It really was the back of the beyond till a few years ago when everyone who wanted to see the desert went to the Sam dunes. However, as Sam gets increasingly crowded, expensive and filthy, people are discovering Khuri as a cleaner and more peaceful alternative. Famous for its sand dunes, Khuri is a small village about 50 km south-west of Jaisalmer in Rajasthan. This is the closest place from where you can loose yourself in ‘the Great Thar Desert’.
Khuri lies within the Desert National Park, which stretches over 3162 sq km southwest of Jaisalmer to protect part of the Thar ecosystem, including wildlife such as the desert fox, desert cat, chinkara (gazelle), nilgai (antelope), and some unusual bird life including the endangered great Indian bustard.
Khuri Sand Dunes of Thar Desert can be reached from the village within 30 minutes or so. The best way to get here, of course, is on camelback. The dunes, unlike the ones at Sam, are less crowded and provides a more enjoyable experience. The horizon here is of truly magnificent stretches of sweeping sand dunes, with sparse or no vegetation.
The village has quite extensive dune areas attracting their share of sunset visitors, and a lot of mostly smallish ‘resorts’ offering the same sort of overnight packages as Sam. It also has a number of low-key guesthouses (‘Badal House’ being the one one most written about) where you can stay in tranquillity in a traditional-style hut with clay-and-dung walls and thatched roof, and venture out on interesting camel trips in the relatively remote and empty surrounding area. ‘The Garh Marwar’ and ‘Mama resorts’ would be the other recommended ones.
Visitors to Khuri split their sojourn into a night in the village and one in the desert. A night in the desert offers an ideal setting to star gaze and capture star trails on camera.
Yet to make a prominent mark on the tourist map, Khuri had escaped commercialization and the hordes that descend to visit the sand dunes till a few years back. Signs of development are visible in Khuri now as more people discover it. Locals have also been quick to exploit the increasing popularity of the village.
Khuri is everything you need to energise your mind, body and soul. Join a camel caravan and ride along the breathtaking crests and troughs. Enjoy the romance of solitude as your camel takes you deep in the hearts of the Thar Desert. Put yourself in the camp and experience the sun setting behind the horizon. Organize a bonfire with the fellow tourists in the night and get enticed in the rustic and earthy music and Kalbeliya dance of Rajasthan.
And most importantly, if you come to the Thar, bring in your AWD for some desert safari. But more of that to come soon…