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Permission for Border Pillar BP 609| India-Pak Border | Freedom Trip 2/4

The thoughts of previous day nightmare of driving the broken Bullet all the way back from almost near the India-Pak Border  were still ripe in my mind. Its time to reach the Border pillar BP 609 today. Have a look at yesterdays drama. Click HERE to read

Day Two:

We argued with the bike rental guy that their unmaintained broken piece of machinery had ruined our entire plan and we had wasted the entire day over doing nothing. Nothing seemed to work as we could only get a refund of 1100 INR. We had took the bike for 1800 for two days and spent a 1000 bucks for petrol. We had lost 1700 rs in a bike for the day doing  nothing wrong but for the fault of the carelessly maintained bikes. Shame on them- Shiva Bikes Jaisalmer for stocking unmaintained bikes.

Since we were low on time as well as energy we decided to take whatever we could and salvage the remaining trip.

BRO TIPS before selecting a bike on rental:

  • Check the chasis (which we didn’t check closely) by looking around , feeling the welded joints . Take a nice look even below the bike .
  • Check the brake lining, if it is making any sound and if it is braking properly
  • Check the lights, indicator.
  • Check if the kick starter works properly even if the bike has button start.
  • Check the gear shifter works properly by taking a short ride . Also check when was the last time clutch wire was changed
  • Check for any odd sound or a loose part.
  • Check the petrol indicator before taking the bike as well as returning. Get refund of the extra petrol in the tank.

And the day starts:

After much discussion we decided to hire a car to get to the border.  The car expenses plus tip totalled upto INR 3000 for the day. Bit costly, but then it was too late for this trip to maintain its budget trip status. Status quo had changed from ‘Budget Trip’ to ‘Come what may we have to reach the border’.  After a breakfast and reinvigorated sense of purpose we started off towards the border BP 609

Permits for BP 609 – Jaisalmer India Pakistan border:

This is a tricky permit. Internet churns out so much confusion hence i decided to clear it out once for all after  practical knowledge

  • Permits are only available from the office of Jaisalmer Collector
  • There are other BSF offices along the way to Tanot but those are not the authorised way to get it. There is one check post near the Tanot Temple as well. But none of them have authority to provide you access to BP 609.
  • I have seen common civilians begging for permits directly at the Tanot temple invain. It all depends on the whim and fancy of the officer posted. You mostly wont get the permit directly unless and until you have a car and the check post needs some military personnel to be send to the border and there is no vehicle available for that. Which means extreme luck
  • You may get leeway if you know some one from the army or some high flying politician. For us i know a collector which helped secure the permit by a phone call.

Proper process for getting permits for BP 609

  • Get the form from Jaisalmer Collector ( The office is on the road from Main city towards Sam sand dunes). This is closed on Sundays i guess.
  • Fill it and submit it to another BSF office some 6 kms away on the road to Tanot. Here you will need to take the sign from the Main officer, who may or may not be available on time. This might take 2-3 hrs or even half your valuable day.
  • Once you get the sign you will need to carry this document to Tanot check post where they will confirm your access by calling back at the earlier BSF office .

Clarification required:

  • Are two wheelers allowed?
  • Are foreigners allowed?

( I had gone near India China border two months back- Read it Here )

Back on the topic, after a breakfast and reinvigorated sense of purpose we started off towards the border. The déjà vu route now felt much more wonderful from the comforts of an AC car. We waited at the Badabagh for some 10 minutes since we had no time to go inside as our clock was ticking to get the high priority things done first- Tanot Mata Mandir, BP 609 & Longewala museum. Couple of clicks and we had to go. I will be back here sometimes later. Hopefully.

Cenotaphs at Badabagh Jaisalmer
Wonderful dam at Badabagh

We whizzed past the 70 kms in the comforts of the AC car. The local shepherds however brave the entire heat throughout the year. My respects.

Goats in Jaisalmer desert

 

We continued enjoying the magical desert and reached Ramgarh. I missed the bullet ride sorely. But the scorching heat meant that the car was a superb option. 

We had the snacks from the same place we did yesterday. Took packed  lunch for later and started on the route less travelled towards Tanot. Once again I enjoyed looking at the third largest TV tower in India .

Third higest TV tower INdia Ramgarh Jaisalmer
Third highest Indian TV tower at Ramgarh

On the way with the unending  green plains  there were few locals on motorcycles going to the Tanot temple , the religious hot spot.

Ghantiavali Mandir

Ghantiavali Mandir Tanot

Some 6 kms before the Tanot Mata Temple is the Ghantiavali Mandir. This  temple has many legends. Some say that the Pakistani army attacked this temple in 1965 and whoever tried to destroy the temple got blinded. There is other legend that there were conflicts between the neighbouring village and some tribes who took over the village and killed all the villagers, only one pregnant lady survived. Her son later came back to the win the village back by killing all the tribesmen with the support of the Ghantiavali Mata who had manifested a human form. Legends.

