Of ethereal sunrises and sunsets

Mohit Kharbanda
Monday, 14 January 2019

Sambhar lake in Rajasthan should be a must on your itinerary if you love to ‘feel’ the surroundings, and not just ‘see’ them

Sambhar Lake sat unchecked on my bucket list for a surprisingly long time. This, despite it being a quick 6 hour drive from Delhi and across one of the best highways in the country, the NH-8. But an impromptu plan (just the way I like most of my travels to be), finally made me head to the destination.

The state of Rajasthan, with all its contrasts, has always brought me back. The hospitality, the humbleness of the locals stays with you long after you leave, so does the strange tranquillity of the vast stretches of nothingness.

The way to Sambhar, soon after we ditched the highway, acquainted us with the same feeling — deserted, yet so comforting. Many times we approached locals to help us navigate towards our destination and no one hesitated, even in the sweltering 43 degrees. With their assurance of safety (and without Google Maps, thanks to the past instances of getting lost), we stood by our plan to pitch a tent at the salt lake. We didn’t miss the chance to savour local food on the way and experience the folk art which has great raw appeal. 

It’s the simplicity of the place that hits you the most — it’s a place where perhaps the sunset still defines the time to go home. The clock had struck 5 by the time we reached. 

The enervating heat had frazzled us to the bone. The moment the sun began to settle down, life came back to our bodies. We watched the surreal surroundings unfold. Our anxieties took a back seat and we stopped fretting about the mundane. 

The frenzied conversations about the height of the drone that we had carried with us  for the perfect aerial frames, were forgotten in that moment, and only the realisation of the paucity of time got us going again.

As the sun gave way to the moon, silence engulfed us. I was mesmerised by the way the skyline blended with the land. The concept of boundaries doesn’t exist here, perhaps nature has none.

Relatively unseen, it is surprising why this destination isn’t endorsed as much. To capture the beauty, I took a few more shots before the twilight took over and the sky was covered with a blanket of stars, something the city sky strives for every night. 

The best memories of Sambhar are perhaps the ethereal sunrises and sunsets, where you will see the colours of the sky that you have never seen before. For someone like me who has always believed in daydreams and loves a full moon, this experience was beyond reality.

(The writer is a traveller, storyteller and photographer who blogs on Moving Compass)

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