Jaisalmer, the Golden city.
This "Golden City" is located close to the Pakistan border and in close proximity to the Thar Desert. The city’s most prominent landmark is the Jaisalmer Fort. Unlike most other forts in India, Jaisalmer Fort is not just a tourist attraction. It houses shops, hotels and ancient haveli houses where generations continue to live. This city is a great location to visit when traveling through India as it has a real vibe of its own. Surrounded by the Thar desert and lots of unique culture make this one of our favorite cities in India.
Explore Jaisalmer Fort:
The Jaisalmer Fort also goes by the name Sonar Quila or Golden Fort as it rises from the desert itself and seems to become one with the golden hues of the sand. The setting sun adds its own magic and shrouds the fort with mystique. The fort is constructed in the classic style of the royals by local craftsmen. This fort is a world heritage site.
The nice thing about this Fort is that people still really live in it as in earlier times. In this way it is still really a Fort as it was intended in history, and not just a museum as in many other Indian cities. You even have the option to sleep in a hotel in the city wall, we did this too and it was great.
Thar desert Safari:
Jaisalmer is particularly located next to the Thar Desert. This desert environment has shaped Jaisalmer. That's why it's great to do a desert safari through this desert. A large part of the desert is a kind of savana with vegetation. But luckily there is also a part with sand dunes, so we spent the night there.
We did a camel safari of two days and one night. We slept wonderfully in the open air and enjoyed the clearest starry sky of this trip. We even saw some shooting stars. Also eating together with local guides made this a great experience. The camel rides take a few hours maximum but are also a great experience. Comparing prices is a must, we paid 2500 INR per person including everything. So jeep transport, camel, guides, food, water, abandoned city, desert village, oasis lake, and night equipment.
Kuldhara (the abandoned city):
Located about 18 km from the city of Jaisalmer is this old town that was abandoned by its villagers in the 1800s. It was like the entire town vanished in the course of a single night. With about 85 villages full of people, it remains a mystery as to how no one saw them leave; in fact, even to this date, no one knows where all of them went either. The village remains uninhabited to the day, in the same state that the villagers had left it, hundreds of years ago. We visited this deserted city as part of our Thar desert safari.
Baa Ri Haveli:
This is a five-storied stone haveli located centrally inside the Jaisalmer fort and is about 450 years old. The wooden ceilings, carved out doors and windows, grand balconies have been preserved to give people a glimpse into the history of this architectural and cultural marvel. The terrace gives a panoramic view including the Jain temples, Kings palace, the rest of Jaisalmer fort and the golden city. Entrance fee is 50 INR.
Jain Temples of Jaisalmer:
The Jain Temples located inside the Jaisalmer Fort date back to the 12th and 15th centuries. The temples are dedicated to Rikhabdevji and Shambhavdevji, wise teachers who taught people how to attain nirvana. Like all other structures in Jaisalmer, the temples are carved out of yellow sandstone. They have been built in the famed Dilwara style which is known for its beautiful architecture. The temples are free for Indians, however foreigners have to pay an entrance fee of 10 INR, as well as 500 INR for using a camera.
This lake is located south of the Fort and is easily accessible on foot. It is wonderfully quiet here, in contrast to the Fort. You can rent a boat, and there is even a laser water show every day at 6 pm. There are also some good restaurants next to the waterline with beautiful rooftop terraces and views over the lake.
Get a drink at a rooftop:
Escape the hustle and bustle in Jaisalmer Fort? Then find one of the many rooftops at a hotel or restaurant. Here you can enjoy the beautiful view in peace and a nice snack or drink. Also on the city walls are several beautiful viewpoints that are absolutely worth it.
Ready for a fun evening with friends? Then a weed-infused lassi might be something for you? The government-authorized bhang lassi shop is located right at the gate of Jaisalmer Fort. You can choose from Medium or strong lassi shakes. From experience we can say that they are quite sturdy so be careful. But maybe we are not used to much, haha.
There are many souvenir shops and boutiques both inside and outside the Fort. As well as street vendors. This is an ideal place to enjoy some shopping or to buy a nice souvenir. Make sure you have a good negotiation strategy, because this is very necessary in many cases :)