Travelling is an activity that is necessary for everyone at any age, simply because it lends practical, yet unforgettable experiences that can broaden one’s horizons. Your youth is the right phase in life for this: when one is not only quite energetic but also has more than enough resources to enable travel. It also helps that you have fewer responsibilities to hold you back as well. It is in this life stage where one can travel to enhance personal growth and development. So, to boost my personal growth, I planned to explore Jaisalmer this time and made a list of Jaisalmer Places To Visit
The reason I choose the Golden City this time is, that it is one of those older Rajasthan cities that has been attracting globetrotters for a long time now. The destination still looks like a city stuck in time but in one good way! That also got me thinking – ‘What are Jaisalmer Places To Visit?’ Renowned for its old-world charm, welcoming people, and of course, the Golden Fort which is the very few ‘living forts’ in the world.
Rajasthan has always fascinated me. But it is not so much about the destination as it is about the journey, or so they say. So when my friend booked a trip to Jaisalmer, I was more than excited to join her. So here’s our Delhi to Jaisalmer trip, but the real challenge was how we captured the best of Jaisalmer in 4 days!
Here are Some Famous Jaisalmer Places To Visit:
The First Day
1. Jaisalmer Fort
One of the key attractions in this part of the world is the Jaisalmer Fort. There are no entry charges here and unlike any other tourist attraction, this isn’t a defunct fort that’s been turned into a museum. It’s called a ‘living’ fort: as in, it’s a small neighbourhood that still lives inside the walls of this historic monument! So, when my friend and I entered in through these gates, we found ourselves stepping back into time. Or somewhere in between, more like it – you see, the place is filled with yellow sandstone buildings with arched windows that reflect the architectural style of the times.
Yet at the same time, we found scooters, cars, motorbikes and other modern amenities that the people here need to live. We both agreed that’s the real beauty of this living Jaisalmer Fort – a sight that you won’t find anywhere else.
When exploring this area on our own, we came across many curio and souvenir shops selling things that tourists are likely to buy – gems, rugs, and woven textiles. Since one of our main obsessions happen to be handmade textiles, , and other crafts – we knew that we had come to the right place. As we strolled around, we came across smaller restaurants, cafes, and eateries that give us some pretty good views of the fort or the sunset we snacked.
We felt that we were missing the bigger part of this beautiful masterpiece – like a full tour of the city that showed us all the best havelis beginning with the Patwon ki Haweli.
2. Patwon ki Haweli
It’s the largest haveli in Jaisalmer, seeing how it comprises of 5 separate havelis. The first one was built in 1805 by a popular brocade and jewellery trader called Guman Chand Patwa and is the reason why Patwon Ki Haveli is referred to as ‘Mansion of Brocade Merchants’. You can tell apart the individual havelis by the gateways and arches that have distinct paintings and mirror works. This style of the times can be seen on the 60 balconies, jharokhas, paintings and another decor that took 50 years to complete. Part of the Patwon Ki Haveli has been turned into a museum that shows cases paintings, art, artifacts belonging to the havelis residents.
3. Nathmal ki Haveli
Apparently, camel safaris are common in this place called Sam Sand Dunes located on the Jaisalmer’s outskirts in Desert National Park. If you are finding Jaisalmer Places To Visit, Nathmal Ki Haveli is the one. You can take these safaris or treks, as they’re known, and you can go for the three days, half-day and overnight trek. We thought of the overnight trek but realised that it wasn’t for us but how often do you get to ride a camel? We saved this event for a later date and settled with visiting a few restaurants instead to get a taste of the Rajasthani cuisine, especially those rooftop eateries. Our favourite was Cafe The Surya Guest House that came with a great view.
Very Blissful Start To The Second Day
1. Chill Out at Gadisar Lake
We woke up fresh and early the next day because it’s the best time to enjoy Gadisar Lake and a break from the sun!! This is the place where you can zone out, relax, get some amazing shots of the sunset, play around with cute stray dogs and watch some really giant sized catfish feast on chapatis. It’s also a place of prayer and meditation too because there are 2 temples built into the middle of the lake that looks as if they’re floating on the water.
2. Explored Bada Bagh
Then, we went to Bada Bagh: you know you’ve reached when seeing these massive wind turbines. This is a cemetery filled with cenotaphs: a small temple that’s a tribute to these deceased here. ‘Not the best way to enjoy a Jaisalmer morning’ we thought but we were impressed by the lake here, created by a dam built a while back. As a result, this place is green throughout the year – in the middle of a desert and therefore the name Bada Bagh or ‘Big Garden’! Call it the morose atmosphere or the odd stillness of the place so early in the morning, but Bada Bagh didn’t have the kind of adventure we were looking for.
3. Salim Singh Ki Haveli
‘A bit more haveli hopping should get us back in the adventurous spirit’ we agreed. Salim Singh Ki Haveli was another popular destination and was still on our to-do list. It’s pretty eye-catching in many ways – first, it’s built entirely out of stone and sits on top of a raised housing structure. The roof is carved in a way so it looks like peacocks sitting on the roof.
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Third Day is For Desert Safari
1. Sand surfing in the Thar Desert….well, camel trekking actually!
Rajasthan is meant for two kinds of tourists – the ones that love architecture, history and want to capture some artistic shots. It’s also meant for those who want to visit the desert, ride camels – something you can only do in these areas. My friend and I found ourselves somewhere in between: wanting the best of both worlds.
