Showered in Gold, view the wonders of Jaisalmer!
Jaisalmer is one of the most magical destinations in all of Rajasthan. It evokes the true spirit of the desert in to your soul with every visit. The hostile terrain of the desert is overcome with the warmth of the people that reside within its premises.
As your eyes reach over the sloping sand dunes, there are many wonders to uncover. In ancient times, Jaisalmer found its identity by being a successful location on the main trade route that linked India to Egypt and Arabia. It’s prosperity came from taxes levied on anything that passed through its borders.
Ages have come and gone but Jaisalmer has stood the test of time with it’s monuments, a glowing tribute to it’s history. The spectacular combination of culture and harsh climate conditions leave a lasting impression on all those who enter through its gates.
- Currency: Indian Rupees
- Type of location – Semi desert with humid subtropical climate
- Neighboring cities – The closest city to Jaisalmer is Biramsar, located 11.1kms away. Sukkur and Jodhpur are the two major metropolitan cities to Jaisalmer, at a distance of 219kms and 223kms, respectively.
Climate conditions and the best time to plan your trip
Jaisalmer is located near the Pakistan-India border. It’s almost entirely made up of sandy waste, being a part of the Thar desert. The landscape mostly consists of sand hills of all shapes and sizes. During the summer months, the temperature can go as high as 41.6 degrees Celsius and during winters, the lowest temperature recorded is 23.6 degrees Celsius.
The best time to plan your trip is normally during the cooler months of October through to March. Tourists go in and out of the city through out the year, but traveling is easier when the temperature drops a little bit.
Top spots to visit
Jaisalmer has many wonders to offer in and around the city. It’s one of the most popular places to visit in all of Rajasthan. There are many historical monuments scattered throughout this magnificent city, but a few just can’t be missed!
- Jaisalmer Fort – It’s not just some old monument left isolated for tourists to examine, but alive with people living within its walls. The narrow lanes and age old architectures transports you to a time when life was simpler. The whole area breathes of an era that’s past and you can spend hours exploring every little corner. If you get tired, there are cafes and local music all around for you to rest and absorb all the amazing sights around you.
◦ Opening Hours – 8.00am to 6.00pm
◦ Entry Cost – Free to get into the fort. Rs.30 for Indians to enter the Palace, and Rs.70 for foreigners. It costs an extra Rs.50 to take still cameras and Rs.100 to take video cameras.
◦ Location – Central Jaisalmer
◦ Time Required – A few hours to just walk through, but a whole day to properly take in the essence of the place.
- Havelis – There are two main havelis in Jaisalmer that are a must see, Salim Singh ki Haveli and Patwa ki Haveli. Both of these are architectural attractions that will blow your mind. The iconic Salim Singh ki Haveli has a peacock shaped roof and each of its 38 balconies are unique. It looks a little like a ship, and hence, it’s sometimes called the Jahaz Mahal. Patwa ki Haveli is actually a cluster of 5 small havelis. It’s the first haveli to ever have been constructed in Jaisalmer, and it’s also one of the biggest. The gateway and arches in each of the small havelis represent the personalities of its owners, providing you a glimpse into the rich history of the haveli.
◦ Opening Hours – 8.00am to 7.00pm
◦ Entry Cost – Rs.10 for Indians and Rs.15 for foreigners. Entry fees for a camera is Rs.50 and Rs.100 for a video camera.
◦ Location of Salim Singh ki Haveli – Asani Road, Amar Sagar Pol, Jaisalmer
◦ Location of Patwa ki Haveli – Amar Sagar Pol, Jaisalmer
◦ Time Required – One to two hours for each of the havelis.
- Camel Safari – There’s option to take a Jeep Safari through the desert, but most tourists prefer to travel the authentic way and take a camel ride through the desert. There’s no better to experience the Thar Desert. There are millions of agents who’ll be wanting to book your safari, so choose wisely. These safari’s can last from anywhere to 1 day, 2 days, 7 days to even up to a month. It all depends on the type of experience you want to have.
You’ll be provided with one camel per person and a camel cart for your luggage, though most of it is laden with utensils, food, water, tents and other essential supplies. Be sure to check with your guide about where you’ll be stopping for the night and about nightly entertainment. There’s usually some music or local performances lined up.
◦ Location – The camel safaris start from the desert fort of Jaisalmer. Travel agents and tour operators can be found within the city as well as in Bikaner, Osian, Khimsar or any of the neighboring cities.
◦ Time Required – You can choose how much time you want to spend in the desert according to your needs.
◦ Cost – It differs from program to program and agent to agent. Cheaper may be more appealing, but it’s best to go with a reputable guide and worth paying a little extra to be safe.
One of their most authentic dishes is Ker Sangri. It’s a unique entree that’s unique to Jaisalmer because traditionally, there wasn’t much meat available. It’s a combination of desert beans and capers. Over time, another dish that they’ve developed is murgh-e-subz. Boneless strips of chicken stir fried and mixed with shredded vegetable is something that you shouldn’t miss!
Chokhi Dhani is one of the most popular spots to eat and a favorite throughout Rajasthan. You’ll have a long menu to choose from and multiple cuisines, all under one roof. Trio is another famous option and a more romantic location to spend time. The tented roof allows you to relax and enjoy some music. Their food is reliable and hygienic.
Why Jaisalmer is amazing!
Jaisalmer is one of the few cities that perfectly blends the romantic aspect of a vacation with cultural insights. It also has a very rich music scene which can be appreciated by one and all. Every year, there’s a three day festival called “The Desert Festival,” that consists of many cultural activities and happens in February. The “Golden City,” is, by far, one of the most exotic in the Thar Desert.
Jaisalmer is a wonderful little desert town but you should be careful while walking around. The narrow lanes have erratic traffic. Since you’ll mostly be on food, it’s good be wary of the many two wheelers that come out of no where. Also, bring a cushion along for the camel safari and give your tender backside some support. Another thing to be careful about is the climate. It goes without saying but since the climate is hot and dry, be sure to be constantly hydrated and carry as much protection from the sun as you can, like sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses etc.
Planning your budget
The most economical and comfortable way to reach Jaisalmer is by train. As in every city, the hotel you choose to stay at depends on the level of luxury that you require. Jaisalmer has many budget hotels that provide you with the essentials for a very reasonable price. Most of the sightseeing in Jaisalmer requires you to be on foot, hence, it’s basically free. At most, you’ll need a rickshaw to get from one location to the next. This entails a lot bargaining and you should get a approximate travel prices from your hotel desk prior to any traveling.
Most monuments offer an audio guide for you to understand the history behind them for a reasonable fee. Shopping in Jaisalmer varies on your needs, but you should definitely pick up some tie-dye clothes and embroidered garments. Rangoli is a popular shop for clothes and since they have fixed prices, you won’t have to bargain.
Jaisalmer is amazing and wroth spending time in to experience the wonder of its golden sand dunes.