Monsoons of Rajasthan - Photos of Desert in the Rains!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Desert Monsoon Rajasthan Jaisalmer
That's smack dab in the middle of a desert, go figure!
I first visited Rajasthan in 2010, I was there to trek through the Thar desert. It was a spectacular trek and I thought that was as offbeat as one could get in this overdone tourist destination. However, during the trek, a local camel herdsman let me in on a little secret, that the dry barren desert landscape transforms into a green haven every year just for few days during the monsoons! Being the monsoon chaser that I am, I never forgot those words, which is why I jumped at the chance when Suryagarh, a luxury boutique hotel in Jaisalmer, invited me to experience Monsoon Magic with them in the desert. I've got drenched to the core in the rains before, dealt with landslides, almost shivered to death on a mountain top and donated liters of blood to leeches in pursuit of chasing monsoons but this desert experience stands out as one of the best monsoons till date. After all, who would expect a barren desert to have anything to do with the rains or greenery? Before you go through the images below, I highly recommend you see pictures from my previous visit - here and here to see how different the same landscape looks in a different season. 

***


Desert Monsoon Rajasthan Jaisalmer
While driving from Jodhpur to Jaisalmer, I noticed the dramatic change in scenery. Rajasthan in monsoons is something else! Almost nearing Jaisalmer, I met the desert monsoon, on the window pane I saw the rain drops sparkle like diamonds. 

Desert Monsoon Rajasthan Jaisalmer
It was easy to see how everyone, including animals, enjoyed the rains in the desert. The monsoon showers form small ponds everywhere. These buffaloes were chilling out in one such small pond by the roadside, such a rarity this must be in the parched land. During my previous visit to Jaisalmer and surroundings, I never even saw a water body by the road side. 

Desert Monsoon Rajasthan Jaisalmer
While off-roading through the desert wilderness, many times the scenery felt like that of the high altitude deserts of Ladakh! Last time I was here, I only saw clear blue skies, not a single cloud to scar the sky but this time the clouds were having their way and how!

Desert Monsoon Rajasthan Jaisalmer
The clouds took a dark blue tinge closer to the horizon and it always seemed like it was raining somewhere far in the distance. The monsoon clouds teased us with slight drizzle every now and then. This was the same deserted paliwal ghost town that I visited earlier, however this time it did seem eerie but equally beautiful. 

Desert Monsoon Rajasthan Jaisalmer
I couldn't believe my eyes at the green pastures everywhere, standing out like a sore thumb in the midst of the barren desert. It was thin layer of grass forming over areas where water could accumulate. Come December, all the greenery will vanish leaving no signs of this ephemeral beauty. 

Desert Monsoon Rajasthan Jaisalmer
Seemingly never ending desert road, sparse greenery and storm clouds building up in the sky. Views like this are precious, very few lucky ones get to see the monsoons in a desert. In the coming days, with more rains, it could get even green apparently, now that would be a sight to behold!

Desert Monsoon Rajasthan Jaisalmer
A small water body over a rock bed that seemed to be filled with the water from the morning rains. We saw small ponds like this almost everywhere but we were told the water never seeps underground due to quick evaporation under arid conditions. 

Desert Monsoon Rajasthan Jaisalmer
During the monsoons, it is not just the rains that define the season as we learn, it is also the spectacular clouds that define the monsoons. We had an excellent display of rain clouds spread all across the desert sky. 

Desert Monsoon Rajasthan Jaisalmer
It was a surreal sight to see the animals grazing in the green pastures. As we moved away from Jaisalmer towards the Desert National Park, we came across more and more pastures with cattle happily grazing. 

Desert Monsoon Rajasthan Jaisalmer
Desert nights are known for spotless skies and for being excellent locations for star gazing and spotting shooting stars. In the monsoons however, the night skies are illuminated by continuous lightning flashes and clouds take over the starry sky.

Desert Monsoon Rajasthan Jaisalmer
The road was lined with dense greenery and the women were working in the fields wearing their usual colorful attire. Having seen the women of Rajasthan almost always pitted against the stark desert landscape, it was a striking visual, to see the vivid colors of Rajasthan set against the fresh greenery.

Desert Monsoon Rajasthan Jaisalmer
It rains in the far distance, the monsoon clouds meanwhile are just happy painting dramatic patterns in the sky.

Desert Monsoon Rajasthan Jaisalmer
An oasis in the middle of nowhere!

Desert Monsoon Rajasthan Jaisalmer
And that's where I stayed, at the luxury boutique hotel Suryagarh. A pleasant evening shower drenched the courtyard creating beautiful reflections while the monsoon clouds loomed above. For the 2 days that I was there, I felt like royalty, pampered beyond belief. Suryagarh is a tastefully done, wonderful place but more on that later. For now, I can't thank them enough for bringing me to Rajasthan in the Rains! 
So that was my monsoon experience in the deserts of Rajasthan.
Tell me, have I tempted you to experience desert monsoons? 

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43 comments

  1. First photo is amazing.
    I never thought Rajasthan will look this much beautiful in monsoon.
    Third photo reminds me of my childhood days when we used to bath in small ponds in the desert of Barmer.

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    1. The little ponds everywhere was my favorite thing too, about the monsoons in the desert! What an experience it was.

