Desert National Park

3.8 / 5 66 votes


Weather:

Ideal Time: 2-3 hrs

Timings:

10:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Entry Fee:

Entry fee: INR 100 per person,
Jeep Safari (excludes jeep cost):
Indian: INR 50 per person,
Foreigner: INR 300 per person
Camel Safari: Negotiable
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Desert National Park, Jaisalmer Overview

Situated near the town of Jaisalmer, Desert national park is among the largest of its kind in the country, encompassing an area of 3162 sq kms. The park covers a huge area extending from Jaisalmer/Barmer all the way to the India-Pakistan border. In spite of being right in the middle of an arid, dry, and sandy desert, the desert national park presents a wonderful opportunity to see the wildlife such as camels, desert fox, Bengal fox, chinkara, wolves, desert cat, and the Blackbuck. The intriguing landmark offers everything one can expect from a desert ecosystem, craggy rocks and compact salt lake bottoms, intermedial areas and fixed dunes. The dunes consist of about 20% of the park. The entire area is covered with thorny bushes, cacti and a few desert plants. If you want to explore the majestic wildlife at the Desert National Park, then the best way to do so is by going for an adventure-filled jeep safari which will be an entirely new exciting experience.

It is located close to the mighty Thar desert and defies all stereotypical notions of the non-existence of flora and fauna in the deserts. As, even though the ecosystem is harsh and fragile, it houses an abundance of birdlife and is a haven for a variety of migratory and resident desert birds. One of the rarest species of birds, The Great Indian Bustard is found here. 

Apart from that various eagles, harriers, falcons, buzzards, kestrel, vultures, Short-toed eagles, tawny eagles, spotted eagles, laggar falcons and kestrel can also be seen here. One can see the life forms continuously fighting with the harsh environment to survive and prevailing to create yet another marvel of nature. Apart from the magnificent birds, the desert park also has a collection of fossils of animals and birds, some of which are more than 180 million years old. Some 6 million-year-old fossils of dinosaurs have also been found in the area. Visiting the desert national park to witness the mighty birds soaring in the sky while marvelling the changing landscape of the desert is definitely one of the best ways to spend holidays.

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Animals: The wildlife found at the park includes the spiny-tail lizard, desert monitors, sandfish, deadly vipers and Krait. Desert and Bengal Foxes are a common feature in the park and can be seen near the karir trees while relishing on berries. Apart from that Blackbuck Antelope, cervicapra Rajputana chinkara (mountain gazelle), Gazeella gazelle, Indian fox Vulpes, Bengalensis and desert cat Felis libyes can also be found.

Birds: Desert national park is a haven for bird watchers. The birds truly are the star species of the park that houses over 120 species of resident as well as migratory birds within its parameters. The endangered Great Indian Bustard can be easily spotted at the here in huge numbers. Apart from that other common birds such as Patridges, Falcons, Eagles, Vultures, Bee-Eaters, Shrikes, Larks, Demoiselle Crane, Macqueen’s Bustard, Sandgrouse, Long-Legged and Honey Buzzards etc. can also be seen. Vultures soaring high in the sky and makes up for a magnificent sight. Larks and wheatears can be spotted in abundant numbers near the waterholes and ponds.

Reptiles: Several members of the reptiles category are found in the park. Some of them are the spiny-tailed lizard, monitor lizard, saw-scaled viper, Russell's viper, common krait.

Vegetation: Vegetation here is sparse and limits itself to patches of sewan grass, aak shrub and cacti. The landscape comprises of craggy rocks, compact salt lake bottom and lots of fixed and shifting dunes.

The best time to visit the park is from October to March. Given the climate, it is not advisable to travel to the region in summers. The daytime temperature remains very high and usually touches around 42 degrees in summer. Nights are relatively cooler, typical of the arid desert climate. Winters in Jaisalmer are comparatively cooler with day temperatures remaining pleasant at around 24 degrees Celcius and the nights are chilly with the temperature falling as low as 7 to 8 degrees Celcius. As Jaisalmer is situated in the middle of Thar Desert, the monsoon is almost negligible. Jaisalmer remains dry for most parts of the year.

To visit the Desert National Park, you should base yourself at Jaisalmer, where there are plenty of hotels to stay at. There are a number of choices at Khuri, but you should do a day-trip to Sudahsri. Spending a night or two in Sam or Khuri during the high season, October to February is also a good option. You will need to book a jeep from Jaisalmer itself though. Deoki Niwas Palace, Gorbandh Palace, Hotel Victoria, Jaisal Castle, etc. are some of the good hotels in Jaisalmer.

