Venus Transit from Jaisalmer!!!
"Venus in Transit!!!"
This was an event humans could see after a long gap of about 122 years and no living person had seen one till we did on the 8th of June 2004 when Venus crossed the disk of the Sun in about six hours throughout the whole sunny day as we sweated it out in the hot desert sun with temperatures of 46 degrees celsius and nothing much to protect us from the sun except for some sunscreen lotion and a eclipse viewer whilst watching the sun with the naked eyes!!! Weather being a major factor in the seeing of the transit from the freshly arrived monsoon in most regions of India made it difficult to find a safe bet for the D-day as even Jodhpur which is less than six hours away from Jaisalmer by road was caught in the rain, playing havoc with transit viewers!!! The trip to Jaisalmer was only for this specific purpose with not much time to see anything else in the famous desert city with a beautiful fort which we could only see from the highway to Jodhpur on the way back home!!! With constraints of time and work beckoning us back to Mumbai, we had to leave this place with a heavy heart as we did not wish to leave without seeing the city!!! My 65 years young friend Deepak Bhimani and I stayed at a five star hotel called the Fort Rajwada and we were the only two guests of the hotel (since it was off season!!!) and so we had the whole place to ourselves and could set up the equipment anywhere we wanted for the event!!! We chose the poolside as it would have a good cooling effect in the desert sun which was blazing at us without a cloud in sight and luckily for us we were not bothered by the bad weather that plagued many observers across the country!!! We drank a lot of cold water (12 litres between the two of us in just 6 hours!!!) and Electral powder mixed with fresh lemon juice as we knew we would be dehydrating ourselves otherwise!!!
We even showed the transit to all the hotel staff members through a big pair of 16X70 binoculars as well as through the cameras and also showed it live on a TV screen with a feed from the video camera!!! We were too tired to even eat anything during the event and just did nothing but pack up and sleep after an early candle light dinner at the poolside restaurant!!! It was a wonderful trip to see the twice in a lifetime event (it should be visible again after a gap of about 8 years in June 2012!!!) so we may not see it from India as it is at the time of the monsoon season again but who knows for sure?!!!!! Clear skies could occur a second time too!!!