Christmas in the desert

Jaisalmer Travel Blog

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View from the walls

This was our first ever Christmas away from home, and away from our families, so we didn't know how it would feel.

We got the bus from Jodhpur to Jaisalmer a few days before Christmas. On the bus next to us were a Belgian couple, Anja and Sven, to whom we talked for a good part of the journey, and with whom we spent a lot of our time in Jaisalmer. They nearly got left behind at a stop on the journey when they headed to the toilet on what they thought was going to be more than a one-minute stop. We managed to get the driver to wait for them.

I felt much easier arriving in a town with four of us rather than two: the hassle we got at the bus station was much easier to cope with.

Christmas day
People travelling on their own would tell us that we were lucky to be in a couple. I can imagine that it must be harder on your own, getting rid of all of the people who flock around you, and spotting the scams when you don't have anyone to talk things over with. We ignored all of the taxis at the bus station and walked the short distance into town, and into the fort.

Jaisalmer is unique in that the fort it not just a palace and a museum as in the other cities in Rajasthan. In Jaisalmer the fort is very much part of the town, and contains guesthouses, restaurants and shops. It's described in the guidebooks as the only living fort in the world. This, coupled with the fantastic desert location, makes Jaisalmer a truly enchanting place.

We found a cheap guesthouse inside the fort.

Sunset viewed from the rooftop terrace
Our room was 175 rupees a night; we could have got a cheaper one, but it had a flickering light, which would have driven us mad. The guesthouse had a rooftop terrace, where you could get breakfast and dinner, affording a fantastic view over the town below and the desert beyond, from high up on the walls of the fort. At sunset it felt like the best place in the world.

We had a couple of relaxing days in the run up to Christmas. We'd bought each other a couple of Christmas presents, which we opened on Christmas day, and we dug out the couple of Christmas songs which we had on our iPods, and played them over breakfast. We'd booked to go to one of the expensive hotels on the outskirts of town in the evening. They were putting on an evening of music with a buffet. They had a small artificial tree with some fake snow on it in the lobby, which looked strange in the middle of the desert in India. The buffet was Indian food, but good quality. The music was local "gypsy" music, and was accompanied by dancing which included women balancing large stacks of cooking jars on their heads, and standing on nails and broken glass. We sat around little bonfires burning in big metal drums to keep warm and watched the show. It was a most entertaining evening.

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View from the walls
View from the walls
Christmas day
Christmas day
Sunset viewed from the rooftop ter…
Sunset viewed from the rooftop te…
On the rooftop terrace, with Anja …
On the rooftop terrace, with Anja…
Street scene - no traffic inside t…
Street scene - no traffic inside …
Street scene
Street scene
Hotel where we spent Christmas day
Hotel where we spent Christmas day
Enjoying a beer on Christmas day
Enjoying a beer on Christmas day
Round the bonfire on Christmas day
Round the bonfire on Christmas day
Music on Christmas day
Music on Christmas day
Sun seting over the desert
Sun seting over the desert
View from the palace window
View from the palace window
Inside the palace
Inside the palace
The palace
The palace
By the tank
By the tank
The tank
The tank
Jaisalmer Hotels & Accommodations review
This small hotel inside the fort has a good range of cheap rooms; when we stayed there the rooms ranged in price from 150 to about 450 rupees. The mor… read entire review
Jaisalmer
photo by: lrecht