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Jaisalmer

A fort in the middle of the desert

Aug 14, 2018 comment(s)

After a night in the train with Edouard being very sick (thank you the tourista), we arrived at Jaisalmer... on time! Jaisalmer is located in the Thar desert, not too far from Pakistan’s border. The average temperature during our stay was 36 degrees but in June, it can go up to 50 degrees!

The old city

The main thing here is the fort built with yellow rocks and without any cement. Rocks hold thanks to their weight. It looks a bit like a sand castle built by some kids. It is actually one of the oldest forts in India. Inside the fortress can be found a palace as well as the old city. The Rajamahal palace is nice, the best thing was the view from the top of it. We could see all the city outside the fortifications up until the desert. 

We also visited 5 Jaïns temples. These temples are somehow interconnected, and we can see the inside of one from another. The details of the sculptures are amazing. We thought it would be cool inside, but it was actually super hot.

It is good to walk around the old city, feel the atmosphere, get lost in all the small streets, meet with locals. The architecture of houses is beautiful. We actually visited 2 haveli which are the traditional houses built from the 18th century by rich merchants.

Outside the fortification but very close to city is the Gadisar Lake. We went there at the end of the afternoon to avoid high temperature. It is very calm and beautiful, definitely worth it to end the day perfectly.

Edouard really needed a fresh haircut and shave. After talking with locals, we stopped at one of the most famous barbers, even the Maharaja got his beard shaved here! That's what they say. A very funny moment and actually pretty good haircut.

Outside Jaisalmer

On Wednesday afternoon we rented a scooter to visit the outside of Jaisalmer. Our first stop was at Bada Bagh, around 6km away. While driving, the site just appeared out of the sand. Next to it there is a lake which added to the beauty of the place. It is composed of many tombs of Jaisalmer Maharajas, although none of their remains is here, all the tombs are empty. The whole area is very photogenic and despite the high temperature we enjoyed it much. We actually spent quite some time with an Indian family who invited us to join them for lunch. They offered us food and what we will remember the most will be the sweets, so good! A very nice moment sharing smiles, pictures and practising our Hindi. 

We then headed to Lodruva another 10km further. On the road, we could enjoy the view of the beginning of the desert and small sand dunes, as well as thousands of wind turbines. In Lodruva, there is a jaïn temple that hosts the Prophet Parshvanath associated with a snake. It is said that a giant cobra lives beneath it and protects the place. We were the only one there which was quite enjoyable. 

Last stop was at Amar Sagar, again 10km away. Same as previously the road to get there was really nice. We could stop at a little oasis where a farmer was having his cows drinking. It was very peaceful. We visited another jaïn temple there. This time much bigger and higher. Next to the temple there is a lake, full of water in winter. Some water was still there. It was a gathering place for the animals around: cows, goats, dogs and peacocks. The temple itself is amazing by its details. Another quiet place that is very enjoyable when living in the city. 

This little half day trip was amazing. Landscapes were great and along the way we took time to talk with locals. All were smiling and willing to share a little chat.

Replanning the trip

I initially came to Jaisalmer with the objective to volunteer in a hotel / travel agency organising camel safari in the desert. The idea was to help them with tourist inquiries, bookings and emails. 

The first day, my duty was to clean up a room in the old hotel... I went to the office the second day and realised that the manager only needed me to write reviews for his business, sometime fake reviews! His only way of thinking was money oriented.

We really felt uncomfortable and decided to leave. We are very lucky to be able to travel and be free to make that type of decision. We preferred to pay for the accommodation rather than going against our values.

Therefore, we had more time ahead of us in India as we had planned to stay 2 weeks in Jaisalmer. We have decided to stay a few more days and then leave to unique city... Stay tuned!