Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Desert Train

In Rajasthan, we discovered that one very good way to view the desert was to take the morning train from Bikaner to Jaisalmer. From the comfort of our compartment seats, we were able to watch the train cut through the Thar desert. This is a relatively new line and was completed only a couple of years ago.

The train travels right along the desert shrubs and the sand. If you stare out long enough, you’ll see all the animals that you are likely to encounter in the desert – camels, dikdiks and all types of cattle.

There was just one drawback though. The blowing sand. No matter how much we tried, we couldn’t avoid the fine sand dust that got into our bags and clothes.

The Jaisalmer Express (Train 4704) at 7am from the Lalgarh station, which is a sister station to Bikaner. Perhaps due to a small bug in the railway reservations system, this train doesn’t show up when you search for trains departing Bikaner. You have to know enough to put in Lalgarh as the originating station, and I doubt that many try that.

Consequently, our train was practically empty. We had pretty much the whole compartment to ourselves, which is quite a luxury in a crowded country like India.

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