After 24 years within the Military, Colonel Mahendra Mohan Prakash Singh began Oasis India Camp to assist vacationers from internationally expertise the magic of Jaisalmer’s desert, in a approach that’s each luxurious and replete with journey.
After 24 years within the Military, Colonel Mahendra Mohan Prakash (Retd.) says he wouldn’t have had it another approach. The years spent within the armed forces have a tang of journey and thrill that formed the officer’s life in additional methods than one. Although the 66-year-old officer credit his time within the Military for introducing him to the adventurous aspect of life, he says the roots for his ardour for the outside had been sown in his early years.
Rising up in a boarding faculty in Himachal Pradesh, the Colonel was no stranger to climbing and tenting. He’d typically marvel at nature in all its magnificence and marvel, and this love solely grew when the Colonel joined the Military in 1980.
“Being within the cavalry unit, our coaching used to happen within the desert. Since 1983 I had been on the western border of India, the place our winter coaching would occur. However I nonetheless recall how we’d take a three-day break for the Jaisalmer Desert Competition. It was an exquisite time.”
When he retired in 2003, an concept started to take form in his thoughts. He wished to introduce folks to the aspect of nature and tradition that he had develop into accustomed to by means of the years. So when his Military life was over, there wasn’t a query of what he wished to do subsequent. “Part of me already knew.”
The oasis within the desert
At the moment, the end result of that concept is the Oasis India Camps primarily based in Jaisalmer, which makes an attempt to offer its company an unmatched tenting expertise within the coronary heart of the desert. As company unwind underneath the starlit sky within the coronary heart of the dunes, immersing themselves within the native lifetime of Jaisalmer Colonel Mahendra’s coronary heart is full.
When Colonel Mahendra started selecting out a spot the place he wished to see this challenge come to fruition, the desert was his first alternative. “The huge expanse of sand dunes has all the time held a fascination for me. And that is the place I wished to start out the tenting expertise.”
He began with two camps, and now has a complete of 143 dispersed throughout the desert for company to expertise a keep that’s as luxurious as it’s conventional.
There are reminiscences galore that the Colonel recounts as he talks concerning the tenting expertise. “One of many reminiscences I treasure is the sandstorms of Rajasthan. I bear in mind one New 12 months’s Eve throughout the camp a sandstorm struck and everybody was holding on for pricey life to something in sight. By the tip of the storm, my blazer and tie had been a brown tinge. However regardless of the storm, we managed to have a grand affair that evening.”
A bucket checklist of journey
The Colonel notes that the bundle is tailor-made to offer company the “final desert expertise”. “The camps are located proper reverse sundown level and company have a area time watching the sundown from the dunes. There’s a camel experience that they will get pleasure from too. After a conventional welcome is given to them by the locals, excessive tea is organised whereby the snacks are Rajasthani delicacies.”
Because the cultural night progresses, company are handled to Rajasthani people dances, reside musical performances by native artists and a buffet dinner.
Residing within the desert means journey is in each nook. The packages additionally embrace safaris and journey sports activities comparable to parasailing and biking. Locals within the desert get pleasure from having the company come watch them as they cook dinner, have interaction in pottery and extra.
One of many hottest sights at Oasis India Camps is the camel wool-making session. Because the locals spin the wool, company can watch and even partake within the exercise. Within the evenings, when the climate is cooler, company are taken to the border posts of Longewala, the place India and Pakistan fought the 1971 battle.
“There are quite a few watch posts within the desert to watch the encompassing wildlife,” shares Colonel Mahendra. However what company are actually right here for — the grand finale, if you’ll — is the Jaisalmer Desert Competition, which is a whirlwind of color and pleasure.
A pageant that beckons everybody
The month of February is extra lovely within the Sam Dunes of the Thar Desert than it’s wherever else on the earth. Anybody who has witnessed the Jaisalmer Desert Competition will testify to this. Additionally known as the Maru Mahotsav, this pageant is a platform to showcase the cultural prowess of the state by means of dance, music, sporting occasions and artwork.
All through the three days, company are spoilt for alternative with regards to meals and actions. Puppet reveals, people dances, polo matches, handicraft markets, dune bashing (driving over sand dunes in a sports activities automobile), sightseeing by means of Jaisalmer, and even competitions that award folks for having the longest moustaches — you possibly can expertise all of it.
In the meantime, Colonel Mahendra is worked up as the following chapter of his life guarantees to be as fulfilling as the primary. “The armed forces was a fantastic chapter in itself.”
He additionally recollects, “We had regular tents with no amenities or connected bathrooms, and so forth. At the moment I’ve realised that folks come from a distinct perspective the place they need luxurious, and so the camps have now modified from their unique variations into luxurious resorts.”
He provides that being part of this lovely tenting expertise within the desert additionally implies that he doesn’t miss his Military life a lot.
“I spend a few of my time in Jodhpur, the place I’m primarily based, and the remainder of my time on the camps in Jaisalmer. That is the dream.”
Edited by Divya Sethu