COMPLETE ITINERARY IN AND AROUND JAISALMER
There is something very rustic about the yellow stones, cobbled streets and royal palaces – Jaisalmer caught me lingering into its antiquated charm, I was held offbeat and overwhelmed by the Desert frontier of India. The city is bustling with tourists from every corner of the world and being one of them – it definitely was one of the most liberating experiences. 🙂 🙂
From walking miles in and out of the city, befriending strangers and hopping on to travel like a native, Jaisalmer brings back some of the finest memories from my travel diary. The Jaisalmer trip was planned in a jiffy one fine day while reading a blog about Dunes, Rajasthan and impeccable colour hues of the State. For once, without a second thought, I set on to explore the deserts with slight feeling of whim.
Was it worth it? With no room for doubt – Yes, everything about the place, experience, people, culture, hospitality, food, colours, traditions and what not was worth the trip. As I sit here and write my Jaisalmer experience, my mind goes back to the roads that enveloped me with so much rejoice & my soul isn’t coming back. With everything carved out of yellow stones, people living in Royal Jaisalmer Fort, with Havelis & Palaces – The Golden City is no less royal even years after Kingdoms breathe last. If I may say, the city had a soul singing to the tunes of its glory and clearly is reflected through all the royal reminiscence.
HOW TO REACH JAISALMER
Jaisalmer is well connected by Railways and roads but the nearest airport is Jodhpur airport which is around 275kms from Jaisalmer. I planned my itinerary from Delhi (Well!! I was just back from a 6-day Himalayan Trek!!). The best and direct way to reach Jaisalmer from Delhi is through Railways. There are two direct trains from connecting Delhi to Jaisalmer. One of them is DLI – JSM express that leaves from Old Delhi Railway Station at around 5.30pm and reach Jaisalmer next day at 11.00am. The other train is Ranikhet Express and I am not very literate about the timings. I boarded the former one as the timings were very convenient. Generally, there is no direct bus from Delhi to Jaisalmer but you can break your journey in parts to reach Jaisalmer.
Tip – Make sure that you book your tickets well in advance if you are planning to travel by train. The AC tickets for DLI-JSM tend to get booked before 2 months because of its convenient timings.
ACCOMMODATION IN JAISALMER
Jaisalmer has all sorts of accommodation and it all depends on your budget and convenience you are seeking for. I had myself booked at Zostel – 6 female dorm(I had the entire room to myself, luckily no one turned up). 🙂 🙂 Zostel is on the other side of the Jaisalmer fort, near back side of Garisar Lake. Zostel staff arrange pick up for you from Railways station but make sure you check for the placard.
Apart from that, there are many affordable and budget accommodations available inside Jaisalmer Fort with price starting from as low as Rs 300/- per night. The rooms in the hotels or guest houses inside the fort are extremely affordable. Most of the rooms are adorned with rich Rajasthani design and interiors. However, it is better to have your place booked before you reach but even if you don’t, there is nothing to worry, Jaisalmer Fort has humungous options.
MUST VISIT SPOTS IN AND AROUND JAISALMER
Sun kissed sparking desert sand, palaces & forts, building carved out of yellow stones, array of colours, folk dance & song, puppet show, camel ride – I can go on with the list, when I talk about Jaisalmer. The memories of wandering around the streets of Jaisalmer are as fresh as it happened today, as I pen down the words, I can’t stop my mind from going back to the deserts.
Not sound cliché, Jaisalmer is one of the best places in India to experience solo travelling and ofcourse, safest. 🙂 🙂 As I started my journey, the delirious feeling already started to engulf me, I could no longer hold my poise, I felt liberated and free. Jaisalmer is a gorgeous city reflecting existence of glory, of kingdoms, of royalty but to taste all of them, probably you would need to take a mini sabbatical. Here is what I could manage in my 3 day stay in and around Jaisalmer.
Reached Jaisalmer around 12.30 pm, headed straight towards Zostel and without wasting a single minute, moved to explore the Golden city after freshening up. When in Jaisalmer, by all means, hospitality is impeccable and astonishingly overwhelming. The charm of the city lie in reminiscence of majestic forts, yellow stones marvelled synchronously the grandeur and pomp; there was no escape from the euphoric sound & smell of tradition and culture.
Jaisalmer Fort – I tip toed from Zostel, putting on my new boho skirt & basic black top, sand blowing right across my face as I opened the map for directions. After struggling for a while with the map, I resorted to asking direction for Jaisalmer Fort. It is the only fort in the country where people still reside. It was an arena of hustle bustle, joyously commercialised, with rooftop restaurants, hotels, trinket & other shops and lot of tour operators. Jaisalmer Fort, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was built by Rajput King Rawal Jaisal in 1156AD. The grandeur of the fort lies in its yellow coloured stone that beautifully turns into faded shade of golden as sun sets. Take your time while digging the treasures of the fort, explore on foot and imprint the fort to your memories. There are many shops inside the fort but things are slightly expensive, do some shopping outside the fort. Catch the glimpse of the city as you sit in one of the open rooftop restaurants while you let the breeze gently caress you, I recommend Paradise Rooftop Restaurant. 🙂 🙂
Patwon Ki Haveli – Having spent some time leisurely in Jaisalmer fort, I took off to Patwon Ki Haweli. It was small lanes, cobbled streets and fighting the traffic before reaching the magnificent monument. It is cluster of five Havelis with entry to only one of them. The Haveli is soaked in eclectic golden yellowish shade of stones. The carvings on the sandstones are intricately defined reflecting the marvellous craftsmanship of yesteryear architectures & craftsmen. The baroque Haveli leaves you gasping with its ornate paintings and designs on walls, ceilings, gateways and archways. Walking through the Haveli brings vivid alive. The entry fee for Patwon ki Haveli is Rs 100/- for Indian Nationals.
