A sea of sand, the desert have motivated explorers and adventurers alike to voyage on the ever-changing dune-scapes. The fascination the Thar holds is unparalleled. Gateway to the Indian Silk Road, to the story called India, the Thar is also the most diverse and rich desert ecosystem in the world. This diversity also manifests itself in the richness of traditional knowledge system of ancient communities here.
With elements of nature, necessitating stringent protection under the law from human intervention and destruction of desert wildlife and habitat. 68 species of large animals are found here, of which 29 are protected by the Indian Wildlife Act. Some of the ubiquitous species around MANVĀR Resort, Camp and Desert Reserve are the Chinkara aka Indian Gazelle, Nilgai, Desert Fox, Asiatic Desert Cat, very specific and specialized rodents, lizards, monitor lizards, rabbits, hedgehogs, mongoose among others.
There is no shortage of water in the desert but exactly the right amount...
unless you try to establish a city where no city should be.”
― Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire
The desert fringes afford an oasis-like sanctuary for birds, with avifauna, indigenous and migratory flock to these safe havens undisturbed by human activities. Harriers to falcons, buzzards, kestrels and vultures, sand grouse, peacocks, not to mention the famed Demoiselle cranes and their feeding grounds at Khichan are sought after by birders from around the globe.
The vegetation of this region is unique with trees and shrubs such as Khejri, the lifeline of the desert, Kumatiya, Rohida (desert teak), Kair, Ber, Googal, Phog, Sevan, Dhaman, Kheemp, Thhor cactus, Aak among others providing sustenance and shade to humans and animals alike. Invading species have caused unimaginable and irreversible damage to these indigenous species elsewhere. MANVĀR Desert Reserve is set up with the express intent of creating a safe haven for the indigenous species to proliferate.
Bishnois, probably the first community of people anywhere to have built an identity on the principles of conservation of wildlife are legendary for their love of all life. Settled around in the deserts of ancient cities of Jaisalmer, Jodhpur and Bikaner, the Bishnois live by a set of twenty-nine commandments which implores them to love all living beings as an extension of their own self. A manifestation of this is seen in the daily ritual of feeding the Chinkaras at the Bishnoi Temple of Lohawat, a 45-minute drive from MANVĀR, the quintessential desert camp and resort near Jaisalmer.
MANVĀR, a word from a local dialect has no simple translation. It means varyingly, hospitality, 'to request', even a delicious feast. It is the essence of the spirit of welcome and warmth of a community known for their hospitality.
An enthralling drive in rugged four-wheel-drive jeeps, scrambling over dunes and crests in the Thar desert. Invariably, you will get stuck among the sand, and part of the fun is ‘digging out’ and enjoying the soft sand under your feet before you extract yourself and drive on.
Embark on a gentle hour and a half desert safari to witness Rajasthan's finest wildlife, including the beautiful Chinkara and its harem. Spot the rare Desert Fox, exclusive to this area, and keep an eye out for herds of Chinkara searching for watering holes. Explore the sands to find fascinating creatures like Saw Scaled Vipers and sand boas. An unparalleled Jodhpur and Jaisalmer desert safari experience awaits.
Don't miss the unforgettable camel ride experience at MANVĀR in the great Thar desert. Local camel owners take tourists on excursions to explore the desert's splendor from a higher perspective. With trained riders, guests can comfortably enjoy the ride while learning fascinating folk stories and facts about the Thar.
Just a 45-minute drive from MANVĀR lies Khichan, a renowned village where thousands of migratory Demoiselle Cranes visit from October to March. With over 8,000 to 10,000 birds making the village their winter home, the locals have developed a special relationship with them. Thanks to the pioneering efforts of Ratan Lal Malu Jain, who began feeding the birds years ago, the phenomenon has grown stronger with fellow villagers 'adopting' and supporting the cranes through generous grain donations.
In Rajasthan's folklore, these birds are considered symbols of good luck and are believed to carry messages from distant lovers to local women. The migrating crane population increases by 10 to 15% each year, requiring over 600 kgs of grain daily for their feedings. Khichan exemplifies successful community conservation efforts without external support.
Village Walks, in contrast to the Jeep and Camel safaris, offers a quieter and more informative way to experience the desert way of life in Jodhpur. This journey is an opportunity to experience village life at close quarters against the captivating beauty and tranquillity of the vast desert. The desert landscape is spellbinding.
For miles altogether, there’s nothing except the sound of the wind. But from this arid nothingness, chance upon a group of village women in their colourful finery, and watch them disappear like a mirage before your eyes. Visit the homes of the traditional inhabitants (Bishnois, Rajputs, Meghwals) or take a peek into the homes and lives of the desert craftsmen such as carpenters, metal-smiths and cobblers.
Village walks are an age-old tradition at MANVĀR. The village walk is a small step in instilling a sense of pride in the village folk, and also encourages them to preserve, maintain and showcase their culture and way of life. To a rapidly modernizing world and its denizens who often seek a stress-free break from their bustling cities, the village walk at MANVĀR is just a small window into a world of simplicity and adaptability.
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