Four Countries in 2 Weeks: Turkey, Bangladesh, Bhutan, and India
India Day 11 and 12 – Archery and a tour of Suryagarh followed by a camel ride at the Sam Sand Dunes of the Thar Desert. Ending the day on the 18 hour Jaisalmer Delhi Express Train.
The last day at Suryagarh was bittersweet. I had planned on only coming for a single day, but almost stayed for three, but all good times come to an end and there was still much to do before my train in the afternoon!
The breakfast in the morning was again wonderful especially the Belgian chocolate cake. I joined Anita the designer and ate a combination of western and Indian flavors. Peacocks wandered around the courtyard, adding to the regal atmosphere.
After the meal, Nakul helped organize my day which started with archery in their garden. I was a bit rusty to say the least but it was very relaxing. The magician boy even collected my missed arrows.
Once I had enough of embarrassing myself, I went on a guided tour of the Suryagarh grounds. The tour itself was an attraction. Read the full review here.
Then I went to my room to change and prepare for the next event.
Sam Sand Dunes
A driver took me to the dunes a short ride away. We swerved around herds of goats and passed by many tourist camps where they rent out tents for a desert experience. We then saw the camels dotting the side road and eventually stopped at one.
The man was waiting for our arrival and the camel was all prepped. I got on the sluggish beast and the owner led the camel by the nose. There were quite a lot of footprints in the sand which I should have expected judging by how many resorts there were in this touristy area.
The whole experience was not very adventurous but it was still fun to ride a camel in the Thar Desert!
Returning to the hotel, I had lunch which was specially ordered by Mr. Singh. He suggested a creation of traditional Rajasthani dishes. Compliments to the chef for an exquisite meal!
After lunch Anita joined me for a coffee before I packed up to catch my train. Nakul remembered I was taking the train and had a gourmet dinner prepared to take on the journey.
I couldn’t fully express my gratitude for the comprehensive and thoughtful service provided by every member of the team at Suryagarh. I bid my friends farewell and looked forward to returning soon.
Jaisalmer Delhi Express Train
Reality struck hard as soon as I stepped out of the jeep at the train station. I was about to take an 18 hour train ride all the way to Delhi. All part of the fun when “experiencing” a country! Luckily the hotel managed to buy a second class sleeper ticket, even though they were all sold out online.
I waved bye to the driver and lugged my bags onto the carriage. I found my bed was a top bunk along the aisle. There were other beds grouped in four perpendicular to mine.
The cubicle was narrow, but came with a curtain for privacy and a pillow, a blanket and sanitized sheets.
My bunkmate below me was a young Indian power plant engineer who was visiting Jaisalmer for work. He kindly offered his bed to sit on so I could look out the window. My bunk unfortunately did not have a window, but as most of the ride would be at night, it wasn’t a major concern.
The train wheels soon started rolling and we were off to Delhi!
Even though this “express” train didn’t go very fast (50km/hr) and made plenty of stops, the 18 hours really weren’t that awful. I spent most of the time sleeping and writing.
The ticket collector walked around to check tickets in the beginning then passed through once for dinner orders and once for breakfast. We made two major stops in Jodhpur and Pokharan, where India does its nuclear testing.
At one point a man woke me up and insisted that I was in his bed. I was half asleep and didn’t know what he was yelling about. My bunkmate told him he had the wrong cot and pointed him to the correct one.
There were also random vendors that somehow made it on board, walking through the aisles selling chai and snacks.
When we neared Delhi, I hung out the open train door to absorb the scenes of the Delhi slums. Shacks were built right up next to the railway tracks. People were everywhere and didn’t seem to mind the trains at all. The train tracks were used as walking paths and kids would play soccer on them. When a train came, everyone just made way and then continued with their day.
The train slowed with a metallic screech of the brakes. We had arrived in Delhi.