You may hire an auto or taxi for the complete to visit places in and around Jaisalmer. I met this very humble auto guy Vimal. You may as well contact him. Phone Number – 88248800991
Day – 2
Khuri Desert – The first day was sort of minimal and cut short to only two tourist spots. But, I had it all planned. I was digging for a chance to be awed by the expanse of sun kissed deserts and bathe in the sparkling golden sand. From the blogs I read sitting in my cubicle – I zeroed down my next visit to Khuri Desert. The smell of culture, tradition and love for offbeat places perhaps dragged me into this realm of journey. As I write this, I think of the wonderful time I spent in such remote village of Rajasthan. (The place deserves a complete blog. I am saving up the excitement for an elaborate and detailed memoir of my journey and stay at the place.) Second day was well spent at Khuri desert.
Day – 3
Sam Sand Dunes – Sparkling sand, enchanting sunrise and sunset, sprawling deserts miles away, gorgeous roads – This is the beginning of what it feels like, to be in the exotic Sam Sand Dunes. Yes, it is commercialised with people bombing from across the world but that’s the magic of the place. On the third day, since Khuri and Sam Sand dunes are in opposite direction, I boarded a bus from Khuri to Jaisalmer. The journey from Jaisalmer then followed towards Sam Sand Dunes. (Now, I am obsessed with the golden city and deserts, a blog with complete details will be up soon.)
Day – 4
Kuldhara – I kept my last day free so that I can spend time roaming around the city. Visiting Jaisalmer and not taking a glimpse of the abandoned and proclaimed haunted village of Kuldhara, a bad idea indeed it is. It lies in ruins succumbing to the collapse of nature, an abandoned village that once was the city of Jaisalmer. The yellow stones have crumbled down but there is always that the urge to uncover the bygone magnificent place it was. Although, there is lot of renovation and restoration happening in the place but the smell of old is like an adage that cling to your mind always. There is an entry fee of Rs 10/-, I recommend you walk though the ruins and explore the place.
Salim Singh Ki Haweli – The ruins of the original Haveli were renovated and the Haveli was newly constructed on commission by Salim Singh in the year 1815. The Haveli catch one’s attention with its distinct peacock form of architectural bliss. The 18th Century Haveli walks you into narrow alleys on the first floor, and opens into beautiful view of the Jaisalmer city, topped with yellow roofs and houses. The Haveli has arched balconies and is famous for roofs carved in form of peacock. The entry to the Haveli is Rs 40/- for Indian Nationals.
Gadisar Lake – It is the largest man-made water body in Jaisalmer amidst the forbidden desert city. Located in the outskirts of the city, the place is never short of tourists. It was initially built in 1400A.D by Maharwal Gadsi Singh as water conservation tank and supplied water to the entire city. With nip in the air, winters gives you glimpse of beautiful migratory birds while boating across the lake. The boating tickets are available at Rs 50/-. If you want to photograph the mighty Jaisalmer fort, you find the right spots here.
Puppet Show at Desert Cultural Museum – Rajasthan & puppet show have an unconventional bond, not visiting one definitely is a lost. The joyful representation of stories through puppet show brings the moment alive. The hues of colours, tradition and culture offer a beautiful spectrum of delight. There are two shows every day from 6.30 to 7.30 pm and 7.30 to 8.30 pm at Desert Cultural Museum if you want to enjoy puppet show. The tickets for the show are very affordable available at only Rs 100/-.
Must try in Jaisalmer
• Jaisalmer has liscensed Bhaag shop – you can try Lassi, Bhaag Cookies, Biscults. It is located right next to Jaisalmer Fort.
• Laal Maas, is soft and delicate mutton or lamb meat cooked in red spice. It is one of the delicacy of Jaisalmer, a must try.
• I loved Cheese Rice in Paradise Rooftop restaurant inside Jaisalmer Fort, I guess you must also try.
• Colours & Bling – Jaisalmer is the perfect shopping destination with array of colourful and traditional things. Trinket Jewellery, Bedsheets, Decors etc are something you should take away with you but try not to shop inside Jaisalmer Fort if you want to keep it within budget.
• Jaisalmer is an inexpensive place and by being little judicious you can keep your budget in check. Cover the city tourist attraction on foot, it is the best way, trust me.
• Although a tourist destination, it is important to pack right for people are slightly conservative. No one would misbehave but still it is better to wear appropriate clothing.
• You might confuse it for hospitality but some people are way too clingy. Ask them not to bother you because it can get on your nerves.
• Do a proper study and plan things accordingly. If you are planning Khuri and Sam Sand Dunes, make sure you book things in advance.
• If you are a budget seeker, take public transportation or bargain with auto drivers. I went to Kuldhara and few places in Jaisalmer hiring an auto; he was a very genuine and decent man. For auto hire – You may contact Vimal – Phone Number – 88248800991