Jaisalmer Fort Walls
Today was a tour of Jaisalmer Fort built in 1156 by the Rajput ruler Jaisala and reinforced by subsequent rulers. It was walking distance from our hotel so we all wandered over to a meeting point just outside the Fort walls, where we were going to meet our tour guide. There was plenty going on outside the walls even before we got in! We stood outside a market while our guide explained to us that only women sell at this market as the stalls are not mobile! The usual cows were wandering the street and food stalls were busy with locals getting a bite to eat. We were told it was a living fort, about 25% of the population resides within and we would see houses, temples, shops, Guesthouses etc. The fort is sadly suffering due to the increased water consumption and our guide discouraged us from buying anything from the local shops inside so as to not encourage growth of tourism which would hopefully persuade the people to move out from within the Fort and help save it.
Market stalls in Jaisalmer
The entrance to the Fort was through a large gate into a large courtyard which is lined with craft stalls, then up through another gate into a narrow cobbled road.
The winding road was lined with little shops and stalls but the annoying thing was the traffic that was allowed to go up through these narrow winding roads, you couldn’t have a relaxing stroll without some Tuk Tuk or moped trying to squeeze past.
The cobbled road took us up to the main Chowk which was a large square and it was packed with people.
The Chowk is dominated by the Palace of the Maharawal, we would have gone in and had a look around but t was just too busy. The Diwalli holiday’s literally doubled the population of Jaisalmer!
So instead we headed up to the lookout where we had a good view of the city outside the Fort, and then we headed down more narrow cobbled roads to the Jain Temples.
We bought tickets to explore three Jain temples, it was my first sighting of these carved sandstone marvels, they were just lovely.
If you wanted to take a camera in you had to pay an extra 100 rupees (couple of Ozzie bucks!) so I did as I knew it would be a photographer’s paradise inside.
Every bit of the temple was carved both inside and out with elephants and gods, pillars, ceilings, everything, I really loved it.
After some time looking through the temples, we continued walking through the little cobbled streets passing cows, guest houses, little craft shops and tiny little houses where people lived, it really was like something out of ‘1001 Nights’ , so gorgeous.
Outside the Fort walls, we strolled into the old town to look at some of the beautiful Haveli architecture, sandstone buildings with intricately carved windows and balconies.
Hot bread and tea !
Here we were introduced to a local who has the longest moustache in Rajasthan, it was 4 feet long! After a snap shot of him, we continued to walk and the tour guide continued to explain the history of the Havelis.
One Haveli we stopped at was a house that had been in the family for centuries and is now a museum as well as a shop.
We were invited in to have a look at no charge, the young man who showed us around his family inherited the house and explained its history.
Then he showed us the antiques he had for sale which were just gorgeous and as much as I wanted to buy a 50 year old camel bone Krishna statue I couldn’t justify 600 Aussie dollars so one of my group friends bought it instead!
I walked out happy knowing I didn’t spend any money,
I could go back to India though just for a shopping trip!
Our next stop the guide and our tour leader took us to a textile department store which I wasn’t really interested in but as usual our leader insists we go in have a look and we would get a nice cool drink.
Happy curry can be ordered from here !!!
I protested but I did need the bathroom a sit down and a cool drink as we had been walking all morning and I was rather tired.
We were in there for a good hour as some of the group was sucked in, Me ? I
was dying to escape, I was hungry and wasn’t interested in buying bed spreads it was at this stage I started to feel the restriction of being part of a group.
Finally we got out and headed to a nice restaurant for lunch then back to the hotel for a rest. In the evening
I was meant to meet up with the others and go out for a meal but walking around in the heat for most of the day and eating lunch too late gave me a Migraine so I ended up staying in.