"A Giant Glittering Desert Sandcastle" Jaisalmer by lynnehamman

Jaisalmer Travel Guide: 469 reviews and 1,715 photos

We arrive from Jodhpur

After a 4 hour car journey from Jodhpur, we arrived at Jaisalmer. It was midday, and the magnificent 12th Fort was glittering in the noonday sun. In our usual mad fashion, we had not booked anywhere to stay, so we found a restuarant, had lunch, and after leaving our luggage with the obliging owner, went off to find a place to stay.
We found one with 5 minutes....and it was great. We set off almost immediately after unpacking, to do some exploring.
The main entrance to the town is through Gandhi Chowk, a busy chaotic little square. Cows lie in the street.......goats wander around. Street vendors are everywhere, selling colorful clothing, bags shoes & glittering wall hangings. Its very dusty....but then, its in the desert. A short walk up from Gandhi Chowk is the entrance to the fort.

The Living Fort

This 12th Century fort has a magnificent entry gate, and cobbled lanes lead up to narrow, mysterious looking pathways. Of course, being in India, there are stalls and little shops all along the way, selling beautiful things for very little cost. I found the leatherware hard to resist. I bought my best bag ever there.
Keep walking, and you will come across wonderful old sandstone havelis...they looked cool, and inviting. Some are open to the publuc, such as the Patwa-Ki-Haveli ( built in the mid 19th century by a prosperous Jain family) and it is awesome. Many people still live inside the fort,and it is running out of space.
The Jain temple is worth a visit, and part of the old palace is also open to view.
There are many restuarants within the fort, most are situated near the ramparts, and have a fine view of the city. The whole area fairly small, so much can be seen,even in a few hours.

Desert Trip

Its easy to understand why Jaisalmer was an important trade route centre long ago. It is close to the Pakistan border., and the rest of Asia. There is also a Military Base close by, and jet aircraft were screaming past every day. This seemed really weird........here we are in the middle of a medieaval fort, in the middle of the desert, and jets overhead!! Anyway, thats progress I guess. We booked a day trip to the desert the next day. That was one of our best expreiences in India. Left at noon by jeep, and arrived at camel camp at about 3pm. We had refreshments, then set off into the Thar desert.
The camel was smelly,noisy, but not unfriendly. We rode for a few hours, watched a beautiful sunset over the dunes, then rode back to the camp where we had a wonderful evening, with a campfire meal and folk/fire dancing. It was very special. Our jeep driver got us backto our hotel by 11pm the same night., with very sore bums.
While we were in Jaisalmer, we saw a Government sponsered Bhang Shop, selling Bhang Lassi, and crowded with young tourists. We resisted.
We dined every night at a great restuarant that had good ambiance, food, music & was 2 min walk from our hotel.
I was sad when we had to leave. But also lookingforward to our next "port of call"

Before you choose where to stay in Jaisalmer-read my tip about the Fort being in peril ( in "things to do" tip)

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Fort, surrounding desert,and its walk-friendly
  • Cons:for me-none
  • In a nutshell:Can't wait to get back there
  • Last visit to Jaisalmer: Jan 2006
  • Intro Updated Dec 12, 2008
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Reviews (12)

Comments (34)

  • SeetaKaur's Profile Photo
    Mar 2, 2016 at 12:15 AM

    Hi, would you share which agent you book for the camel trip? Do you think its better to book it online or onsite? I am just overwhelmed with too many info online and it really takes my time keep comparing here and there, while the date of travelling is getting closer

  • briantravelman's Profile Photo
    Oct 27, 2014 at 7:03 PM

    4 hours to travel 150 miles? That is not good. I can only imagine how long it would take by train.
    What's the difference between a living fort and a regular fort? Is a living fort mean like people live in it? I heard there is a hotel inside this fort.
    This is my favorite city in Rajistan for sure. When are you going back? Take me with you.

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Jan 15, 2011 at 9:11 AM

    Such a fascinating fort -- too bad it is falling into disrepair. Good that there are bicycles for hire for just a few rupees. I have heard awful things about the traffic in India, but I survived cycling in Hanoi, so I think I could handle Jaisalmer, too.

  • illumina's Profile Photo
    Apr 18, 2010 at 11:30 PM

    Thanks for your comments on my Agra page! You've got some great tips and photos here - in fact, your main photo was taken at the hotel we stayed at!

  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo
    Mar 28, 2010 at 11:10 AM

    It sounds like you had a real adventure with the camel ride and dinner. This fort is wonderful and looks like it could take a full take just to enjoy its sites.

  • JLBG's Profile Photo
    Jan 19, 2010 at 9:56 PM

    That is an amazing place. I never saw a fort with so many towers around! Your whole journey looks very exciting! And with some Bhang Lassi, haha. I love regular salted Lassi, that would be nice to try this one! Too bad the walls are collapsing.

  • risse73's Profile Photo
    Dec 28, 2009 at 3:28 PM

    A great page on Jaisalmer! Had seen pictures of it before, but this page only made me more impressed about this destination. A worthy place for a visit. Thanks for the great tips & for your visit to my Ponce page! Happy New Year! -Marissa-

  • mircaskirca's Profile Photo
    Dec 4, 2009 at 11:39 PM

    Oh, love local festivals!! It's a good way to learn about traditions and culture. Moustache competition, haha, this must be really amusing! OMG, this looks like a great place to stay, the palace looks amazing! Like the sunset picture :)

  • deecat's Profile Photo
    Nov 27, 2009 at 3:22 PM

    Another outstanding page. I certainly learned something new [Bhang Lessi]! Excellent General Tip. Such a lovely hotel. Still smiling about your camel ride and the need for a sport's bra.

  • ViajesdelMundo's Profile Photo
    Nov 14, 2009 at 6:57 PM

    Sounds like a good restaurant find! and another great place to poke around in, despite the clashing of technology!

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