10 Reasons to visit Jaisalmer
Some of the most prominent movie makers like Wes Anderson, John Madden and Christopher Nolen absolutely love Rajasthan. With its barren fields, magnificent architecture and colorful people, Rajasthan’s exotic landscapes make the perfect backdrop for some famous movie scenes.
If you live in India and have not visited the jewel of the state – the Golden City of Jaisalmer; then we hope this post inspires you to visit soon. Here are 10 reasons why you should definitely visit Jaisalmer.
1) Feel like you’re a part of the Arabian nights
The enchanting architecture of Jaisalmer will transport you back in time and the mystery in the air will give you a sense of being a part of “Arabian Nights” with tales of desert, camels, harems and everything exotic. The Jaisalmer fort is as big as the city that is next to it – which appears to be a part of this castle itself, because of matching sandstone architecture. Ever played the old school video game – Aladdin? Become a part of it by visiting this place.
2) Get mesmerized by the Spectacle of colors from Sunrise to Sunset
Every house, hotel and shop in the city feels like an extension of the fort – all yellow. Maybe this is where Coldplay’s Chris Martin was touring when he wrote the song “Yellow” (Haha). When get to experience how the honey colored city turns Golden in the sun, you will truly understand why it’s has been labeled as “The Golden City”. There are many amazing viewpoints inside and outside the forts to watch the sunset – at least five are within the fort for a great view out across the city and desert.
3) Stay in a fort or a Haveli and feel like a Royalty
The massive Jaisalmer fort is a functional fort – there are rooms in it where you can actually stay. Even outside the forts there are multiple Havelis (Royal Houses) with massive rooms where you can stay. Drifter Planet recommends a place called Killa Bhawan inside the fort or their lodge called KB Lodge outside the fort with a rooftop restaurant.
4) Enjoy a Camel back ride on magical Sand Dunes
Most of us have been on sandy beaches but only a few have been on the sand dunes. Trust me; Sand dunes are so much fun on a different level. Visit Khuri or Sam Sand dunes and enjoy a camel back ride through the dunes. Do yourself a favor reach the dunes before the sunset and watch how everything dramatically changes. Stroll around the dunes at night to make the most of it. For the daring ones – stay here overnight. Tip: I’m not a fan of tour operators but for this, you will need one. Ask your hotel to arrange this visit and look for an all-inclusive visit that covers food, camel ride, and back and forth transport from the dunes to the hotel.
5) Experience a Beautiful Starry Night – the Clearest EVER
The night sky here will leave you spellbound. Even if you’re not a “star gazing” kind of a person, you will become one when you’re on the dunes. Thar Desert, especially the patch near Jaiselmar is very dry with hardly any precipitation. Clouds are a rare sight here. The dunes are far away from city lights. These factors result in an extremely clear night sky that looks surreal. You have to be there to believe it.
Image courtesy – Zaroof Power.
6) The shopping
I’m not into shopping but this city charmed me with its colorful shops parading the quintessential boho chic clothing in the form of its long flowy cotton skirts, mirror work boleros and camel leather messenger bags and shoes. Remember the rule of the thumb while shopping in Asia – HAGGLE for the best bargain! The farther the shop is from the fort, the chances of getting a good bargain are higher.
7) The Food
Jaisalmer has a variety of cafés and restaurants that specialize in European food. Strangely, it was hard to find good local food until we visited Saffron restaurant in the legendary Nachana Haveli. Do not miss their ker sangri (flavorful beans), junglee maas (wild meat) and laal maas (red meat) here. Bonus point: this Haveli is stunningly beautiful. There is a royal family that lives here – the present Nachana Family. They are the descendants of Maharawal Jaisal (founder of Jaisalmer) and apparently their lineage dates back to Lord Krishna .The folklore suggests that there was a curse on the royal family living inside the fort, and hence, the Nachana Haveli was built.
8) Special Lassi and cookies
Ever heard of a drink called Bhang? If you don’t live or have not been to India, then most likely you would have not heard of it. For those who don’t know, bhang is a drink made out of marijuana leaves and is deadly as hell. It’s legally sold here in many government authorized bhang shops that sell special bhang lassi as well as bhang cookies. Try it at your own risk – it may not hit you at all or may take you to the moon, depending on a lot of other factors.
9) Sunset Boat ride on Gadisagar Lake
Gadisagar Lake is a man-made lake which was made around 1400 A.D. to conserve rainwater. A ride on the paddle boat on the lake costs around 50 rupees for a person for an hour. Go there before the sunset and spend some time on the tranquil waters. Watch the sunset and enjoy the sight of temples and shrines surrounding the lake. If you’re lucky, you will get to see some exotic migratory birds.
10) Get lost in the beauty and the culture of city
There are many attractions in the city, such as Badal Mahal, Jain Temples, Amar Sagar Lake, Havelies, museums, puppet shows, etc. However, leaving all these places aside, I had the most fun discovering this city by getting lost on its narrow streets and savoring the cultural sights. At one time, I also saw a local sitting under a tree and making beautiful melodies out of his small stringed instrument – Sarangi .
From its squeaky clean roads and train station to the hospitality of smiling locals, a trip to Jaisalmer will definitely leave you with some good memories that will last you a lifetime. Do not miss this place at any cost. The best time to visit is from October to February.