Here’s why Jaisalmer should be in your itinerary

2017 took me to the sand dunes of Jaisalmer and I can simply never forget the night spend under the starry sky on Thar desert. 3D and 2N, that’s how long it took me to explore a city that I had on my wishlist for a long time.

How to plan a trip to Jaisalmer

What is it about Rajasthan that has not been spoken before? No matter which part of the state you are in, can go on and on and find a thousand ways to express the magic of one of the most colourful and historically rich destination in India. The state is so vast that covering it in one go is not just impossible but also, not recommended. It’s a place that should be savoured with time, by living in its slow pace of life and going back to it, time and again, to unravel the mysteries of the grandeur of the forts, temples, mosques, stories, luxury, food, landscape and culture. 

How to reach Jaisalmer:

While the nearest airport is in Jodhpur and there’s a railway station in Jaisalmer, I would personally recommend you to take the road to the city as that’s what I experienced and loved. I took a flight to Ahmedabad from Mumbai and then my friends and I drove to Jaisalmer which took us about 10 hours.

When I did I go:

While the best time to be in Rajasthan is September to February, I went during the low season which is August. From late-August, the temperature starts to dip in the night and the mornings are pleasant. 

Where did I stay:

There are a number of options to stay in Jaisalmer, one of them being Zostel which backpackers opt for. We did an Airbnb hosted by Toffu Safari which is at a 5 minutes distance from the Jaisalmer fort. 

Jaisalmer Fort Rajasthan

Toffu Safari, Jaisalmer

Toffu Safari, Airbnb hotel

 

The stay was comfortable and especially good for its location and a wonderful view of the Jaisalmer fort from its rooftop. They also help out with booking camel and desert safari plus in case you are looking for it. You will also find accommodation inside Jaisalmer fort, albeit a little expensive but there is no dearth of finding a place to stay at in Jaisalmer.

How to best explore the city:

Walking is the best way to savour Jaisalmer. If you are planning to spend a night at the Sand Dunes of the Thar Desert, you can book a vehicle which your hotel will help you out with.

Is it safe for Women: Yes. Jaisalmer is a safe city for women travelers. However, I would recommend to go back to your hotel post sunset and if you are looking at staying the night out on the desert, opt for tent if alone.

How many days would you need: While I had 3D to explore the city, I did miss out on a few places. You can club Jodhpur with Jaisalmer and do a 7 days trip.

Let’s take a walk down memory lane and let me take you around the places I visited and simply loved.

Gadsisar Lake:

We reached our Airbnb in the afternoon and soon after lunch moved to spend time at the Gadsisar Lake. Built in 1367, this lake used to be Jaisalmer’s only source of water. It is surrounded by beautiful temples and resting places with Hinglaj mata Temple in the middle of it all where you will often find people boating and simply feeding the fishes. I would personally recommend you to spend at least 2 hours at the lake and walk up to the amphitheater area to watch the sunset behind the Jaisalmer fort. I remember looking at the sunset and leaving a sigh of anticipation to explore the fort, the very next day.

 

Jaisalmer Fort:

After breakfast at our Airbnb, we started our day with Jaisalmer fort which is known to be the only living fort in India. Known for its continuity of history with people still living inside as the living tale of the beautiful grandeur, the fort is a magical place to explore. 

 

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🙌 #Jaisalmer #jaisalmerfort #jaisalmerdiaries #jaisalmerdiaries

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Made of 3 layers of wall, multiple gates and 99 bastions; the fort have lived several battles in the past. Walking inside takes almost a day and hence you should make sure that you do not club anything else on this day. Walking inside is almost like living a world inside of it all; with restaurants, shopping areas, museum, etc. at every slope and corner. It’s a paradise for photographers and not limited to Rajasthani cuisine restaurants but also: italian, burmese, etc.

Did you know: If you look closely, it shines like gold on a sunny day, hence the name, Golden Fort. 

Forts in Rajasthan

Buy Souvenirs from Jaisalmer

Kuldhara Village:

I think there is something about me and places with an interesting past. 14 kms from Jaisalmer is an abandoned village of Kuldhara which has no sign of life since years. A 200 year old village, the story of it goes back to the 13th century when Paliwal Brahims stayed here and left one night, leaving everything behind. Lore has it that gold still remains but there is no sign of it. Over the years, this village has acquired the reputation of a haunted site and is not open 5pm. Once you walk in here, there is a sense of eeriness which encapsulates you but also the undeniable fact that the neatly clustered homes have a story to tell which you want to take back home.