2. Longewala Border
Our trip would’ve been incomplete without a trip to the legendary Longewala border. We took a car, drove across 115 Kms. Once there, we spent around 2 hours in a fenced area, talking to the guards and taking some pretty good photos of the sand, sun but couldn’t see the India border from here.
3. Tanot Mata Mandir
Next, we made out way to the Tanot Mandir, about 40 Kms away. As per the facts, during the Longewala War between India and Pakistan, there were several attempts done by the Pakistani Army to abolish the Temple by dropping bombs but they were not successful in doing so. If you get permission from the senior officer, you can go to Border Pillar 609 and another 25 Kms ahead is the actual border.
4. Sam Sand Dunes: Take a Camel Safari To The Dunes
Camel trekking is offered by our hotel– so both of us took a minute to check out rates on our smartphones, much like we would for booking hotels. We did find cheap options but decided to go higher up so we could really enjoy the camel trip and booked one for Rs. 1500 through the Royal Hotel. This would take us through the Khurri dunes and you have to go with a guide. ‘What about 2 trips, one in the day and the other at night?’ my friend suggested. The half-day trek was a little rough, in the hot climate but still worth it. It’s a lot like the Brendan Fraser movie – the mummy just minus the mummies!
The overnight trek was magical as the desert looks different at night, and the stars in the dark skies look like little chandeliers.. or fireflies. Obviously, this had to be the highlight of our Jaisalmer Places To Visit trip as we’ve never done this before – even though you do have camel rides in Delhi.
5. Camel Ride in Jaisalmer
Camel treks are fun but take some getting used to. Based on our experience, it’s more for those that love adventure and travel a lot. Book your trek based on how much time you want to spend in the desert. The price will give you an idea about the quality of sleeping arrangements, camping equipment and experience of the guides. Also, look for packages that give you a round trip facility to take you to and from the desert. We chose the double or twin sharing Swiss tent for our tour that began at 2 or 3 pm with a pickup. Then you travel either yourself or by provided transport to the Sam Sand Dunes/Khuri Sand Dunes to access your camel.
6. Folk Music and Dance: Experiencing The Real Face Of Jaisalmer
The camel train rides past some villages and witnesses the lives of the people here, even stop to buy curios if available and then you reach the sand dunes by sunset. Once you’ve soaked in the desert during the day, you are given a wonderful Rajasthani dinner prepared at this campsite accompanied by folk music and dance. Once dinner is over, you can stay up late and watch the skies or go to sleep in the tent. The next morning, you have your breakfast, get on your camel and head back to the Jaisalmer city limits.
Day 4 is Only For Kuldhara And Shopping
1. Kuldhara: The Haunted Village
It’s one of the Jaisalmer Places To Visit with its fair share of ghost stories too! Since it’s a desert region, it’s got a lot of ghost villages like Bhan Garh and Kuldhara. ‘OK, so let’s just spend some time at this Kuldhara place and then head on to the desert surfing!’ my friend said. ‘Sure, let’s hope we don’t bump into any ghosts!’ I laughed.
The story goes that some 300 years ago, Kuldhara was home to Paliwal Brahmins living within Jaisalmer’s boundaries. Salim Singh, then prime minister at the time fell in love with the daughter of the Kuldara chieftain and wished to marry her, even by force. This resulted in Singh threatening the village with grave consequences if they didn’t give him what they wanted.
The chieftain was irritated with the absurd wishes of this tyrant held a council with all Paliwal family head. But the people in the other 85 villages had other plans and left their ancestral homes never to be seen again. Just before this big exit, they cursed the Kuldhara grounds promising that no one would ever be able to live on them once they left. To this date, the place is empty and barren and is exactly the way its inhabitants had left it centuries ago. People who tested this theory by staying in Kuldhara at night have been chased away by ghostly encounters!
But a more sensible reason is that Sight increased taxes to a point where it became enviable for the Paliwals to stay here and sustain their living. They left Kuldara for greener and safer places. The place is protected by the Archaeological Society of India and there’s not much left of it.
All you will see here are some pathways, rows of mud houses with their roofs and walls missing. A little further down, in the centre, you’ll find one or two buildings in good shape and the temple. It’s empty and a bit heartbreaking thinking of people that had to leave their homes years ago.
2. Enjoyed Local and Street Shopping
Our last day was filled with shopping and unlike metropolitan boutiques. We found rustic shops filled with camel leather goods, hand woven mirror work embroidery, intricate silver and gold jewellery, Hadur stone goods, textiles, and cashmere goods. Well, we found a few of them.
- Bhatia Bazaar: the oldest and main markets located in the heart of the city. Known for decorations, wood works, dress materials, and mirror embroidery.
- Sadar Bazaar: the right place for handcrafted goods and garments like shawls, dupattas, carpets, paintings, leather items, and jewellery.
- Sonaron Ka Bas: this is perfect for jewellery lovers and attracts crowds during festive seasons, where one can buy precious, semi-precious stones and jewellery pieces.
- Manak Chowk: is good for textiles, handicrafts and ethnic jewellery made by local artisans.
That’s all how we soaked up Rajasthan’s spirit, losing ourselves in everything that the Gold City has to offer. Visit Jaisalmer Places To Visit once in your lifetime. And if you like this post or have any feedback? Please mention it in the comments section below!