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Camel Safari in India
Yes! A ship, except that this time the ship is an animal, Camel popularly known as the ship of the desert. Camel Safari's are such animal rides that need both skill and imagination to explore the mirages of desert.
The Thar Desert in India is a world of its own, an unrelieved ocean of sand, dotted with dunes and patchily covered with xerophytic shrubs, with its own distinctive wildlife. The best wildlife camel safaris one can come across is around the Aravalli region of Rajasthan, in the Sariska Wildlife Sanctuary. An interesting variation of the wilds can also be seen in the Rann of Kutch.
Deserts have since long exerted an irresistible charm on the psyche of the humans, the landscape inspiring different emotions in different people. And what better way to explore this magical realm than on a camel back, for a camel safari is one of the most adventurous of experiences, and indeed a novel way to 'discover' the desert.
Camel safaris trace their origins to the time of trade between India and China, when camel caravans would journey along established trade routes laden with spices and herbs and jewels. They provide an opportunity to get a glimpse of traditional Indian life in the desert, with all the hardships, the beauty and the desolation.
The accommodation on the way consists of primitive thatched mud huts, and the way of life-though hospitable-is entirely ethnic.
Camel safaris generally cover the area around Jaisalmer, Bikaner or Jodhpur, popularly known as the desert circuit. The duration can vary between one day and two weeks. Big towns are not usually on the route though there is no definite route that you have to adopt.
Route navigation in the desert is an acquired art, and caravans must be manned by riders who not only know how to study the stars, but also recognise the shifting sands of the terrain.
A camel safari is exciting, but is not exactly a relaxing vacation. Unless you are accustomed to horse-riding, a day-long camel ride will be tiring. Even if you are accustomed to horse-riding, since the gait of the camel is quite different, it may take some time to get used to it.
Keeping in your seat as the camel raises or lowers itself to the ground, can appear at first to be a losing battle.
However, whether tiring or relaxing, a camel safari is bound to be a unique experience.