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Old 30th December 2009, 10:53   #1
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Default Tales from the golden dunes and the white flats

A salt flat has salt. Lots of salt. And it is flat. Very very flat. Well mostly. But sometimes that changes. The flat gives way to crop circles, and the salt becomes a dust storm.

A sand dune is a dune made of sand. It has footsteps, both camels and human. But sometimes that changes too. The dune gets tracks, is demolished as 4 tonnes pound on the slopes, and 255 horses are unleashed.

This Christmas weekend, was a trip to remember. Two safari's one 3 liter and one 2.2, both 4x4 and weighing in excess of 4 tonnes decided to take the road which was not there


A few teaser pics.....?
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A 2000kms journey to the heart of the dune country. To the forts of Jaisalmer and Jodhpur, to the ruins of Khaba and the Rann of Jaisalmer, and the barren bleak salt flat of Sambhar.

After snow and the mountains, its indeed a welcome change!
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Old 30th December 2009, 11:04   #2
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Excellent start tanvir. Light looks good and so is the sky. Expecting a great set of photos soon.

And oh, don't make us wait for long.
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Old 30th December 2009, 11:13   #3
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Wow, nice teaser shots... Didn't the camel know a long exposure shot was in progress?
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Old 30th December 2009, 11:13   #4
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yeeeaahh!!!! I am grinning ear-to-ear to have found your thread so early.
Excellent set of teaser photographs!!!
Looks like Rajasthan is the destination of the season now after ladakh.
Photograph is what exciting me and looking forward eagerly for the complete set.
Please don't make us wait too long.


Manish.
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Old 30th December 2009, 11:18   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rudra Sen View Post
Excellent start tanvir. Light looks good and so is the sky. Expecting a great set of photos soon.

And oh, don't make us wait for long.
Next installment coming sooon!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
Wow, nice teaser shots... Didn't the camel know a long exposure shot was in progress?
I told him statue statue statue, but it kept munching. trance_nut actually was trying 300 second shots... lets see how he faired

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fordmanchau View Post
yeeeaahh!!!! I am grinning ear-to-ear to have found your thread so early.
Excellent set of teaser photographs!!!
Looks like Rajasthan is the destination of the season now after ladakh.
Photograph is what exciting me and looking forward eagerly for the complete set.
Please don't make us wait too long.


Manish.
Yup, when it gets 5 degrees in Delhi, the 12-13 of Rajasthan is a welcome change!
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Old 30th December 2009, 11:25   #6
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Default The start : Nighmare on NH8

Last time we did Jaisalmer was in October 2008. We started at 6:30am, and were happily sipping coffee at CCD at 11am.
But today it was different.
6:30am we are out, and trance_nut and his black beast are already at Dhaula Kuan, a good 30 minute headstart.
The destination is McDonalds Manesar where were have breakfast.
Normally its just an hour run, but today NH8 is not benovelent.
there are trucks everywhere, and they are not moving.
Slowly we crawl, through service lanes, through the dirt berms, and its almost 9 when reach McDonalds.
Have a quick bite, and get back in the Jam, which has just turned worse.
Nothing moves, and as far as the eye can see there are trucks and more trucks.,
Small trucks, large trucks, wide trucks, long trucks. All these trucks have one thing in common. They are not moving.
So while I take the service lane, and the dirt tracks, Nitin takes a right, and heads towards pataudi and the villages.
After agonizing hour we finally escape haryana. Its past 10am, and we have a quick tea break.
The highway is waiting.
Destination is Dudu, which should have happened at 11am.

But its lunchtime when we finally reach there, and have lunch at a nondescript dhaba.
Finally 3pm, we take the right turn towards Sambhar

Thanks to sudev's directions, we are on the road to the temple, and its marked by signboards also.
In my overeagerness, I go into the first salt flat I see, only to discover its just an offshoot of the lake.

But we get back on road soon, and its 4pm, when we are near the temple hill, on the main Sambhar lake bed.

