Dunes and Dynasty
Third edition of the Royal Escape hit the splendid highways of Rajasthan once again. Foggy mornings, chilly nights and delayed flights. It was that time of the year again. Not to mention, our favourite time of the year. The winter was well and truly upon us, it meant only one thing - packing our bags and heading off in search of dunes. The Mahindra Adventure Royal Escape 2013 was officially a go. It was time for 50 plus travelers to hit the road, for the last time in 2013 in fleet of Mahindra Scorpios, Thars and SsangYong Rextons.
The Royal Escape in the past years has mesmerized travelers with the sheer beauty of the royal state of Rajasthan. It showed them what it feels like to drive into the sunset on arrow-straight tarmac that stretches out as far as the eye can see. All this while they stay in the lap of luxury at royal palace hotels and havelis along the route. The next six days would be spent taking in the sights and sounds of the desert and enjoying fabulous Rajasthani hospitality.
This year’s route took the convoy from New Delhi on a chilly morning to the quaint town of Alsisar in Jhunjunu district. It was late afternoon as the convoy checked-in at the iconic Alsisar Mahal. On this easy sector, the participants were learning the art of convoy driving and getting used to the vehicles themselves. New Delhi to Alsisar is a short hop and was just a teaser of what lay ahead in the coming days.
Day 2 started early. The convoy was heading to Jaisalmer. With nearly 600 kms to cover, this was the longest leg of the entire expedition. “Convoy Rolling, Convoy Rolling” squawked the radio as the convoy started its journey towards the dunes of Jaisalmer. Lunch stops had been planned in a way that participants could experience the old-world charm through the Havelis and royal palaces, which isn’t a common sight. The convoy would spend two nights at Jaisalmer with the first night at Fort Rajwada and the following night in tents near Sam dunes.
Jaisalmer wasn’t all about staying in royal comfort, there was a special off-roading session organised for the participants. The convoy headed out in the morning to the dunes for lessons in sand driving. After a very enjoyable dune bashing session, the night was spent partying in the dunes. Destination for Day 4 would be Gajner in Bikaner district. Not a very long hop, but the Gajner Palace with its picturesque lake and serene beauty was a must stop on the Royal Escape.
The final day of 2013 was to be spent in Bikaner. This was also the shortest drive on the expedition lasting all of an hour and a half. As we pulled into the Lalgarh Palace, participants quickly checked-in and found themselves spots on the sprawling lawns to bask in the soft winter sun. With the sun setting on 2013, it was time to bring in 2014 with a bang! Adventurers danced the night away and brought in the new year under a dazzling firework display that lit up the chilly night sky.
They came, they saw and they partied the night away. With yet another Royal Escape concluded in style, we can’t wait to hit the fantastic roads of Rajasthan again on the next edition. Mahindra Adventure – perfecting the art of getting lost and how! Till the next road trip.