The Golden City and Jaisalmer fort
Jaisalmer Travel Blog› entry 31 of 33 › view all entries
Jaisalmer is the last town before the Thar desert takes over and leads towards Pakistan. It immediately hits you as a smaller and quieter town than the other cities of northern India. Much less traffic and everwhere on the city map walking distance gives an easier relaxed vibe that is very welcoming.
Jaisalmer Fort is different to most of the famous Rajasthan forts in that it is still lived in and much of the city still exists within the fort walls. However I had read that although staying in one of the many hostels within the walls is a treat, it comes with a strong ecology warning that the massive increase in water usage within the city walls (primarily tourism) is leading to the rapid deterioration in the sandstone fort foundations.
With our priority for Jaisalmer being another of my 1000 Make the Most of Your Time on Earth trips - a camel safari in the Thar Desert, we headed up to the fort whch also contained the two tour agencies I'd been recommended on route. Quickly established that every operator offering pretty much identical tours and we very easily negotiated down the price to get the custom. We easily got the price we were after whilst ensuring we avoided the tourist route to get some pristine dunes.
With our tour booked, we headed up to the Jaisalmer Fort. Another impressively imposing fort, just not quite as impressive as Meherangarh. The inclusive audio tour put together by the same company that does the Meherangarh fort and clearly trying to replicate the success of its more illustrious neighbour by being introduced by the ruling Jaisalmer maharaja. Although impressive in its own right with more intricately carved courtyards and lovely views over the sandstone built Golden city, nowhere near the same quality of sights as provided by the Jodhpur fort that sadly makes this fort feel like an anticlimax. The tour presents the tourist with a collection of rooms including the usual armoury and art gallery but scrapes the barrel with a stamp collection and some historic umbrellas.
Popped in to Renuka hostal for evening meal to watch a nice sunset over the Golden City. I didn't expect to get the best Thali from my whole trip with 3 separate curries (all fantastic) with the usual rice, chappati accompaniments that unusually also included raita. The young chef brimming with enthusiasm for his cooking and it showed. The guy is wasted in a budget hostal. Early night ready for an early start for the much awaited camel safari.