Exploring the Golden City of India that’s clad in royalty, glitter and scrumptious food
Jaisalmer is the middle child of Rajasthan; often excluded and ignored and always shadowed by the likes of the Pink City and the City of Lakes, both of which are iconic in the state. Having said that, Jaisalmer is a fairytale land, enveloped in sand and the long lost influences of the Persian, Mughal and Rajput. The city is beautifully stuck in time, in its old way and medieval-ness with a hint of luxury in the form of its lavish yet few resorts and properties, is a travellers delight.
Jaisalmer doesn’t need a week long expedition; three-days and you would have seen sunsets, sand dunes in the Thar desert, mirages, and a majestic old fort. For first timers, make sure to pack enough sunscreen and a light layer and leave ample space for local souvenirs in your Safari luggage and Safari backpacks.
Getting to Jaisalmer is an adventure itself. Hire a car from the Blue City, Jodhpur, and drive for about 5 hours to reach your final destination, through a semi-desert. The sights and sounds en route are an amalgamation of camel herds, some peacocks and an occasional chai tapri. As the light becomes dark, you will see a city silhouette in the distance, that is the mighty golden city of Jaisalmer. Get ready to spend three whole days here, amidst royalty.
Vacationing inside India’s only living fort
Jaisalmer fort has a rich history: built in 1156 by King Rawal Jaisal, the fort stands tall, right in the middle of the city and is an architectural treat. Life inside the fort is magical: inhabitants are descendants of those who served the king almost 800 years ago . They make their living through tourism. While the fort boasts 99 bastions, the walls are made from yellow sandstone bricks, filled with jaalis and jharokha.
The insides of the fort have a lot to offer: from Airbnbs to hostels and homestays to multiple food options and shopping opportunities. While every corner displays beautiful views of the city, the insides of the Sonar Quila is a whole day activity. Make sure to check out Maharawal in Chauhata Square, Tazia tower, Raj Mahal, Jain Temple, Laxmikanth Temple, and Jawahar Palace. Above all, strap on your Safari backpack and stroll around the golden fort; marvel at its architecture and facades and click every little nook and corner. Staying inside one of India’s UNESCO heritage sites and exploring the entire space by foot has a charm of its own and is a must do.
Beyond the fort
Even as you step out of the fort, Jaisalmer, the city, has a whole lot to offer. For architecture lovers, the 18th century Salim Singh ki Haveli with its 38 beautifully carved balconies is a great place to start. Follow it up with Nathmal Ki Haveli, another yellow structure with carvings of elephants on the yellow colored stone and other intricate designs on both the interior and exterior walls of the Haveli. A city hotspot is the man-made Gadisar Lake; it’s perfect for an evening boat ride and spectacular views. For adventure lovers, dune topography and off-roading in the sand dunes of the Thar Desert are some great activities. That’s not all, there is a whole lot more you can do in the desert; from camel safaris to star gazing, the golden sands of this magnanimous desert are everything a traveller will love.
Jaisalmer is a feast with all kinds of delicious choices. Whilst in the fort, you can enjoy simple meals with views of the city or can choose from Italian, Tibetan, Chinese and Indian meals. Desert Boy Dhani gives you old school Rajasthani cuisine with a local vibe thanks to the live music while Cafe the Kaku serves a mix of Chinese, Mexican, Indian and Japanese cuisine.
A visit to Jaisalmer is no ordinary journey; you immerse yourself into a relic from the past. The insides of the fort gleam in the sunlight, it’s yellow sandstone telling a story of the only living fort in the country. As a traveller, pack your Safari backpack with your camera, sunglasses and an extra bottle of water. Be prepared to walk through an entire civilization and relish the fortress, the city and the majestic Thar Desert. And make sure to fill your travel bag with goodies and keepsakes; Jaisalmer, the Golden City, is really the perfect getaway with family and friends alike. Pack your travel bag and make way into royalty.