The Golden City
Jaisalmer Travel Blog› entry 24 of 30 › view all entries
Jaisalmer is much like Jodhpur, crowned with a fort on top of a hill. Well, it was somewhat in reverse for me ... in Jodhpur I stayed on the flat an looked up at the fort but in Jaisalmer, I stayed in the fort and looked down into the small town and the desert. It is known as the Golden City as the city is largely built from golden sandstone.
The highlight of Jaisalmer was staying in a 500 year old haveli (mansion) that has been in the family for some 17 generations. It certainly had that "uh oh" factor when I walked in the front door ... was rather old and dingy ... but I had a large bedroom, small sitting / dining room and a bathroom.
Ancient Home Security Features
Many haveli interior doors are quite small and one has to stoop to get through, rationale being as follows - the person entering gets to bow and show respect to the household. Further, intruders are forced to stoop and can get clubbed while trying to break in!
In the palace, I also noticed that the Maharaja's bed was quite small. He would sleep with his feet hanging of the end so that if intruders tied him to the bed, he could attempt to stand up (with the bed tied behind him) and defend himself!
Jaisalmer is also where people normally go camel-trekking into the desert. I gave this a miss because I have:
- been to and slept in far better deserts (real dunes with no scrubs).
- been on camels (briefly).
- eaten delicious meals cooked in very basic Indian kitchens.
- seen my cat pooh in the sand.
I figured I could combine all that in my head to form the typical Jaisalmer desert outing. Strangely, after I had decided on this, I met a Belgian couple that told me not to go ... half hour on a camel in the heat is enough (even though they enjoyed the night in the desert).
So I spent most of my time relaxing and roaming in Jaisalmer. Why roast when you can chill?