We believe that the best way to kick start a new year is to travel and this year was no different. To flag off 2020, we decided to explore the royal city of Jaisalmer and what a choice!100 kilometers away from the Pakistan border, soaked in royalty , culture and heritage,Jaisalmer is a great getaway for a couple of days.
The facade of the heritage hotel we checked into gave us enough hint regarding what we were about to experience in the coming days while exploring Jaisalmer!
Our first stop was the Gadisar lake. Pedal boats are available and is a good option to explore the lake at your pace. It also acts as good cardio for the legs after eating the lip smacking Rajasthani delicacies!
The lake is a man made water body, built by the first king of Jaisalmer. Later on it was used as a tank for the conservation of water for the people.
On the bank of Gadisar lake one can see a gateway made of yellow sandstones known by the name of Tillon Ki Pol named after the famous arabic dancer Tillon.
After a refreshing boat ride in the lake , it was time to head towards the pride of Jaisalmer – the Jaisalmer Fort!
The fort is made of yellow sandstone with intricate carving. It stands tall and majestic and gives out a radiant golden glow. One of the largest forts and the only living fort in the world is certainly something India should be proud off.
The fort is still home to about 3000 people who live inside the fort. The fort complex comprises of the Raja Mahal, the Rani Mahal and the famous Jain temples. The architecture is stunning and will certainly take one’s breath away.
However a little senstivity and civic sense towards the monuments from the tourists and the locals will certainly help create an even more powerful impact of these imposing structures! The symmetry and the precision of the carvings is amazing. The detailing is so intricate that such work can never be replicated!
A mild uphill trek to the highest point of the fort is enjoyable. A stop at one of the coffee shops is a must. Kukus coffee shop is one such halt that promises a good view of the sunset, delicious snacks and hot beverages !
Post soaking in the sunset, we explored the quaint town of Jaisalmer on foot as we walked throught the by lanes.
The next morning after a somewhat satiating breakfast we decided to go Haveli hopping followed by some shopping!The first stop was the glorious Patwon ki Haveli.
This haveli consists of 5 different palaces, and is also known as the house of the brocade merchants, because it was built by a wealthy brocade merchant and jeweler. The Patwas used to finance the kings interest free loans at the time.The 5 mansions are meant for 5 Patwa brothers and took about 60 years to build. At present, there is one haveli where guests are put up, while two others are under the authority of Archeological Survey of India. Inside the mansion, there is a museum and shop for antique furniture as well. The walls are adorned with mirror work, delicate gold foiled ceilings and Zardausi wall hangings.
The speciality of these havelis is the presence of so many different Jharokhas or windows, each one different from the other!
A trip to Jaisalmer is incomplete without a visit to the Sand dunes. It is important to go through a genuine agent and K.K. resorts is one of them. A 40 minute, open jeep safari through the desert terrain , up and down the dunes is mandatory!
But where the jeep cannot take you is where the camels can! We followed up the jeep safari with a camel ride. The names of the camels excited our littlest musafir to the hilt, they were Michael Jackson and Hrithik Roshan! We camped ourselves at a beautiful site in the desert to enjoy the sunset.
Sunset followed by some random star gazing and cultural show by the Rajasthani artists marked the end of the day.
With some help from my blogger friends , lonely planet and google we decided to visit the Vyas Chattri – a relatively less crowded, less popular and underrated piece of architecture. It is a memorial ground dedicated to the Brahmins. A peaceful place where one can admire the delicate carvings on the soft yellow sandstone!
No trip is over without shopping and Jaisalmer boasts of a lot of unique things to offer. Handmade bed covers, block print bedspreads, warm pashmina comforters, camel hair stoles, Bandhani textiles and the list goes on and on!
A modest store in Bhatia Street – Dhanraj Ranmal Bhatia boasts of the best and most unique Besan ki Laddoo that literally melts in your mouth. A single bite will make sure that your diet plans go flying out of the window. Several bites later, we called it a night and headed homewards , head full of memories , bags full of shopping and tummy filled with delicacies!