Jaisalmer…the Golden City! Like other cities in the Royal state of Rajasthan where the city is named according to the color code followed for painting the houses/buildings, this city has got its name from yellow sandstone buildings.
Coming back to the trip… So it was an all girls trip where four of us started from Rewari (Haryana) on our journey to the beautiful city of Jaisalmer. It took us almost 15 hours to reach Jaisalmer by train. Before Jaisalmer station, the train halts at Pokaran, the place where nuclear tests were conducted. It’s a myth that Pokaran is famous only for the nuclear tests, in fact, it’s also famous for the Kachori, moong pakora & mirchi pakora being sold at the railway station ;).
As we had already booked our package for desert safari with a tours/travels, their representative came to the railway station to pick us up. The package which is usually offered by various tours/travels goes like this,
Day 1: After arrival at Jaisalmer city, the travel agent will take you to a hotel, provide a temporary room in a hotel for putting the luggage and to freshen up. After having lunch and relaxing for some time, around 4 pm a cab will pick you up and take you to the Sam/Khurri Sand Dunes.
Since, we went to Sam Sand Dunes, I shall share the details about it. So after reaching the desert you are dropped at a point where you can start your camel safari. This is the usual package. But if one wants to go for an open Jeep safari (as we did), you need to inform your travel agent beforehand so that he will take necessary permissions from the local administration. For taking this permit and the Jeep hire, we were charged Rs 1450/-.
Our desert safari started with the open Jeep safari and let me tell you that this safari is highly recommended. The desert safari is incomplete without this. It’s like a roller coaster ride between the vast sea of sand where all you can see till the horizon is the sand dunes and the ripples formed on it.
The Jeep dropped us at a point where we had to change our mode of safari from Jeep to Camel. And then started our ride with our cute looking camel named ‘Babloo’.
After the camel ride, started the session of jumping and rolling on sand dunes. And not to forget, the girly photo session with Bandhani Dupatta as a prop 😉
After we were done with our photo session, our Jeep came to pick us up and here, again started our round 2 of the Jeep Safari! The Jeep took us to our Desert Camp where a Rajasthani lady dressed in the traditional attire welcomed us with tika and aarti. After which, we checked into our cottage. Since all four of us wanted to stay together, we chose a cottage. There are Swiss tents as well at the camp which offer all the amenities like attached bathroom, hot water, etc. After checking in, we were invited to join the welcome ceremony at the camp. In this ceremony, there was a live performance by the folk singers and a folk dancer was dancing on the podium around which we all sat in a circle. Here snacks and cold drinks were served while enjoying the performance. After the performance got over, traditional Rajasthani buffet was served. And thus ended the Day 1.
Day 2: After having breakfast at the camp, we started our journey back to Jaisalmer city. Here, we took a detour and went to the old abandoned fort of Khabha. Behind this fort, one can spot peacocks. You can actually spot them gliding in the air.
After, yet another photo session at the fort, we started our journey back to Jaisalmer city. The plan for Day 2 was to visit Jaisalmer Fort which is converted into a market where you get very nice stuff like clothes, accessories, bags, purses and what not at very reasonable rates. After we were done with shopping we went to see the architectural gem, Patwon ki Haveli. We took an autorickshaw from Jaisalmer Fort to reach here. This is not a single haveli but a cluster of 5 havelis which were built in a span of 50 years in the early 19th century. Government of India has now occupied these havelis. One can easily spot guides near the haveli. We hired one for a nominal cost of Rs 100/-. The havelis are famous for their architecture and a must visit place at Jaisalmer. After seeing the Patwon ki Haveli, we started back to our hotel to pick our luggage and leave for the railway station. And this is how a journey to the beautiful city of Jaisalmer came to an end.
- If you want to have traditional Rajasthani Thali or Dal Batti Churma then do not have it at Jaisalmer Fort. At Jaisalmer Fort, you can find cafes which serve food and services more suitable for foreign tourists. For traditional food, check with the locals some place in the Jaisalmer city. Recommendation: Restaurant Desert Bite serves amazing food at affordable rates. The ambience and service at this place is outstanding. Follow this link to check my review for this restaurant on TripAdvisor: https://www.tripadvisor.in/members-citypage/46richad/g297667
- Must try dishes: Ker sangri ki sabzi (dry), Ker sangri ki kadhi (gravy sabzi), bajra-gur (jaggery) ka churma.
- If one wants to try Bhaang legally, then Jaisalmer is the place to be. You can find a Govt. certified Bhaang shop here. It’s a well known place so you can check with the locals regarding its location. Recommendation: Bhaang lassi
- Paan (beetle leaves dessert): Maharaja Paan wala is the oldest and the most famous Paan Shop of Jaisalmer. So, after having traditional cuisine, Paan at Maharaja Paan wala is like icing on the cake.
For Desert Safari, stay, snacks, breakfast and dinner at desert camp and hotel room to freshen up on day 1 and cloak room to keep luggage on day 2 and to and fro journey to Sam Desert was all included in the package which cost us around Rs 1200 per head. For open Jeep safari permit and ride, we paid Rs 1450/-
Tip: The package rates might have changed now and also need to be negotiated at the time of booking.