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Welcome back!!

Without further ado, here is the complete breakdown of our road trip.

Day 1: 15th December 2018

6 am: We pick up the ZoomCar from the allocated parking lot in Mahipalpur. That was only 20 minutes away from us – so it was perfect.

7 am: We all choose a spot inside the car and began to ride away from the concrete lanes of Delhi. Since we did not know how to drive, I and my friend were banished to the last seats in the car. Still was fun though!

Inside the ZoomCar

Niharika, Deepak and Saransh up to some shenanigans in the ZoomCar

10 am: The snacks we bought came in handy and everyone dove into the packet and started passing around munchies. I ate way too much caramel coated popcorn.

Sambhar Lake salt train

The narrow gauge train in Sambhar carrying salt to the factory

1 pm: We were nearing our first destination i.e. Sambhar Lake and the enthusiasm in the car was heavy. Tourist places in Jaipur are aplenty but not too many travellers know about Sambhar Lake. But of course, the lunch pangs brought us first to a roadside dhaba. While munching on some aloo paranthas we saw herds of cows pass by the side of the road. The colours of the sun merging with the sandy landscape looked like a monochromatic dream come true.

2 pm: Oh we were so close now. The navigator was constantly on the Google Maps app trying to figure out the best way to reach Sambhar Lake. We stopped a number of times to ask for directions from the location and got helpful answers.

We discarded the main road to break into a smaller road off which had gorgeous views of sparse woodlands on both sides.

Photographing Sambhar Lake

Saransh taking our photo as Deepak looks on

Our friend had brought a drone camera along with him so this was the perfect opportunity to make use of it. We stopped at the side of the road as he began to set up the drone. This excursion took us about half an hour but we did have some kick-ass footage (which I am sure you will see in the blog).

The colours of the sun merging with the sandy landscape looked like a monochromatic dream come true.

3 pm: We finally saw the sign that said ‘Sambhar Lake’ ahead. The roads became dustier, whiter and slightly narrower. After a drive of a few kilometres, we were bestowed with the views of the gigantic salt lake towards our right. We all stuck out our necks and strained our eyes to see as much of it as possible, so much so that we almost missed the great big flock of camel heading toward the car.

Camels near Sambhar Lake

The horde of camels that we were much surprised to see

Now camels are not the most majestic looking creatures but in that gleaming orange light of the sun and the backdrop of the vast barren lake made the scene more cinematic than I had hoped for. There were a few cute baby camels too.

3.30 pm: As we drove toward the actual lake, we passed numerous open basins of salt water. We even saw a man driving a strange tractor looking vehicle in of some of the basins. I immediately realized that this is not just another of the tourist places in Jaipur. This was going to be something different!

On our right were these navy blue water basins and on our left were mounds and mounds of what looked like salt. They weren’t crystal white in colour but definitely gleamed in the sun. After driving forward for a few hundred meters, we finally reached the great Sambhar Lake.

The best part was watching the sun go down.

4 – 6.30 pm: This time that we spent frolicking around in the wide salt lake is not something I can describe or capture on film. The six of us were all alone and surrounded by miles and miles or cracked salt lands. Everyone started whipping out their Instagram pages and documenting as much of the gorgeousness as they could.

Sunset at Sambhar Lake

Niharika enjoying the setting orange sun

Our friend who was driving took the opportunity to pull a few stunts with the car as we sat in the back and let the salty wind whip our faces. Pure exhilaration I must say!

The best part was watching the sun go down. The oranges and blues gave way to redder and pinker colours in the sky and slowly the sun dipped back behind the great dry lake. The colours of sunset mixed with the crude and crackly salt plains under our feet and the lake made it feel like we were on a different planet altogether. Mars, as we concurred!

7 pm: We started the drive back to Jaipur. Next on our itinerary was Sariska National Park and we had to be in Jaipur to reach on time.

The Hosteller Jaipur private room

Inside the private room at The Hosteller Jaipur

9 pm: The ride was short and sweet because the entire time we kept marvelling at how we felt at the Sambhar Lake and the cute narrow gauge train that passed us by. We had beds booked for us at The Hosteller Jaipur.We choose this place because not only do they provide super competitive prices but the ambience and hospitality there is also bang on. They are also centrally located which makes this hostel the best place to stay at while you explore tourist places in Jaipur. I’d stayed here before and I knew my friends would gag when they saw their stylish terrace complete with an air bed.

11 pm: After a yummy meal and a couple rounds of Bluff, we hit the sack. We had to wake up super early for our jungle safari.

THINGS TO REMEMBER:

  • Make sure you are reaching Sambhar lake in the daytime. As evening sets, it becomes too dark to see anything. Also makes it more dangerous to drive along the narrow salt roads.
  • Sambhar is an ephemeral lake. Do not expect water during the summers or winters.
  • Paragliding and camping services are also available there. Make sure you research the vendors before you leave because the actual lake site was completely abandoned when we went.
  • Make sure your car has enough fuel. Getting stuck there would be a disaster.
  • The lake doesn’t completely dry up. The surface is dry but some areas are pretty swampy underneath. (Take it from me because I stepped unto the bed a bit too hard and sank knee deep into the mushy soil ugh)

INFO:

  • Distance from Delhi – 350 km.
  • Distance from Jaipur – 85 km.
  • Entry Fee – None.
  • Timings – None (But it is not advisable to be there after sundown).
  • Best Season to Visit – Just after the rains (for a full lake) or the ripe summers/winters (for a dry lake).
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO NOW:
  1. To visit our Youtube channel: Click here!
  2. To check out The Hosteller Jaipur: Click here!
  3. To read the first part of this blog series: Click here!
  4. To read the third part of this blog series: Click here!

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