Jaisalmer is filled with narrow streets and ancient markets that you can spend a whole day getting lost in, taking pictures and experiencing daily life in in the city. Seeing the array of colours, women in there saris and men in their turbans. When you enter this breathtaking city it feels like you have stepped back in time.
You can’t miss out on visiting this place so read on to find out about the best kept secret places to visit in Jaisalmer.
CAMEL SAFARI No trip to Jaisalmer is complete without taking a trip into the Thar Desert dunes and the camel safari is the best way to experience this. No need to book in advance as almost every hotel offers the camel safari tours at a decent price. The prices usually range from 1500 rupees to 3000 depending on your budget and where you want to stay. There are many options to chose from. You can take a jeep ride into the desert and then continue on camel. You can chose to stay for just the afternoon taking in the sunset and eating desert snacks and drinking Chai or you can stay one night, two nights, its up to you!
You are able to just sleep with the sleeping bag or camp out, it again depends on your budget. Cooking dinner on the camp fire and having some locals come and play music is a whole other experience in itself. Relax in peace under the stars and wake up early in the morning to enjoy the sunrise. A very unique experience to find peace from the outside world.
JAISALMER FORT One of the best things to do in the city is to check out the forts. There are many forts here but the main Jaisalmer fort, a living fort, is like it’s own village! The best part is that’s it is completely free to enter. As you step in it truly feels like you have stepped back into a far away land. You can spend a day wandering around the markets and narrow streets. So much shopping for beautiful clothes, bags, accessories and traditional hand made souvenirs. Fruit stands and street food are in abundance. Try out the sweets and many snacks that are available.
You can hire a guide for the day to take you around and tell you about the rich history and stories but you can also just go and explore yourself, sometimes it is more fun that way!
As the fort is up quite high, you can find breathtaking views in the rooftop restaurants. Grab some lunch and sit up in the terrace to watch the sunset over the city, it is not named ‘The Golden City’ for nothing! As the sun sets, the fort and overlooking city turns a wonderful golden colour so make sure to have the camera ready! The rooftop restaurants among the fort offers a whole birds eye view of the complete city along with delicious traditional Rajasthani dishes and western style food or jut enjoy a nice cold Indian beer while the sun sets behind you.
GLADISAR LAKE Around 12th-13th AD the Gadisar Lake was built as a reservoir by the ruler Raja Rawal Jaisal. He belonged to one of the bluest among the royal blood of Rajasthan and was the first king of the state and city of Jaisalmer. This historic lake is situated in the south of Jaisalmer city and you enter through a beautifully and artistically carved yellow stone archway.
The lake is surrounded by temples, shrines and chattris. It has a lot of charm as it was the only source of water for the city back in the olden days. There are many birds perched around the lake and you can also feed the fish. If you go with a guide he can bring some roti (chapati) and spend the afternoon feeding the fish.
The best time would be to go in the morning when the first rays of sun are shining on the fort, giving it it’s golden colour with the birds flying around adding to the beauty. A picturesque sunrise making the Gladisar lake one of the major attractions within the city.
Entry is free and the opening times are 8am-8pm. You have the choice to also take a boat ride too. At a reasonable prices you can take the row boat for 10rupees a paddle boat for 50rupees or a shikara (gondola type of rowing boat) for 100rupees for 30 minutes.
The lake is just 2km away from Jaisalmer railway station. There are many ways to reach the lake. You can take an auto rickshaw or hire a taxi service to take you around the city for the day including the lake.
BADA BAGH An ancient cemetery full of sun baked cenotaphs, a photographers dream! Bada Bagh translates to ‘big garden’ which is basically what it is. The best time to visit is, again, sunrise or sunset as it has the best lighting. It is situated 5km outside of the city so you can hire an auto rickshaw or a driver to take you. Make sure you book in advance if you are wanting to go for sunrise. The entry fee is 300 for foreigners. Spend the morning wandering around the cenotaphs that are beautifully carved, the tank and the dam.
Next to Bada Barg is the Bhaironji Temple, which is often visited by women without children. They will come to offer silver girdles to a deity in hope of curing their infertility. If you would like to visit both of these then it is best to hire a driver to take you around, give you some information about the area and air conditioned transport.
With endless desert, colourful markets, friendly people, safaris, rooftop restaurants and starry nights, Jaisalmer really gives you the true Indian adventure. Now it’s time to come and check it all out for yourself. One of the most beautiful places in Rajasthan.
India is a developing country and is still very traditional in a lot of ways. So dress code can be pretty important when you are thinking about traveling here. The hardest part of travelling is figuring out exactly what to bring with you. You don’t want to be lugging around your backpack with unnecessary items. Here we can help you by listing some suggestions on exactly what to take with you.
