This blog has been dead for the past two and a half months. Blame it on the traveling schedule. It has been rather mad (Mumbai, Singapore, Mumbai, Pune, Mumbai, Jaisalmer, Mumbai, Dubai, Mumbai, Singapore, Mumbai) and when I am finally in Bombay, I just want to be a coach potato and laze around with my cats. I’m serious. Sometimes I just lie on the floor with them, doing absolutely nothing… #crazycatlady
So anyway. A number of friends have asked about Jaisalmer and whether it’s worth visiting. Some who have seen my photos exclaimed and marveled at the beauty of India. (Admittedly, I edit most of my photos and my hubs complains that I make parts of India more attractive than it really is. BUT. I believe my level of photo editing can only make something more beautiful, and not make something ugly beautiful.)
Jaisalmer was not a city I fell in love at first sight. Rather, it grew on me. The problem was I kept comparing it to Jodhpur, a Rajasthani city we had visited last November. I found Jodhpur (the Blue City) more colourful and more exotic and thought Jaisalmer was a clone of Jodhpur, only that it was yellow and not blue; and smaller. But as the days past, I came to appreciate Jaisalmer. It was more laid back and the people warmer, gentler and more genuine.
To get to Jaisalmer, you will need to take a train, bus or car ride from Jodhpur. Because we are rather pampered creatures, we hired a car. :P The car ride was about 5 hours (one way) through the Thar Desert and you might be able to spot some camels, langur, peacocks and sheep along the way.
It was dusk when we reached Jaisalmer and I wanted nothing more than to take a shower and crash. So it was extremely comforting when we saw our room at 1st Gate Home Fusion. It was spacious, clean, tastefully decorated, comfortable and equipped with small, thoughtful touches like a snack basket (chips, chocolates, Parle-G!), fruit basket, hairdryer, books, and a shower area with two shower heads, one on each end. What a treat (although one does question why we would need two shower heads)! The best part of 1st Gate is that it is extremely close to the Fort, offers you an excellent view of the Fort and shields you away from the hustle and bustle that inevitably comes with staying inside the Fort.
Over the next 3 days, we spent our time exploring the Jaisalmer Fort, Patwa Havelis, Gadisar Lake (you can give this a miss if you don’t have enough time), wandering the streets by foot and tuk tuk in search of Rajasthani thali, masala chai and masala everything (eggs, papad, soda, coffee…). We met shop owners who gently invite you to view their goods and step inside their shops, curious and well-meaning Indian travelers who want to take a picture with you and restaurant owners who will sometimes pull up a chair and tell you their life stories and their beloved city of Jaisalmer. We came to realise that Jaisalmer is really tiny! It is essentially a Fort surrounded by havelis right in the middle of the Thar Dessert. The word often used to describe Jaisalmer is ‘mirage’, considering that it is a golden city surrounded by sand. And why is it called the ‘golden city’? Almost all the buildings and Fort are built using yellow sandstone.
We chose to spend our days walking around and lazing in the room (because it was so comfortable!) and skipped the excursions to the Desert. Did we miss much? I’m not sure. But this was the ideal holiday for us – leisurely, too much food, walk-able routes, lovely people and scenic views. I heart Rajasthan!