We had visited 27N, 73E the previous afternoon and spent the night in one of India’s historic heritage hotels, in this case a modern facility built within the walls of an old fort. The hotel is located in the small town of Khimsar, between the cities of Jodhpur and Nagaur.
27N, 74E is about 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) outside the village of Kuchera, in Rajasthan’s Nagaur District. We were advised that the best route from Khimsar would be an indirect one: northeast to Nagaur on the main highway, and then southeast to Kuchera on smaller roads. This worked out well, and about 80 kilometers (50 miles) after leaving Khimsar, we arrived at Kuchera.
It was at this point that the maps we had printed from Google Earth and marked with longitude/latitude waypoints became essential. We used them to navigate our way through Kuchera and then out toward the fields on the northeast side of the village.
The last kilometer or so of our journey was the most challenging. We were prepared to walk it; but given the day’s heat, we were glad that our driver could be persuaded to try it with the car. The route was perfectly clear on Google Earth. First we had to leave the paved road and cross a hard but rutted field. After that we followed a dirt road—which looked to me much wider on Google Earth than it was in reality. Our driver apparently decided that it was better to get this unpleasantness over as quickly as possible, so we found ourselves hurtling along the unpaved stretch, hedgerows brushing the car doors, at breakneck speed. The road ended in another open space; and knowing the confluence point was close, we left the car to follow our GPS on foot.
We were stopped about 6 meters (20 feet) short of our goal by a barbed wire fence. Seeing no way around the obstacle, we declared victory where we stood and proceeded with our photographs. Meanwhile our driver anxiously checked the car for the large desert thorns that are known to puncture tires in these parts.
The confluence point is located at the edge of a remote field. We didn’t see another soul while we were there. But upon leaving, we encountered some goatherds with their charges, just before we reached the paved road.
Our driver was not quite satisfied with the state of the car’s tires, so we stopped briefly in Kuchera to top up their air. While he did this, I snapped photos of some young men who had congregated near the open-air barbershop of Mr. Tulsi Ram. All present thought that I should take a picture of the proprietor at work, and so I did.