Local transportations in Jaisalmer are Auto rickshaw and bicycles. Auto rickshaws are a comfortable mode of transportation. Take rickshaws when you move on congested roads. Cabs are also available to go around the place. Both government-operated and private-operated cabs are available. Go for government operated ones that have authentic rate-cards.

Sam Sand Dunes: Located close to the national park, the dunes are the most popular sightseeing location in the city. The desert stretches as far as the eyes can see. The dunes are beautiful and an absolute delight to watch. It is a must to witness the sunrise/sunset in the desert. You can also see local villager dancing and singing to entertain the crowd.

Gadesar Lake: The marvellous lake is a rainwater conservatory built in 14th to provide for water during droughts. It is surrounded by intricately carved, petite temples. To reach the lake, you have to pass through a magnificent gateway made of sandstone, popularly known as tilon-ki-pol. The enthralling lake also houses a number of migratory birds.

Camel Safari: Laid-back Camel safaris are a very popular way to experience the national park. Sitting atop a Gailey dressed camel, and riding across rolling dunes and barren plains is a beautiful experience. When you enter the national park, you will see many different camels herders offering rides at a negotiable price (usually starts at INR 200). You can ride the camel rides for hours and enjoy the sunset from the camel’s back. Also, the camel rides make up for a really good picture.

Jeep Safari: You can also sign up for an enthralling and adventurous jeep Safari ride, bashing the dunes of the desert, while watching the magnificent birds in the sky. Hold on to the jeep tightly as the vehicle speeds over huge dunes. The Safari runs on a 12 km trail and takes around 30 minutes to complete. The jeep and vehicles for the wildlife Safari are registered, and any outside vehicle is not allowed.

As a tourist, you must try out various traditional Rajasthan dishes and food that are available in this beautiful desert city as well. The 'murgh-e-subz' is tender, boneless strips of chicken stir-fried with shredded vegetables is one must try. You must also try the 'ker sangri' (desert beans and capers). If you have a robust appetite, the tandoor thali tops will be perfect for you. Sensitive stomachs can go for the kadi pakoras, flour dumplings cooked in yoghurt sauce, orbhanon aloo, potatoes filled with mint paste and dipped in gravy.

Jaisalmer district is imparted with art, architecture, culture and traditions full of colour and music and thereby attracting hordes of domestic and foreign tourists. The folk music of desert is a remarkable zenith of old traditions amalgamated with varied social customs and an inherent concept of classical music showcasing the life of the desert. Being in the neighbourhood the language, culture and traditions of the people of the district are influenced by the culture of Sindh.

1. As expected the mornings in the area is quite hot even during the winter, so it is recommended hat and sunglasses.
2. The desert is very windy, so take a hat or a scarf to save yourself from the sand.
3. The night time is freezing, bring extra sweaters and winter clothes to stay warm.
4. There are many hotels providing tent accommodation within the desert itself, the tents might be sandy and facilities scarce, but to spend the night in the desert, is a unique experience and should not be left out. You can spend the night here while stargazing and eating traditional Rajasthani cuisine. Bonfires are also organised here at night with local dances dancing on folk tunes.
5. Visit the isolated villages near the park to get a better understanding of the lives of people living in the harsh environment.
6. Be on the lookout for a place that can afford a magical sunrise and sunset views.
7. Listen to the tour guide reciting tales about the culture and hardships of the desert people.

Jeep/Car: INR 100,
Guide Fee: INR 200

  • Air: Though Jaisalmer is not directly connected to Airways, Jodhpur airport which is 300 Km away is the nearest airport. From Jodhpur, you can hire cabs or take a train journey to reach the park.

  • Rail: Jaisalmer railhead is the nearest railhead to Desert National Park. You can also travel to Jaisalmer by the exotic Palace on Wheels.

  • Road: Jaisalmer is well connected to the rest of state by roads. Deluxe & general buses of Rajasthan Roadways & Private companies run from Jaisalmer to Jodhpur, Jaipur, Bikaner, Barmer, Mount Abu, Jalore, Ahmedabad etc. The main bus stand opposite Railway station & Golden bus terminal near State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur, Shiv road, Jaisalmer are the two main bus stands.


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