One day the 5 year old me watched it’s glimpse in A. R. Rahman’s “Maa Tujhe Salaam”. It was golden, shimmering almost and was nothing like anything ordinary. I believe that’s when Jaisalmer had set up a tiny tent in my mind and has been staying there ever since.
Years later, the 25 year old me boarded a train from Jaipur in the verge of curing that years old curiosity.
After living the hurly-burly of ever so wonderful Varanasi, I started looking for calmness in wide spaces. Finally I found my hideaway in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan. So, after 8 days of gazing and soaking all things golden in the beautiful city of Jaisalmer, here I am curating my most favorite things from the city.
- The Jaisalmer Fort:
Jaisalmer Fort is believed to be one of the very few (perhaps the only) “living forts” in the world, as nearly one fourth of the old city’s population still resides within the fort. WOW. The fort dominates the skyline buttressed by 99 bastions, has seen wars, strength, sacrifices and tragic ends. That is one fort that never gave up and lived up to narrate stories of its legends.
Walking in and around the narrow lanes of the Jaisalmer fort is a delight that almost seems like a movie set experience. With all the colourful shops, faces, architecture and endless hustles, its something you’re definitely going to cherish.
Tip: It can take you a full day to take an entire Fort tour. Wear light and carry your summer essentials for the same, because Rajasthan!
-Pick your best view point and help yourself in chasing the incredible city views.
– Visit the Jain temples and get amazed by their beautiful architecture.
– Shop, eat and relax at any cafe located inside the Fort premises.
- The Desert Safari:
The most obvious answer to “Why Jaisalmer?” is the desert safari . And so I did it too.
- I wish someone had warned me of sore thighs after an hour of camel Safari. Yes, it will hurt.
- The ideal price for spending a night in the desert along with the Camel safari (to and fro), plus a jeep safari to a few villages around, tea+ snacks+ dinner+ breakfast+ mineral water will cost you Rs. 1000 to 1500 depending upon the vendor and the season.
- The temperature in the desert can unexpectedly drop very low. Make sure you carry warm clothes if you’re planning on spending the night in the desert.
But let me tell you something about the desert. The air seemed to be made of a mysteriously beautiful substance. It was almost like it wanted you to experience happiness amongst nothingness. And take it from me, written: It did its job.
It was the moment, my moment of surreal joy i.e sleeping in a desert (not in a tent, just a cot with blanket) under the wide open sky and contemplating the million stars and the amazing moment I’ve been blessed with.
- Village Hopping:
Jaisalmer has many villages in and around, with their own significant history, beauty and culture. For example:
Kuldhara: This village had been abandoned and cursed for over 200 years now. Once a prosperous village and home to the Paliwal Brahmins, Kuldhara remains barren and inhabited now.
I met a storyteller while entering Kuldhara who narrated the unfortunate story of the village. I’ll not reveal the story here because I want you to discover that yourself.
They believe that the ghosts of Kuldhara still haunt the village, making livelihood impossible there. Spooky much?
- Bada Bagh:
The king of Jaisalmer had a cenotaph built for his deceased father atop the hill. Many other cenotaphs for royal figures followed after that. That is how Bada Bagh came into existence. A cenotaph is a small temple or tribute statue for a deceased relative. Bada Bagh stands beautifully in the middle of nowhere, making it a perfect place for catching the sun go down.
Tip: The entry fee to Bada Bagh is Rs.100 (+ Rs 100 more for camera) and there is a large possibility of finding zero or minimum number of tourists there.
- Gadisar Lake:
Gadisar Lake has to be one of my most favourite palaces in Jaisalmer to spend mornings in. Absolutely pristine.
- Patwaon ki Haveli:
The ancient rich people colony, you might say. The first of all havelis that were built in Jaisalmer were the Patwaon ki Haveli that consists of 5 Havelis in total. Renowned for its intricate architecture, stunning wall paintings, sandstone-carved jharokas and balconies, these havelis are a must visit.
I forgot the camera batteries in the hotel and missed out on pictures in the Havelis. Never mind!
- Sunset chasing:
Choose your favorite rooftop cafe with the best view of the fort. Immerse yourself in the stunning view of the Golden Fort that glows as the sun sets.
By the evening, the Fort lights are on and all you can see is the shimmering fort against the darkness of the night. A sight to behold and the most beautiful way to end your day.
I fell in love with Jaisalmer and now you know why. I hope this blog tempts you to plan your next trip to the city so golden.