Time for some photography....?
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But I cannot hold the camera for long. The white salt flat is tempting, and the drift circus starts..............
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Old 30th December 2009, 11:30   #7
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Tanvir, wonderful teaser there, i loved the pictures, the camel picture is wonderful. So my favourite author is back in action, you have my undivided attention for the next couple of weeks. Hope you would bring in narrations as splendid as done before.
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Old 30th December 2009, 11:40   #8
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Great Start Tanvir. Nice photos of the white elephant and the black beast. Please continue I am hooked to this thread. I am happy to see one more travelogue from you.
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Old 30th December 2009, 11:43   #9
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Default Sambhar...

Sambhar lake.
Well its a lake, and it even has water, sometimes. Thankfully, that sometime was not now. And the entire lake is dry and flat.
What better surface to let loose the 140 horses, and go round and round.

Drifting is a thing best done on RWD sports cars, but when you have a surface so slippery, even the tata behemoths can go bonkers!

The technique is simple,.
Touch 30-40kmph in second gear, give the steering a twitch, the tail steps out. Then floor the pedal. Keep doing it and you go round and round. But thats not drifting, that donuts.
for drifting, as you put the pedal to the metal, you give opposite lock
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Jaisalmer is far far away, we are short of time, but we don't care. This flat is a hoot to drive!
Yay!

In the background is the temple hill
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Crop circles in the flats, courtesy the tata twins
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Our destination is nava, and we have to cross the entire sambhar lake for that.
Of course there is a road cutting through, but we will go as the white elephant flies, on the arrow straight course, to the town of Nawa.

But before that, its time to drift!
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The last shot before we exit the flats, and head on our long long lonely journey.. to Jaisalmer!
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Old 30th December 2009, 11:56   #10
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Lovely pics. And very well said abt NH8.
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Old 30th December 2009, 11:57   #11
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Look who's back with a Travelogue!!

The first shot in the teaser post is awesome. Looking forward to the remainder of the travelogue.

Reclaiming your life, eh?
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Old 30th December 2009, 12:28   #12
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Amazing pictures, good for a centre page Safari print ad. keep them coming.
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Old 30th December 2009, 12:36   #13
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Very good. Me likes. Awesome fun you had - but boss - the pics are not your regular standard - quality's a bit variable! The sky's very washed out in a couple of them.

/in 4x4-lust yet again but I will stay quiet given my home loan
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Old 30th December 2009, 12:45   #14
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Quote:
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Very good. Me likes. Awesome fun you had - but boss - the pics are not your regular standard - quality's a bit variable! The sky's very washed out in a couple of them.

/in 4x4-lust yet again but I will stay quiet given my home loan
Well all this sambar lake stuff was done in 2WD. 4WD came into play on the dunes

As for quality, blame it on the light! and couple of shots are with bare bones P&S
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Old 30th December 2009, 13:24   #15
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Default Country roads....

Sambhar done, it was time to focus on the onward journey. The sun will set soon, but no worries here, because these rural Rajasthan highways are deserted, hardly any truck traffic.
But one small problem. they are so narrow in places, that you have to get on the shoulder for every oncoming vehicle.
Our route now is Nawa- Didwana-Nagaur-Phalodi-Jaisalmer.
The 90km Didwana-Nagaur stretch is a true nightmare, with real narrow roads.

On the way, we spot flamingoes.
Low light means ISO 1600!
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Flamingo's done, we head on the rural highways, and fill up the tank after Nagaur.
Its late night, and dinner will have to wait till we hit NH15 at Phalodi.

Have a quick bite there, and then its the boring night run to J'mer.

We reach there late at night, and Shahi palace guys have put us up in lousy rooms at Oasis Haveli or something.
But its a matter of one night, for tomorrow we will go to the desert, and when we come back, better rooms await us.
For now, its time to rest.
We have been on the road for 18 hours...
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