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.
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.
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.
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.
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.