Ghantiavali Mandir Tanot

None the less this is the only place which is perennially green in the middle of arid desert. (though some of the desert is now green due to current rains. But not always. You get what i mean right.)

We started to move towards the Tanot temple still 5-6 km away. This part looked like a real desert. We saw the Tanot temple from outside and decided to do it on the way back. First we had to go to the India Pak border BP 609. We visited the Tanot check post and were very happy to find our names in their register. We got our permissions and we were allowed to the border.

India Pakistan International Border Pillar BP 609

The entire Freedom trip was about visiting the border on Independence weekend . And right now we were winning. This is another 15 kms towards the border. Probably the greenest the desert will ever be. The huge expanse of greenery surrounding the straight roads appeared very surreal.

BP609 IndiA pAK BORDER
We dont care

We stopped for the lazy–don’t-give-a–paw grazing sheep. The region was green, but one step outside the air conditioned car and you can feel the intense heat even in the middle of rainy season. The heat in summers is unbearable almost more than double of this day and even dryer hot winds to rub it in further. Only souls of steel can live through this. And thats why we are here to pay our respects to the living testament of extreme human spirits-Army.

 Few more turns and we could see the India-Pak border. Time to shut the camera.

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If you fancy my cameras

Waterproof cam 
My DSLR 
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I haven’t taken any photos at the Border. If you do go here be a responsible citizen and dont click any pics.

Life at the Border

The next few moments spent at the border would be etched in my heart forever. As soon as the car stopped we were welcome by a sense of eerie silence. The only sound was from the free birds, the wind and our footsteps. We reached the watch tower with lots of excitement bubbling inside us.

The watch tower was manned by two guys . Mr Singh at the bottom welcomed us to the hot cauldron of a border. He bore an artificial smile like any one would have if you get odd tourists every day asking the same question and considering this as a another tourist spot. But we were different as we had travelled a good 1300 kms ( retuned back yesterday some 15 kms from the border, but still had the balls to be back) only for this . Mr Rawat at the top of the tower had his rifle ready for any movement from the Pakistani side. These days there is nothing eye catching though, only some wild animals living there daily life.

We spoke with them for almost 2-3 hrs . In the mean time atleast 3 cars filled with bubbly tourists came there waited for 5 minutes and left having nothing to see or say.

We spoke on matters from security, their personal lives, our lives, Pakistan, problems army guys face, Narendra Modi, demonetisation , Kashmir etc . By the end of it we had become so friendly  he would have allowed us to cross the electric fence.. or may be not, but you get my point right.

There are very few  guys like us who could relate to the pains of staying in this hell of a place. The real enemies are definitely not the Pakistanis. The temperature can rise up easily above 50 degrees in summer. Coupled with the dry winds blowing hot sand in your face make up for a fight half lost even before the war starts. 

As Mr Singh rightly said , “ Yeh toh kuch nahi hia , honey moon hia. Garmi me toh pathoron pe ande paka sakte ho”.

Not to forget the extreme boredom and unevenly timed shifts this guys have to go through. The dead silence and no more direct attacks means there is no action at all. Unlike Mr. Singh’s time in Kashmir when there was not a single day without bullets flying . The boredom in looking at a vast expanse of nothingness while at the other side of the border the Pakistani soldiers are just chilling inside there bunkers behind there unfenced border.

Singh adds “ Pehre dari toh hume karni padti hai, chor toh aramse sote hai”.

Each of his word resonated with my patriotic and adventurous side. Only action they get each day is to use a camel to tow a plough-kind-off-a-thing to remove the sand in the channel besides the long fence. If they are lucky they might find some wild animal stuck in it.

Since photographs were strictly prohibited i framed everything i could in my mind.  Mr Rawat even allowed me to observe the Pak army watch tower through his binoculars. I also spotted the actual Border line some 150m from the Indian fence marked by a white pillar.

My respect for army after watching this hardships was doubled.  We gave some fruits that we had and some 3 litres of mineral water. The water available there is salty. After couple of hours we finally decided to go back . One final glance and we could see the fence running all the way till the end of horizon. This fence is indeed some 3000 kms long running from Gujrat to Kashmir.

The entire BP 609 episode had pumped up my spirits. Do watch some of my moments 


Heading back we were happy to spot some more sheep and some more deer.

Tanot BP 609
Deer on border duty

Next stop is the temple which could not be destroyed by 3000 bombs- Tanot Mata.

Next stop is the miracle mandir of Tanot

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The Freedom Trip Ep – 3 Tanot. CLICK here to READ it

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