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  2. The second photo is superb - the rain drops look amazing! Sorry, I didn't read much of your text, the pictures besotted me completely!

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  3. I suppose you had a magical experience. Great captures.

    www.rajniranjandas.blogspot.in

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  4. beautiful photos, Neelima!!!! have not yet experienced rajasthan in the rains... now itching to!

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    Replies
    1. Anu, you should. It was magical, Rajasthan in the rains. Jodhpur side was even greener, like super green! Rajasthan surely warrants another big monsoon visit, hopefully soon. :)

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  5. Beautiful pictures Neelima. I never imagined that the landscape in Jaisalemer would change so dramatically during the monsoon season. Loved all the pictures but my favorite are the ones of the rain drops sparkling on the windshield like diamonds and the starry night sky partly obscured by the monsoon clouds.
    cheers and than for sharing.
    Harjeev

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    1. I know! Me neither, I had heard about Rajasthan monsoons but it is one of those things that you have to see it to believe it. I wonder why monsoon is not a busy time in Rajasthan, I see no reason not to visit in the rains. Thanks about the pictures, glad you liked them! :)

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  6. Stunningly beautiful, serene landscape. Best of the lot.
    www.bnomadic.wordpress.com

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  7. You took me right back to 2001 when it rained like this in Rajasthan and I was travelling in Barmer District - the sight was unbelievable - and the joy on people's faces!!! Thank you!

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    1. I know right! People of the desert must be so happy when it rains. It was unbelievable, the dark clouds, the drizzle and little ponds everywhere. Can't wait to go back again. :)

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  8. having lived my life in Rajasthan,and seen the summers, winters and monsoon...I can say that you are so lucky to have experienced it. The pictures are astonishing and full of life...Thanks for sharing...

    Fuad

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  9. Amazing pictures, colorful and completely different from what we are use to see when come up across Rajasthan

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  10. Hi Neelima, Am follower of your blog since long time. Always your picture speaks more than words about the places where you visit. Awesome Rajasthan in Monsoon.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, I hope yo an enjoying what you are seeing here. :)

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  11. Incredible photos, thank you Neelima... I have been to Rajasthan twice but these photos capture an entirely different experience to the very dry, very touristy state that I have experienced. Makes me want to see it myself!

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    1. You have to see it to believe it Melody, even I was pleasantly surprised. Thank you, glad you like the images. :)

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  12. wow...the experience must b awesome...am planning 2 go 4 desert trip dis monsoon...n I want 2 take the true experience of desert by camping my whole trip in the sand dunes...I am crossing my fingers...everything ll go fyn...n really the photographs r the true speaker of the the beauty dat the desert lady gets in the monsoon...awesome pics..tnx 4 sharing....carry on..god bless U.

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    1. Desert in the monsoons is one of the must-have experiences, now that I have seen how beautiful and different it looks during that time. I hope you have an awesome time, even if you don't camp in the desert, just the entire atmosphere is very very different in the rains, even in the cities.

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  13. Great photos, colorful and contrasting
    Regards

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  14. Beautiful photos...

    night photos are best in my view

    thanks

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  15. Neelima,

    Amazing Pictures. I guess you are not only technically superior but your framing and composition is superb. I like these story telling pictures.


    Cheers,
    http://heritagehiker.wordpress.com/

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  16. Amazing photography!
    I like how the various hues have been captured, especially the partially starry skies and the clouds :D

    Cheers,
    Blasphemous Aesthete

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  17. Amazing Pictures. I am from Rajasthan & could not believe my province looks so beautiful in mansoon.

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    1. So glad to know I could surprise you with photos of your land! :) It was very unexpected for me too, very beautiful.

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  18. Fantastic photos Neelima. It really is a pleasure to read about your adventures. Like myself, you seem to crave getting off the beaten track, and documenting an experience that few others do.

    I would really like to make it there myself someday during monsoon. I think some of the skies on offer would be incredible from a phoographic point of view. The contrast between the desert like landscape and violent skies would be a very interesting photographic project.

    One questions though, what is the monsoon in Rajasthan actually like, is it a short intense downpour, followed by breaks in the cloud, or is it more prolonged and less intense? Are thunderstroms frequent, and if so how violent?

    Thanks,
    Francis

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    1. Yes Francis, the skies were the best during my visit, dark blue just above the dry horizon. The monsoons are more like short bursts of downpour rather than mild showers. I don't think they are violent but they fill up the land and streams very soon but dispersing soon as well, just like flash floods. It sure is some experience to witness the desert rains. Hope you get to visit Rajasthan next monsoons.

      P.S - Here's another account of travellers stuck in Rajasthan rains - http://travelingcanucks.com/2013/07/from-floods-to-forts-how-jodhpur-made-an-impression-india/

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  19. All pics are really superb, looks like you are a fond of traveling and great photos are captured. Nice work.
    http://www.mirvananatureresort.com

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  20. Yes Francis, the skies were the best during my visit, dark blue just above the dry horizon. The monsoons are more like short bursts of downpour rather than mild showers.
    Kashmir Holiday Package

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  21. I like your capturing.... Plz tell me which camera (with model) you used ???

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  22. I got inspired looking at all these beautiful pics.. planning for Jaisalmer visit during July end.. do u think is the best time to experience monsoon?

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