We stepped out of the fort and explored the most famous haveli in tow. This particular haveli has been immortalised in many Bollywood movies and for some reason appeared familiar. The Patwon Ki Haveli is elaborate, quaint and grand and truly stands out in its brilliance. It was originally built in the mid 18th century by five Jain brothers who made their fortune in trading jewellery and fine brocades. Although it’s more impressive from the outside, the view towards the back of the fort from the roof is magnificent.
There we met a robust old man with the longest moustache seated smugly on a high chair.
After a few photo sessions we were taken to the best silverware shop located in the lanes outside the fort. The shop had some of the best silver jewellery and finally after some coaxing and heavy duty bargaining, we settled for some anklets and toe rings.
Hanging out with locals
Later, that evening we bid adieu to Sahil, thanked him for taking us around and entertaining us nonstop with his ‘international’ jokes. Sahil then insisted we take a photo with him and asked us to write a review on his diary. As we browsed the pages we came across many positive reviews written in Spanish, Korean, French and Japanese all praising Sahil’s versatile knowledge of Jaisalmer and its best kept secrets . We wrote an honest appraisal and gave a heavy tip after which someone insisted we store him in our hearts forever. We promised to do so as we all burst into loud bawdy laughter.
"Bye bye , Buenos Tardes, encantadode conocerle." He muttered as we retired for the day.
Of course a trip to Jaisalmer is not complete without the Camel safari and a night of song and dance in the desert. Around four in the afternoon, we were dutifully picked by the hotel driver and taken about 20 miles away from the city to the desert.
As vegetation became sparse the landscape changed, we found ourselves in the middle of sand dunes. It was a breathtaking sight with miles and miles of rolling dunes, yellow sand and powder blue skies. Soon we were introduced to our camel guide and his camel, glamorously named Michael Jackson. It was apparently one of the most famous camels in Jaisalmer. From there on we were taken to sunset point . The camel ride was slow but extremely enjoyable and as we soaked in the desert sun, we clicked a million pics all waiting to be uploaded on Facebook.
Later we were taken to a nearby tent where a ‘cultural programme’ awaited us. A huge bonfire was set up in the centre along with a small stage for the performers. As we watched the dancers and singers I realised that even though I might have watched this on TV, it was a different experience to see a live dancer moving her body to the haunting melodies of ancient bard-like singers . Some of the dancers were mystical and enthralled the audience with their wondrous talents. I must confess I came across such beautiful people in this desert town from gypsies to beggars to random camel touts. They were all gorgeous and oh-so-handsome!
The way back
On our way back to Delhi, we met a charming American couple that was celebrating their thirtieth wedding anniversary. They had travelled extensively across India but nothing had prepared them for the beauty of Jaisalmer. The woman in particular was bowled over by the Golden city and considered Jaisalmer only second to the Taj during her journey of India. We exchanged some traveller stories and all of us agreed that it was an incredible place with some marvellous people.
As our train left the station, we looked back at the fort, the yellow sandstone, the smiling faces waving goodbye and then suddenly out of nowhere, we caught Sahil running towards us with a huge card in his hand. He thanked us non-stop then blurted another cheesy song for my travel companion Monisha. I’d already figured that he’d developed a small crush on her and was definitely floored by her sultry Mallu looks. Monisha also played her part smiled back and took a quick selfie with him.
In the end both smiled and supposedly “promised” to be in touch with each other. Well, all’s well that ends well. I’d definitely go back someday. Most definitely, yes!
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