Firstly, it is good to think about what type of luggage you will want to bring. It depends on you and what type of travelling you will be doing. A suitcase is fine, however you must remember that the streets in India can be quite uneven and sometimes a bit dirty. Also some streets can be very narrow that even a car can’t fit down them! If you are wheeling a suitcase around it may be a little uncomfortable trying to avoid all those obstacles!
A backpack is more effective, depending on the time you stay, depends on what size you would like. During the day a day pack or something sturdy and not easily opened will be fine, beware of some pick pocketers! Make sure it is big enough to fit the essentials, like a water bottle, passport, wallet, etc.
A lot of travelers will want to do shopping in India so they can adapt to a more local attire and there are many shops you can purchase these clothes in for very decent prices. India is slowly becoming more westernized so you will see the men and women in most of the bigger cities, like Delhi, wearing more western style clothes. In the smaller cities and villagers it is a respectful idea to blend in and keep you legs and shoulders covered, for women, keep the chest covered also. In the bigger cities and in the South, places like Goa, it is okay for women to wear shorts and to have there shoulders shown.
Ladies can bring long skirts, dresses, long pants and jeans and then you are able to buy tops in India like a kurta. This is easy, pretty and respectful! Very easy to wear over jeans and pants. Strapless tops are only acceptable in places like Goa. Try avoid wearing tight tops also, you can cover this by wearing a pretty scarf over the top. You will definitely see Indian women with their bellies out when they are wearing their saris, but this is traditional attire and is very different.
For men, any type of shirt is fine and long pants will do. Try avoid wearing shorts purely for the fact that you may draw more attention to yourself. So if you aren’t comfortable with people starring at you then just stick to the dress code we have written here. At the end of the day it doesn’t matter what you wear here, but if you want to be respected by the locals then a conservative dress style is more appropriate. Also, if you aren’t too keen on people wanting photos with you, then again, its better to just stay covered up. Happy shopping!
I’m sure everyone wonders what exact medicine to bring without bringing a mini doctors surgery with them! It is very accessible and cheap to purchase medicine over in India, as long as you have a picture of what you need. Unless you need some kind of prescription medicine then it is better to pack you own. Common medicines such as vitamin C, painkillers are not so difficult to purchase from a pharmacy here. The food is very different here so make sure you bring some medicine to deal with any type of upset stomach. Carbon tablets for diarrhea. Aloe Vera and sunscreen for the heat.
In all big cities there are ATM’s and cash machines readily available at all times. In major shops, hotels and restaurants you can pay by credit card but its a good idea to have cash with you at all times. Many ATM’s will charge a fee for overseas cards so having cash is better. You can also use US dollars in major tourist attractions so be sure to keep a small denomination of this too.
Any type of toiletry item such as hair care, sanitary items, deodorant, makeup, soap etc are available ti purchase all throughout India and very affordable. Obviously bigger brands will be more expensive but you can find the items you need at a corner store for cheap. You will want to pack your own personal items that you usually use at home.
An important item is mosquito repellent as western brands are usually stronger than the ones in India. If you use hair wax or hair spray, these are difficult to find, so bring your own. In most bathrooms there is no toilet paper as Indian people do not use this. It is a good idea to always have a pack of tissues or anti bacterial wipes with you to use if you need the bathroom!
OTHER USEFUL ITEMS
A torch or flashlight, sunglasses, hat, padlock for luggage, earplugs are all useful. Anti-bacterial wet wipes are super useful for many situations also. A battery pack for your phone and other electrical devices are also useful for long bus rides. A couple of books and notebooks are also super handy as you may be doing a lot of waiting around, concept of time is very different to western countries. If you are taking long bus or train rides to other cities then having a book to read is a great way to pass the time.
Lastly, you will want to bring some sturdy footwear. The streets can be very uneven and not so clean in some areas so you want something that will help you get around these obstacles. If you are doing a lot of walking and exploring then you will want some sneakers or sport shoes. For ladies a cute pair of sandals will do for nights out and short day trips, trendy and easy to get on and off. There are an abundance of shops selling shoes and its a nice idea to purchase a beautiful pair of traditional Indian shoes while you are here.
Below is a list of essential items you can pack to India:
2 x long dresses
2 x long skirts
1 pair of loose pants
1 pair of jeans
3 x shirts
1 tank top (for nights out)
2 shirts (that you shop for in India)
5 x underwear
2 x bra (one sports bra one normal)
3 x socks
1 x sneakers
1 x sandels
1 x pair of shorts (if you are visiting South India)
dry shampoo (there is not always hot water)
For men it is obvioulsy about the same excluding the skirts ad dresses, unless that’s what you’re into!
SO now you’ve got the gear, its time to start your adventure! Happy packing.