Off we went to Jaisalmer:
The train journey to Jaisalmer was long – approx. 16 hours from Delhi. So basically if you want to visit Jaisalmer – you need a little more than a weekend. The train passed through several stations of Rajasthan including Pokharan. It was huge tracts of arid land everywhere.
After alighting in Jaisalmer, we went to Residency point (Hotel Rajadhani), the place we were planning to stay. It was a simple homestay in Jaisalmer with clean rooms. I loved it immediately. (And for 400 bucks a night!) After settling in, we went to the terrace. The view was remarkable. Jaisalmer is rightfully called the golden city. We could see the fort at a distance. It was majestic.
Our first place in the ‘places to see in Jaisalmer’ was the Patwa ki Haveli. This was the first haveli to be erected in Jaisalmer and is actually a cluster of 5 smaller havelis. The palette that the eyes see is a hue of sandstone color. It had started to rain there, which is so rare. It was a blessing and a respite from the desert heat in April. We then went to the havelis rooftop and got a little wet in the desert rain !
Oh, we also spotted a man who was showing off his ‘it came in some Guinness/Limca world record’ beard.
Our next stop was the Gadisar lake. This lake acted as a reservoir for the entire city at one point. You can sit quietly by the lake and admire the structure in the center of the lake.
After spending an hour there, we went to catch the puppet show in Jaisalmers cultural center. The puppet show was fun, a young boy left us all amazed with his talent.
We then went to the fort! Finally. The plentiful shops on the way did distract us a lot. We bought colorful umbrellas, ‘camel’ leather juthis (so they say, I highly doubt that, one guy admitted it’s goat), leather wallets and sling bags and of course, some postcards. You have to really negotiate a lot ! The fort is filled with small narrow lanes with shops attracting tourists. At every point, you’ll be amazed with the architecture and colors of the fort. Jaisalmer fort is famous for its Jain temples.
Saturday, we hired a jeep and left for Lakhmana sand dunes to get the once in lifetime experience of sleeping in the desert under the open sky. We first stopped at the Bada bagh – a set of royal cenotaphs. It was stunning. I remember thinking to myself how lucky the people are to have such royal tombstones. Next we went to Kuldhara – the haunted and deserted village near Jaisalmer. There are several stories about this eerie looking (and sounding) village. Apparently, a lot of movies have been shot here.
Finally we went to our camels – the beginning of the camel safari. My camel was called Number 1, the others were Shahrukh, Salman etc. The camel men took these names with huge pride. The rest of the evening and the night were some of the best moments in my life. From experiencing my first desert storm to sleeping under the starry sky so close to the Indian border with Pakistan, each moment was spectacular. That night, it poured heavily. There was massive lightning too. We had no place to hide other than our jeep. When the sky cleared around 2:00 AM, we slept outside.
Just sitting on the fine warm sand in the morning and seeing nothing but huge dunes of sand everywhere can make you smile. If you get a chance, do experience this.
If you are planning a trip and have any query, do get in touch with me through Twitter @shrutidshah
Original article here