When we think of Rajasthan gone by, we often imagine the impressive sand dunes, majestic camels, stories of martyrs and royalties amongst perfectly carved palaces or perhaps it’s the age-old culture that narrates its opulence. Well, for those who are searching for such quintessential Royal experience, I think I’ve found the perfect answer – Jaisalmer!
Located around 575 km west from Jaipur, it’s situated near the border of India and Pakistan in west Rajasthan and covers an area of 5.1 sq km. Jaisalmer is famous worldwide for its UNESCO world heritage site, but what most people don’t realize is Jaisalmer isn’t just a city, it’s a land of diverse heritage and witnessing the cultural marathon of 850 artists at once in the Desert festival this season fortified my belief.
While most people make a mistake of passing through a day-trip to Jaisalmer, I say, staying a little longer reward you with a chance to explore the best of the offbeat gems in the city. I recently spent 4 days experiencing the best of Jaisalmer and If you are on a low budget and have a long weekend, Jaisalmer will make an ideal destination.
Below are the details and the guide for a long weekend visit to Jaisalmer.
Though my intention was an exclusive visit to the Popular Desert festival, what came along was equally amusing. The 4-day trip started with my stay at the Classic Inn Hotel a little about 3-kms from the railway station. The best part about the hotel was the separate sand resort they owned at the Sam sand dunes (Thar desert) where I had spent a day.
I started my journey from Delhi and booked a direct train to Jaisalmer without burning my pocket. The train departed at around 5:30 p.m and I reached the next day at 12:30 pm. The journey was not much of a challenge as I booked my tickets prior.
Upon reaching, the hotel provided the transport facility without any extra cost. The day began with a visit to the magnificent Jaisalmer fort where you can indulge in the history of local culture, their handicrafts and handlooms.
Close to the fort is a traditional market – I call it a Shopaholics’ delight. The place offer statement clothing and accessories, perfect for you and your loved ones and I bet you won’t leave the place empty handed, ladies enjoy.
The next two days of my visit were exclusively for Gadisar lake, Patwon ki Haveli, and Mandir haveli and trust me every architecture had their own narrative and was equally mesmerizing. For travelers, looking for guides, I suggest going for the licensed one, as most are con-men, posing as guides to extort money.
Then came the day I was waiting for – the trip to the Sams Sand dunes, where the main attraction was the hour-long jeep safari along with camel ride which later turned to camel race when the mahout was convinced that I ride horses. It was fun and travelling alone is never too bad.
In the later part of the evening I witnessed the yearly camel and horse races at the venue along with other programs which included tug of war between Desis and expats which of course the Desis won. The program ended with the Limca book of record performance where 850 artists came together in a cultural marathon of folk, traditional and Bollywood night.
A night well spent and a trip to remember – one of the 100 places to visit in INDIA before you die.