Firmly perched atop a 100ft sand dune the Dera Dune Retreat is one of the few luxury resorts of its kind. This a place where the vast expanse of the desert completely envelopes your senses and you can’t help but give into its charms.
Located between Jodhpur and Jaisalmer, well off the tourist trail in the remote Thar Desert; Dera Dune Retreat, Jamba allows you to experience a different sort of Rajasthan. Named after the nearby village of Jamba. The property has 18 cottages each decorated in an authentic Rajasthani style, a swimming pool to beat the desert heat and sweeping views of the surrounding sand dunes.
Jamba village was the birthplace of Jambaji, the founding saint of the Bishnois. The unique Bishnoi people are true eco-warriors of the region. They are known conservationists for whom the preservation of animal life and vegetation is a religion and has been from the early 15th century. National Geographic has called them the world’s earliest environmentalists. Their main temple dedicated to Jambaji is located 4km from the retreat and is famous for the two festivals that take place there in September/October and March/April. There are opportunities to participate and witness these festivals but one first needs permission from the Bishnoi community. The Retreat works closely with the Bishnois to assist their conservation efforts and as such guests from the property are always welcomed warmly.
There’s no dearth of activities when staying at Dera Dune Retreat. One of the highlights is a camel safari through the dunes. Cruise around on the ship of the desert and if you want to make a day of it, the resort will even pack you a picnic on request. Another interesting excursion is to the town of Phalodi about 30kms from Jamba. Famous for its heavily embroidered juttis, the town is also home to 300-year-old ancient Jain temples. En-route, it is definitely worth stopping at the Khichan Wildlife Sanctuary known for its massive population of Demoiselle Cranes.
Guests will also have the opportunity to visit local craftsmen and artisans in their own homes – Dera Dune Retreat is a firm believer of everything organic, including buying your souvenirs straight from the source.
If you don’t intend to leave the resort, then the in-house honesty library, swimming pool and short hikes will be more than enough for you. Bonfires are organised in the evenings and the local artists often come in for performances. The enthusiasm is contagious and every member of the audience inevitably gets caught up in their palpable energy.
The highlight, however, is Mother Nature displaying her myriad of colours akin to an artist’s palette every evening. The world of polluted air and gray skies will begin to feel far away as you witness sunsets and sunrises that will quite literally take your breath away – at least for a moment or two. The night sky stretches over your head like a blanket of stars and you being to feel your muscles relax and give in to the easy vibe of the desert. The only sounds around you are those of nature.
If there is such a thing as ideal getaway then we’re convinced that a weekend at the Dera Dune Retreat is it. With several long weekends lined up for 2017, we highly recommend giving this property a shot.