No trip to Jaisalmer is complete without a visit to this photographer's feast. Although the dunes have become somewhat touristy in recent years, with hawkers of all sorts dotting the sand, their wind-carved ripples still create fantastic mirages, and it's still a magical place to be. Many famous Hindi films were shot here. Take a camel safari to the dunes, if you can cope with the heat and the time it takes to get here (all day); riding a camel is a bumpy business. Alternatively, look for "parked" camels a few kilometers before you reach Sam, and take a short ride to the dunes. For those who do not want to ride a camel you can opt for a cart. These short camel or camel cart rides can cost up to Rs 800 if you don't book your excursion through a camel safari agent. Expect some amount of heckling from persistent camel owners and girls offering to dance or sing for you, but don't let it put you off staying for the sunset, which is often spectacular. A peculiar sort of peace descends on the
dunes in the late evening, when the icy cold desert wind begins to blow, and this is the most enjoyable part of the dunes experience. Note there are no hotels here, but there are a few permanent camps, for which you may need to book in advance; otherwise you must return to Jaisalmer at night. In summer or monsooon the going can be tough–heat, rain, sandstorms–but still try and take in a ride.
42 km (26 miles) west of Jaisalmer, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India