 

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What you see here is a fragment of the 200 year old – abandoned village of #Kuldhara in Jaisalmer. Story goes back to 13th century when Paliwal Brahims stayed in this village. .. While there are stories of no water and earthquake leading to the abandoning of the village – my favorite and most widely populated story about it is – how, to save the integrity and pride of a girl in the village, the entire villagers left the place in one night taking nothing but only their Bhagwan (Lord) idol kept in the temple. .. Over years, #Kuldhara has acquired reputation as a haunted site and is not open after 5 pm for anyone. .. I will be sharing the entire story and more about Jaisalmer on my upcoming journal on @thebrownscooter. Stay tuned!

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Patwon ki Haveli:

You wouldn’t believe, we were going to miss this. Picturesque is the word for this 18th century Haveli which is a collection of 5 different havelis. Part-museum, the landmark is known for its intricate carving and is privately owned by the owners. 

The Haveli is well kept and has managed to recreate the life of merchants who have lived here across years. While the ground floor is a showroom which sells various souvenirs and clothes, the floors above houses various items, rooms of the earlier residents. It is a must visit for the history buffs and of course those who love architecture. 

 

 

The entrance of the Haveli has several shopping options where vendors sell everything you would want to buy as a souvenir from Rajasthan; be it the artifacts, Puppets, Jewellery, clothes, etc. I did buy myself an anklet from a villager here. It is always good to buy from the locals, that’s the best thing you can return to the destination and help in sustainability of the tourism and its culture.

 

Nachna Haveli
Another Haveli in Jaisalmer

Desert Safari:

This was a surreal experience. We started our journey towards the Thar Desert post lunch. A few kms away from the main city, Thar Desert is the biggest in Asia. While there are several areas to camp here, Sam Sand Dunes is the most famous. There’s option to camel ride, go for a Jeep Safari, spend the night in a tent or simply under the open sky on a makeshift bed. No second guesses, I opted to spend my night watching the stars. It was a beautiful night sky, the one I never get to witness back home in Mumbai. 

Our private vehicle took us till the start of the desert from where we took the camels for a ride. It was my first time and I had my camel all to myself. (I am strictly against the use of animals where they are tortured to do something they don’t want to; this was one experience am equally sorry for)

Jeep Safari is available for morning as well as night. We opted for the one at night and the adrenaline rush it gifted us was beyond any. 

 

We woke up to the sand on every part of our body. I still remember seeing 5 wishing stars and sleeping to the wonderful stories of 2 local men. It was one of those nights you want to lock in your memory and lose the key. We even met a little boy who sings for the tourists to earn money for his school. (I often wonder how lucky am I to get everything so easily back in the city.)

I would go back to Jaisalmer to live that night again.

Amar Sagar Jain Temple: 

While this was not a part of my itinerary, it was worth a visit. Located near Lodurva, on the way to Thar from Jaisalmer city (you can even visit it while going back to the city), Amar Sagar Jain Temple is non-touristy, well kept and quiet spot to spend some time at. I fell for its architecture and the flowers in its garden. 

Note: If you are carrying a camera, they will ask to deposit 50 INR for it.

 

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Look at that beautiful intricate design and carving – a side of the #AmarSagar Jain temple in #Jaisalmer – located near Lodurva. This is a place you absolutely can’t afford to miss either on your way to the #TharDesert or while coming back to the city. The fact that many people don’t know about it, the place is un-commercialised. Inspite of being the desert area, there is greenery in and around the temple and the aura is so peaceful ☮️ There’s an entry fee if you are carrying a camera phone/camera inside (50 Rs.). 📷 @rawat_ashish . Do check it out and stay tuned to read more about it on my #blog coming up next weekend on @thebrownscooter ✌️🛵 P.S: Hi Nupur on my right 😋 . . #Rajasthan #Travel #TBSTravels #Trips #Desert #TheBrownScooter #History #architecture #jaintemple #temple #travelrealindia #travel #instatravel #natgeotravel #rajasthandiaries #lonelyplanet #india #wanderlust #travellingdiaries #citydiaries #citytravel #traveling #travelphotography #travelblogger #journey #gtgi #joyoflife

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Our airbnb had a musical night for all the guests one night to experience the local culture. It also has a restaurant with a good spread of breakfast, lunch and dinner in case you don’t want to step out for a meal. I would recommend you to book your stay and tickets in advance as hotels tend to get filled during peak season pretty earlier.  

Hope this blog helps you plan your trip. If you have specific questions, do leave in the comments section below or write to us at thebrownscooter@gmail.com.

Until Rajasthan calls me back (again)

Keep Travelling,
WanderlustGirl_

(The photos with me in them have been clicked by Ashish Rawat, a brilliant photographer, do check his profile for the beautiful Jaisalmer series)
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