6 Top-Rated Desert Destinations in Rajasthan (2023)
When it comes to experiencing a desert in India, Rajasthan is the ultimate destination! With the Great Indian Desert, i.e., the Thar Desert located in Rajasthan, it is not surprising to see visitors throng this princely state of India. The Thar Desert is the 17th largest desert in the world and is spread across both India as well as Pakistan. The desert is a unique landscape which is one of the best landscapes to capture sunrises and sunsets.
In Rajasthan, there are quite a few authentic deserts which have sand dunes measuring 25-50 feet tall. The desert tourism in Rajasthan is definitely something worth experiencing for every tourist. Apart from exploring the vast landscape, tourists can also enjoy a variety of desert adventure activities such as jeep safari, camel safari, desert camping, desert bashing, etc. Visitors can also enjoy paragliding at some of the desert locations in Rajasthan.
Read on as we take you through some of the famous deserts in Rajasthan that should figure in your Rajasthan itinerary.
6 Top-Rated Desert Destinations in Rajasthan
1. Jaisalmer Desert
Jaisalmer is considered as one of the best places to visit in Rajasthan. It has a vast desert area which makes it all the more interesting for visitors. There are two major sand dunes in Jaisalmer – Sam sand dune and Khuri sand dune. The Sam dune is located at a distance of 45 km from central Jaisalmer and features sand dunes which have a height of 30-60 feet tall. This desert region has very less vegetation and hence, is the perfect destination for experiencing desert land. Once you reach here, you can take part in various activities such as camel safari, jeep safari, paragliding, dune bashing, etc.
The Khuri sand dune is also located 45 km from central Jaisalmer. Compared to the Sam sand dunes, this location is fairly less crowded which makes it ideal for those who wish to avoid the general crowd of tourists. You can stay at any of the small homestays here and spend your time taking leisurely strolls around the sand dunes.
You can reach both the sand dunes by hiring a private taxi in Jaisalmer for a round trip. It is recommended that you first visit Sam sand dunes, explore the place, and spend the night at one of the desert camps. Next day, you can visit Khuri sand dune early in the morning to witness a beautiful sunrise and come back to Jaisalmer.
2. Jodhpur Desert
Jodhpur is considered as one of the top three desert regions in Rajasthan. Though the majority of Jodhpur is covered in vegetation, there is one area which is considered a paradise for desert seekers – the Osian Desert. This beautiful golden landscape is located about 70 km away from Jodhpur and is quite popular not for its sand dunes but also for two important temples – Osian Mata Temple and a Jain Temple. The Osian Desert is a great tourist destination for those who wish to experience adventure activities such as camel or jeep safari.
For an authentic desert experience, tourists can stay at any one of the desert camps. The surroundings around this desert is quite remote which makes it the ideal relaxation spot if you wish to avoid crowds. To reach Osian Desert, tourists can either take a bus from Jodhpur or hire a private cab. It is recommended that you reach Osian Desert by 3-4 PM so that you can visit the temples first and then go for a safari.
Similar to Jaisalmer and Jodhpur, the desert region in Barmer is also considered as one of the top three desert regions of Rajasthan. People visiting Barmer can experience the beauty and vastness of a desert landscape at the Mahabar Desert. Just a 15-minute drive from Barmer will take you to Mahabar Sand Dunes which is a small yet extremely beautiful.
Since the Mahabar Desert is quite small compared to the other deserts, you will not find any camel or jeep safaris or desert camps here. However, you can enjoy other adventure activities such as driving your own bikes or SUV’s on the sand dunes. This desert lies on the Jaisalmer-Ahmedabad route and is a great spot to take a break and have fun on the sand dunes.
There are two ways to reach the Mahabar Sand Dunes – you can either take an auto-rickshaw from Barmar or book a private taxi. You can also visit nearby tourist attractions such as Mahadev Temple, Kushal Vatika Jain Temple, and Sanchal Fort.
The Nagaur city is located in central Rajasthan and can be easily reached from Jodhpur and Jaipur. Once you reach Nagaur, you will need to travel 45 km south to reach the Khimsar Desert. One of the main attractions of the Khimsar Desert is a beautiful sand dune resort called Kihimsar Sand Dune Resort. The Khimsar Desert is quite remote, and the resort is the only option for travelers to stay at. This resort is responsible for maintaining the dune area and they have set up beautiful village themed huts for their guests. The guests can also opt for camel safaris organized by the resort.
The Khimsar desert area is quite flat but it has rich desert flora and fauna. To reach Khimsar, you can take a taxi from Jaipur or Jodhpur. You can also take a train and get down at the Nagaur railway station. Visitors to the Khimsar sand dunes can also visit Nagaur Fort, Khimsar Fort, etc.
Rajasthan has a number of popular tourist destinations and Bikaner is one of them. Known throughout the world for its delicious namkeens and other savory items, visitors seeking a desert experience will have a wonderful time at the Bikaner Sand Dunes. The sand dunes in Bikaner may not be very high but they are spread over a large area. Its expansive area makes it suitable for a number of activities such as camel safari, jeep safari, and desert camping.
It is recommended that if you wish to visit the Bikaner sand dunes, then it is best to plan your trip in January when Bikaner hosts the world-famous Bikaner Camel Festival. This festival is one of the best offerings of Bikaner and tourists from all over the world come and take part in it. Bikaner is also famous for breeding some of the best riding camels.
Post your desert safari, you can spend your time visiting other local tourist attractions such as Junagarh Fort, Karni Mata Temple, National Research Center on Camel, Gajner Palace, etc. Also, don’t forget to hit the shopping markets and pick up delicious namkeens and bhujias.
Once you reach Bikaner, you can either book your own taxi or use the public transportation to reach Raisar area where all the desert activities take place.
Though Pushkar is primarily a holy site for Hindus, it is popular throughout the world for holding the biggest camel fair called the Pushkar Camel Fair. Though the sand dunes in Pushkar are not as great or beautiful as the ones in Jaisalmer or Jodhpur, nevertheless they are worth exploring. It is a great place to know more about rural Rajasthan.
Once you reach Pushkar, you can either go on a camel ride or hire a camel cart to explore the region. The caretaker of the camel cart will also act as your guide and provide you all the necessary information about the region. Post your tour, you can enjoy delicious dinner and a dance program at any of the desert camps.
The Pushkar sand dune is located just 140 km from Jaipur and is the best weekend getaway option from Jaipur. Since the Pushkar mela is organized in November, that is the best time to plan your trip so that you can take part in the colorful festival and create lasting memories of your trip.
If you wish to reach Pushkar by train, then the closest railway station is Ajmer, located at a distance of 15 km from Pushkar. The Ajmer railway station is well-connected to a number of Indian cities, thus, making it easy for tourists to reach Pushkar.
If you are planning to visit Rajasthan, then do ensure that you visit at least one or two sand dunes mentioned in this list. Exploring a desert landscape is truly wonderful and you wouldn’t want to miss out on all the fun desert activities that you get to indulge in at these sand dunes. You will definitely cherish your desert experience in Rajasthan for a lifetime!