the maternity home, so that she save the egg till the birth of the chick.

The mother can give one bird per annum. It can lay 6-8 eggs (in case of damage of previous) but once it sat over one egg, it doesn't give another egg. Thereafter, she spends her entire time in protection and rearing of the egg. The chick become the size of the mother in 3 months. It has 20 years life.

To add to our luck, the forest staff located the birds. We travelled into the area. The route was flooded with tennis balls. Tennis balls? Plenty of Kateri fruits (medicine for bronchitis) look like truck loads of tennis balls spread over the desert.

After a twenty minutes drive, when we reached to the location, we saw the bird. Aha.. what a beautiful bird it was! We saw the Great Indian Bustard, first time in life. They were four walking in the grass land. Unnoticed of the near one, as soon as our vehicle reach near to it, all four took a flight like a jet plane with powerful humming sound. Watching the 14 kg weight Great Indian Bustards flying up in the sky, a memory of lifetime.

The Great Indian Bustard lives in this area of Thar, Kutch and Cholitan (Pakistan) desert. It is critically endangered as its population estimated in the area is 120, of which 32 in Thar, 22 in Kutch and rest in Cholistan. Poor bird may be facing enmity of people across the border due to its name, "Great INDIAN Bustard". Renewable energy poles of wind mills may not be their threats but the electricity greed line wires put their life in danger.

It's desert. You can see other animals too: spadfoot toad, sidewinder snake, desert snake, shovel snouted lizard, desert ants, pants, large ears rabbit, scorpios, wolf spider, etc. It has kangaroo rats (lifts front two legs like kangaroo) that live whole like without drinking water. The kidneys of desert animals concentrated urine, so that they excrete less water.

Like Kutch Bhunga, the people live in 
Jhonpa house of round shape. The round shape gives protection against wind and the temperature fall by 7 degrees inside the house in Summer. Obviously, people need heavy rajayee in winter.

While, we had our tea at the Jhonpa Duty House of the Forest Department, an Indian Roller came flying and sat on the top of the Jhonpa, greeting good luck to us.

The foresters caught 5 Spiny tailed lizards from the poachers. Their spines were broken by the poachers. It's a herbivorous reptile lives in burrow. It closes the bill from outside for the safety. Still the poachers manage to catch them. They are used for making "sandhe ka tail" the oil/fat is aphrodisiac, used for joints pain and other problems. Selfish humans play with the nature.

It's desert, without watching black bucks (Chinkara), sheeps, goats, cattle, the trip to desert can't be finished.

In the evening we had camel ride on the sand dunes of village Sam. The village was converted into a tent city, flooded with camels, cars and tourists. It was a good fun to walk, jog and taking selfy in the sand dunes.

There was a cultural programme in the tent area. Champe Khan of Magniar community and his team were entertaining the tourists. They started with Ganpati Stuti, "Maharaj gajanand aavoni...mari sabhama rang barsavoni". The organisers start serving pakoda and tea to the guests.

They welcomed the tourists with the song, "Kesaria balam padharo mare desh", followed by "Alida maro gorband (necklace of camel of the groom) nakhralo". When the groom go for marriage, riding a decorated camel, people mostly look at the gorband, the necklace of the camel, not much at the groom! 

Now the time for Holi song, "Holi khelan mai gayee..Holiya mai ude re gulal" with the holi dance of award winner artist Lila. A dance to keep the joints active and lubricated. 

Jogi.. jugal bandi on kartal of 4 wood pieces, nimbuda song to remind the king to carry lemon for the queen to save her beauty from the black magic. And at last, the famous Garaba dance, where the Gujarati tourists, the youngs, the olds, the children, start taking joyful rounds in the company of Champe Khan's team.

We had a delicious dinner of famous dal, bati churma of Rajasthan. Churma...unable to forget that sweet taste! 

We concluded the day with kadai milk and pan at Hanuman choraya before going to bed.

Tired of the day long joyful journey of the Thar desert, we didn't notice when we fell asleep at the Forest Guest House, Jaisalmer. 

26 December 2015


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