A major tourist destination in Rajasthan, Jaisalmer, also called the ‘Golden City’, is a world heritage site. Thronged with tourists, especially during winters, Jaisalmer is a gateway to the massive desert region of India.
I have had an opportunity to visit Jaisalmer twice. The first one, with family, way younger. Another was recent with college friends, Shweta and Mahak. The two experiences were entirely different yet jaunty. There are a few places in Rajasthan that set back time to a period with an authentic era and fireflies of the past. We were taught in schools of a time in history when there existed kingdoms with palaces and its own town with their people glorifying them. Jaisalmer is one example. Almost a quarter of the population still resides in the Jaisalmer fort, hence, also called the living fort.
We had recently attended the wedding of one of us in Jaipur, and were pepped up for the post mini vacation to the golden city. We took an overnight bus from Jaipur to Jaisalmer. That journey made me recollect what I had forgotten in the past four years- drastic winters of north India. So not a winter person.
We got to the first advertiser we could find (or did he find us) and agreed to take a two day mini tour with him. Please note that if you want to visit the Thar desert, you need to enroll yourself in one of these travel itineraries. A plethora of them are available online and offline. Our perfect procrastinated planning landed us up in one of the latter. So our hotel was hmm..cute. With the charpai and earthen pots, their terrace cafe was rather unwinding.
Gadisar Lake: We left for Gadisar lake the same day. A quiet and a pacifistic lake with an array of colorful local goods sold, this lake is worth a visit. It’s a writer’s gallery and a poet’s home. Always at peace and full of new experiences, we found a young guide, around eight years old, who told us about the history of the lake. Extremely friendly, he was a good photographer with an eye for detail and we love that. 😀
SAM Sand Dunes: In the afternoon, we left for SAM Sand dunes. The journey was filled with some local music and exquisite landscapes. En route is an exotic village called Kuldhara and like any other abandoned village, it has paranormal activities. Find the video of Kuldhara here: Us in Kuldhara
Do pay a visit to know where and how. Also, the camels! We had our share of fun with the sight seeing on camels. It was a bumpy ride, literally. We were jumping around sand like a toddler given freedom on an inflatable bouncer playhouse. Later, we reached this shelter camp with a hundred other tourists. This camp had little pretty cottages and we were given one of them. This was followed by a series of traditional dances, plays and songs in the evening performed by the local artists. An experience indeed. The stars looked brighter and silence hovered over at night.
Nathmal ki Haveli: The next day, we started back for Jaisalmer. We stopped at Nathmal ki Haveli. One thing to note is that the architecture of these places makes them a must visit. Appreciate the finesse and effort put in by our ancestors.
Jaisalmer Fort: The double-fortified ramparts and circular bastions of this fort are incorporated into the stunning architectural design against defense and battle. This living fort houses the Jawahar Palace which was the residence of a royal family. The ornate and close grained design will captivate your attention. Also visit the Jain temples and the Laxminath temple. There are hotels and mini cafes inside this fort which makes it uber cool.
Patwon Ki Haveli: A group of five small havelis (traditional mansions), this place is iconic in its architecture. It has an aura which makes you stay and delve a bit more into history. Peaceful yet captivating, a walk around and inside these havelis will make you fall in love with Jaisalmer. The mirror embossed walls, the fine aesthetic work, the yellow-golden miscellanea and the belongingness, you cannot miss this place.
Food: In one word, sumptuous. Now that I live in a different city, I can taste and appreciate the difference. It’s mostly veg and extremely delicious! Do try Masala Papad here. Eat about just anything with a glass of water handy! Spicy is an understatement.
This is just a glimpse of Jaisalmer and I can only do so much to convince you to visit this adorned city! And as the tagline of Rajasthan Tourism speaks for itself..
” Jaane Kya Dikh Jaye..”