We had planned to explore Desert Circuit by road. The cities that we finalised for this journey were Bikaner, Jaisalmer and Jodhpur. The roads in Rajasthan are in good shape as compared to other parts of India and this makes road travel a pleasing experience. The travel in India always throws beautiful experiences. While our stay in Jaisalmer, we have planned to cover “Tanot” and “Longewal” as well. Both are border areas adjoining Pakistan and famous in their own ways. Tanot is a place famous for “Tanot Mata Temple” i.e. Temple of Mother Goddess Tanot. It has a history going back to 1965 India-Pakistan war, which I will cover in a separate post. Tanot is about 120 kms from the city of Jaisalmer and Longewal is further 40 kms.
The road till Tanot and from Tanot to Longewal is a desert and some of it also falls in the “Desert National Park”. While driving you might also encounter Black Bucks and The Great India Bustard, a endangered bird specie, if you are lucky.
Once you cross the city of Jaisalmer and reach Ramgarh which is about 65 kms from the city, the picture starts changing, less vegetation, Acacia and thorny bushes and very less traffic. Ramgarh is the last major town on this route. The roads along border are maintained by BRO-Border Road Organisation and they do some wonderful task of maintaining the same in very harsh conditions.
It took us about 4 hours to reach Tanot. This is the place up to which one can go without permit. If you want to see the International Border which is BP 609 (Border Post 609) then you need to take a permit from BSF office. You should check at Ramgarh, because at times the same is issued from there, otherwise the same can be collected at Tanot only. Permit is not a guarantee, it depends on conditions on the border. We spent some time in the temple and took blessing of goddess and moved further to Longewal.
The road from Tanot to Longewal is isolated and beautiful. you will not get any mobile connectivity and if you face some problem with the vehicle then only army and BSF can help you. You have to wait till the time some vehicle passes by, it could be hours. There are small hamlets in between. We also stopped to feel the heat in the month of October and enjoy few moments on the sand dunes. We also witnessed large plastic containers kept along side road, which were used for water storage, which I believe was done by BSF. From Longewal there is another road that connects Ramgarh. Longewal has war museum and you can see Tanks of Pakistan captured and kept there.
Thought the journey for us was enjoyable but wandering at the life of people of these hamlets made us think how harsh conditions could be. We get everything in those supermarkets or get the same delivered at doorstep, we waste so much of water never ever realizing the value of same for these people. We have so much to complain about our city life, about the facilities that we get but we never think and compare our self with people living in these harsh conditions and are still happy. There are always few lessons to be learnt from Travel Across India.
Few things to remember
Always keep enough water while going there.
Tanot has a canteen managed by BSF which serves water, cold drinks, Samosa and Pakoras, but it is advisable to keep some eatables in your car.
There is an ICICI bank ATM at Tanot.
Always check your tyre pressure and make sure you have enough fuel.
Always keep type Inflator and Puncture repair kit for any emergency.