Rajasthan is not just hippie travelers paradise but even the short trip ones ensure they visit this place, there’s a certain old-world charm that somehow attracts everyone, even the Indians haven’t been spared. I remember visiting Jaisalmer around 9 years back and it’s still fresh in my memory as I was there just yesterday. The city has a very rustic appeal, away from the hustle bustle from the world. It seems to be going at it’s own desired slow pace, unshaken by the hypocrisy and dirty politics of the world.
You still find majority of local people dressed in local dhoti-kurta (all white) and jutiyan which is not the case in rest of India if you are wondering as an outsider, we have managed to ape the western world in quiet a number of fields some good some bad though.
I took a small cozy hotel near the Fort, there are so many of them just next to each other for as cheap as 200 INR/day so no worries about burning a hole in your pocket. Not impressed yet? Most of them even have in-house kitchen to serve you nice all-day breakfast and Indian food at very cheap prices.
The Jaisalmer fort is a sight you can’t afford to miss with its peculiar yellow coloured bricks (that’s one of the reasons it is called the golden fort) and grand structure, it is sure to leave you awestruck with its superfine artwork that would have taken decades of hard-work to reach that level. Built by the Rajput ruler Rawal Jaiswal in 1156 it still stands as one the biggest fortress present in today’s world.
There’s even a grand Maharaja Palace where the royal family of Jaisalmer stays today in a limited portion and the other part is open to public during strict visiting hours. The fine karigari done on each and every single wall there depicts sheer talent of classic artists who did all of this with their simple tool-kits. Even today the whole palace is controlled and maintained by the royal family, with no objections opposed by the government officials. There’s a beautiful lake/pond just close by to this palace which is good place is you wish to click some wonderful pictures or simply want to spend time boating and relaxing.
Jaisalmer shares intimate borers with Pakistan through the Thar desert for as long as 471 Km & it’s a complete loss if you haven’t spend a day or two in the desert safari, experiencing harsh nature. If you’ve booked a tour guide beforehand, it’s great they pick you up from your hotel in jeep and ride to the desert is roughly 3 hours away from main city; where the local people would be waiting with camels to take you thru the desert. While looking for a tour operator ensure the route taken is a less travelled one. The one I opted for was just me and my group for miles and miles in radius. The moment I got onto the camel we were rushed in a particular direction (mind it, it all looks the same direction to people like us where there are absolutely no signs and sand everywhere) to see the magnificent sunset. It was an alluring sight as it felt like the sun was setting just behind the dune in front of you but if you try and run to that dune then you realize oh it’s the next one. Warning! You’d reach the border and might get shot for no reason, so don’t try and chase the sun.
Next we were taken to a place where we had some local dancers a kind of get together and food which is strictly vegetarian (but we were lucky to be served some good wild chicken fresh cooked all in a room though). Around midnight we left the place and slept on a dune which was quiet an experience, it was so windy that you experience being blown away (well almost). Next morning we had an early breakfast and went ahead to explore the desert; It’s all beautiful but its all same, shimmering sand in a dry heat wave that’s what you are served for hours finally moving towards the spot where we were picked up we halted under a tree for some magical lunch to be cooked on the cow-dung (which is a regular fuel in large parts of India). Getting picked up from there we made it to the hotel only to pass the night as early morning we had to catch the train back to New-Delhi the metropolitan melting pot of India.
For a complete trip of Jaisalmer I would suggest a 4-6 days relaxed itinerary, with about 3 to 4 days in city and about 2 days in the desert with slow and easy going plans where you can cover a monument a day and explore markets and nearby area.
- Get There- By air Jaisalmer airport 17 KM, by train 2.6 KM from main city, by road Delhi is 770 KM.
- Stay- Shahi palace for budget, 1st gate-Fusion for mid-range & Suryagarh for Luxury,.
- Eat- Kuku coffee shop, desert boy’s dhani & vyas meal service.
- Good for- desert safari, cultural exploration & peace seeking.