14-Feb-2014 -- Our trip to this confluence started when my husband, Dinesh, and I were planning a car journey from Jodhpur to Barmer and realized that only a small detour would be necessary to make the visit. As with our previous confluence hunts, I spent lots of time in preparation: studying my near-useless, printed Indian road maps, along with the invaluable Google Earth. From the latter I printed detailed maps and marked numerous waypoints with their lat/long coordinates - a wonderful navigational aid.
This confluence is located deep in the Thar Desert of western Rajasthan. The soil in the region is sandy and covered with clumps of wild grass and a fair number of trees. The flora is not exactly friendly. It produces some large thorns, that are best avoided, as well as sharp little burs, that want like anything to latch onto whatever you're wearing and give you painful scratches until you can get to a place where you can change your clothes. Given the harsh environment, the region is surprisingly well populated. As we drove along - even on the smallest roads - we were rarely out of sight of people for very long.
A hard surface road ran to within a kilometer (about half a mile) of the confluence. After that there was a good dirt road that took us most of the rest of the way. The exact spot is in a field just a few yards from the dirt road. It should have been easy to get an all-zero longitude/latitude reading on the GPS, but that wasn't the case. The Garmin was being fickle; and no matter where we walked, it would not give us a perfect reading.
Before long a man showed up on a motorcycle and asked what we were doing. He was the landowner, Mr. Arjun Das. Someone had telephoned to alert him to our presence. While Dinesh did his best to explain the Degree Confluence Project, I continued to chase the GPS reading around the field, getting the legs of my clothing well-covered in burs - ouch! I'm not sure that our activities ever made sense to Mr. Das, but he was an amiable fellow and
invited us to his house for tea. Getting the best GPS reading we could, we took our photos, and followed our host off for refreshments.
On the way to his home, we stopped and Mr. Das introduced us to some local women and men who were sitting in the shade and taking a break from their work on a community development project. They were digging out a depression in the ground to create a pond that would collect and store seasonal rainwater for use during the dry months of the year. Although they would all be the beneficiaries of this effort, they were each being paid a small stipend by
the government in order to incentivize the work.
At their house, we met Shubra Das (Arjun's wife) as well as several neighbors and relatives. Mrs. Das gave us a yogurt drink and then a cup of tea, while her husband told us more about their life and work. He said that
he grows watermelon and a few other crops in the rainy season, but these are
mostly for his family's use, rather than for sale. He keeps a few cows and showed us two calves in a pen behind the house. He also runs a small grocery
store in a nearby village.
We expressed our thanks for the hospitality and offered to send copies of some of the photos we'd taken. Then with cordial good-byes all around, we left and continued on to Barmer.