This is the second post in the highlights of Rajasthan series.
After visiting beautiful Udaipur, I took the overnight bus into the Thar Desert to visit mystical Jaisalmer and its stone citadel. The town is famous for its fort, camel safaris and marijuana lassies. The earthy colour of the city blends into the surrounding desert sand, creating a surreal camouflage.
Like Udaipur, the alleyways of Jaisalmer are enchanting, especially when you manage to find the fort after navigating through them. Although Jaisalmer seemed to have even more cows roaming the streets than your average Indian city so watch out for the poop everywhere.
The main activity that people come to Jaisalmer for is the camel safari into the Thar Desert. In my classic bad tourist style, I missed this attraction. I was unsure of the camel’s welfare and heard that the small area of dunes amongst the desert scrub were nothing compared to those in the Middle East or North Africa, so I think it’s an adventure for another time.
I was content to explore the fort. Unlike the Fort in Jodhpur, Jaisalmer Fort is inhabited and you can find numerous hotels, restaurants and shops as you explore the streets. It’s abuzz with the energy of generations and there’s something very special about it.
Within the fort, the palace of the royal family is located. The impressive weapons and stories told by the audio guide paint a very bloody history of the fort, with mass suicides that occurred when battles were lost and tackling the water problem in the desert location.
There’s also a complex of jain temples within the fort. They’re very impressive with a complex and detailed carved interior. I visited in the early morning when worshipers gathered for rituals.
Outside the fort, you can explore some of the houses (havelis) occupied by the wealthy class of Jaisalmer. I visited Patwa Ki Haveli and it was lovely, the highlight being the views of the fort from the rooftop terrace.
You can also visit the lake, it’s a little walk out of town and nothing spectacular but quite peaceful and includes nice structures.
Where I stayed: Dylan’s Guesthouse. Super cheap (100 rupees for a dorm bed) and basic but great for meeting people and the staff were very helpful. I preferred to stay outside the fort as there are concerns for its preservation with the influx of tourists.
What I’m reading: Holy Cow: An Indian Adventure by Sarah MacDonald
Have you visited mystical Jaisalmer? Did you love it as much as I did?