The Khimsar desert is distinguished by widespread dunes and offers great opportunities for desert safaris, sunsets, and more, making it a perfect destination for a relaxing vacation or an ideal spot for nature lovers.
Table of Contents
- About Khimsar
- Things to do in Khimsar
- How to Plan a Trip to Khimsar
- Hotels and Resorts in Khimsar
Khimsar village, or Khinvsar, as locally known, is a small desert village in central Rajasthan. It is located off the National Highway 62, about 100KM northward from Jodhpur, and 43KM from the nearest town of Nagaur.
Khimsar Fort History
The Khimsar Fort is the highlight of the Khimsar desert and also one of the reasons that attract tourists and art lovers. The ancient fort is located in the Nagaur district in Rajasthan, midway between the city of Jodhpur and the town of Nagaur. The fort marks the eastern edges of the Thar Desert. The historical establishment was built in 1523, by Rao Karamsji, the eighth son of Rao Jodha of Jodhpur. During the reign of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, the fort and its palace became the temporary residence of the king, whenever he travelled to Nagaur.
The fort is an expansive oasis of 60KM, dotted with more than 10000 trees and plants covering sprawling gardens and lawns, a built-in moat, turrets, battle-scarred ramparts and ancient cannons on display. The royal family of Khimsar has been the resident of this fort for decades and still occupy a portion of the property. For its exquisite architectural beauty, combining intricacies of Mughal and Rajputana styles, the Fort has been awarded the Grand Heritage Award for Excellence by the DOT, Govt. of India.
The palace of the fort is now a luxury hotel featuring the original interiors and some furnishings, but offering the best in premium modern amenities with a spa, pool, restaurants, and more.
[Also Read: Kumbalgarh Festival – Rajasthan’s three-day carnival]
What is Khimsar known for?
Khimsar is known for its massive dunes, the most striking feature of the dessert region. These natural formations are what defines its landscape. These dunes are what primarily draws travellers and nature lovers for experimental stays surrounding the dunes and oasis. It is also known for the ancient Khimsar Fort. The natural and historical significance of the place is what makes it popular and has turned this sleepy little village of Rajasthan into a sought-after heritage destination.
Things to do
Besides the popular and most-visited tourist places, you can also try some fun activities to make your trip more interesting.
- Visit during The Nagaur Festival – This annual local festival celebrates the culture and people of Khimsar and nearby Nagaur. Villagers come from far and wide across the state to trade cattle at the event. There are also a host of fun activities like camel-racing, tug-of-war, red chilli sales, among other handcrafted goods made by local artisans.
- Spend a day at the Khimsar Dunes Village. The oasis area is the only green patch of the village and is a hub of desert adventures like ATV rides, wildlife safari, camel rides, etc. The best time to visit is around sunset when the setting sun paints the dunes in a golden hue. You can also try a night safari for stargazing and a unique experience with bonfires.
Best places to visit
With nature, culture, and history, there’s quite a bit of sightseeing you can do on your trip. Here are some of the best and most popular attractions –
1. Khimsar Fort
- How to Reach – The fort sits right in the centre of the village. Since there is no local transport, the only way to travel is by hiring private cars or booking taxis from the hotels.
- Timings– 24 Hours
- Entry Fee– Free
- Time Required– 3-4 Hours
2. Panchala Black Buck Reserve
- How to Reach – The natural reserve is only 20 minutes from the Khimsar Fort. You can book a Jeep from the hotel you are staying or hire a local cab to reach
- Timings– Sunrise to sunset
- Entry Fee– NA
- Time Required– 1-2 Hours
3. The Village
- How to Reach – The dunes village and oasis is located at 5KM from the Khimsar Fort. You can book a cab or rent a car from your hotel to travel and return.
- Timings– Sunrise to Sunset
- Entry Fee– Free
- Time Required- 3-4 Hours
4. Nagaur Fort
- How to Reach – The fort sits at about 42KM from Khimsar village, in Nagaur. You have to book a cab or rent a private Jeep to travel and return.
- Timings– 8:30AM – 1PM and 2:30PM – 5PM
- Entry Fee– INR 15
- Time Required– 1-2Hours
Places to visit nearby
Sitting near the great desert region of India, there’s a lot to see around Khimsar. You can include some of these places near the desert village on your tour
1. Dhawa Doli Wildlife Sanctuary
- How to Reach – The wildlife reserve is located at 45KM southwest of Jodhpur city. To travel from Khimsar, you have to rent a Jeep or book a cab for the day to travel and return.
- Timings– 5AM- 6PM
- Entry Fee– Free
- Time Required– 4-5 Hours
2. Osian Mata Temple
- How to Reach – The temple is located at 70KM from Khimsar village. You can rent a car or book a cab from your hotel to travel and return.
- Timings– 6AM- 7.15PM
- Entry Fee– Free
- Time Required– 1-2 Hours
3. Junagarh Fort
- How to Reach – The famous fortress is located in Bikaner, about 155KM from Khimsar. You can book a cab for the day to travel and return. You can also plan a weekend trip to Bikaner from Khimsar.
- Timings– 10AM- 4.30PM
- Entry Fee– INR 50, Phool Mahal and Chand Mahal- INR 100 extra, Audio tour- INR 350
- Time Required- 2-3Hours
Places to eat in Khimsar
Check out these well-rated restaurants:
- Khimsar Tabela Bar, Welcomhotel By ITC Hotels, Fort & Dunes
- Maa Ashapura Hotel and Restaurant
- Bikana Pizza and Pasta
- Fatehmahal and the Fort Ramparts
- Hotel Hansika Restaurant
How to Plan a Trip to Khimsar
How to reach
Khimsar does not have a railway station of its own. The nearest railway station is in Nagaur, about 50.7KM away, followed by Osian, at 60KM. The nearest major railhead is in Jodhpur, about 95KM away. From either of these stations, you can take the local bus or book a cab to reach Khimsar.
Khimsar is connected by road to the rest of Rajasthan by NH 62, NH 11, SH 21, and many other local highways and roads. There are also some state-run and private buses from nearby towns and cities like Jodhpur, Pokhran, Osian, Jaipur, Bikaner, Ajmer etc. You can take the bus to Nagaur, which is the nearest town and from there, you have to hire a Jeep or book a private cab to reach here. The best way to travel from other cities is to book a cab and do a road trip.
There is no flight service in Khimsar, or even in Nagaur. The nearest airport is in Jodhpur (JDH) about 100Km away. Jodhpur Airport is well-connected to the rest of the state and other major airports across India, like New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad etc. You can fly to Jodhpur and from any of these cities and from there take a private car or book an airport taxi to reach Khimsar by road.
Best time to visit
Being on the edge of the desert, Khimsar’s weather pattern is very extreme. The summers are extremely harsh, with hot and dry weather and high temperatures. There are also sandstorms sometimes, making it nearly impossible to drive around. The winters are very chilly with warm days and cold nights. But this is also the most conducive period to travel. The best season to visit is in the winter, between November and February when it’s comfortable enough to explore the dunes, oasis, and other hot spots. This time is also when the annual Nagaur Festival takes place. So, if you want to experience the local cultural celebrations, then you can visit between January and February.
Hotels and Resorts
There might not be a lot of fancy hotels in Khimsar but the available accommodations are quite well-rated among travellers. You can also stay at the fort resorts or experience a dune village stay in Khimsar. To make your vacation memorable, explore some of these best places to stay –
- Khimsar Sand Dunes Resort
- Welcomhotel By ITC Hotels, Fort & Dunes, Khimsar
- Abhay Resort and Camp
- Inani Brothers
- Hotel Riddhima