Travel | Jaisalmer – a story of sands and skies

We travel, some of us forever, to seek other states, other lives, other souls | Anais Nin

I am a mountains-person. Out and out, through and through.

As far as I can remember, I have never liked heat – or dust. Or camels.

Yet, one can just not say no to Jaisalmer. Or the prospect of an unforgettable evening in the middle of the desert – where you travel to, on camel-backs; with tents and supplies for the overnight stay in the middle of nothing. At night, the burst of beuaty in that hollow space remind you of all things celestial and worth wondering, as you gaze at the countless stars – otherwise not visible in the polluted air of the ‘developed’ cities.

These are the snaps from the fort and the desert taken on my trip to the place. Scroll below the gallery for more details about travelling here.

Jaisalmer is a small town. Or a village, if you may. The fort is the largest thing around and most of the civilization is settled in and around it. New small hotels have cropped up in the neighbouring areas around the fort – including guest houses run by local families. And if you take away the band of jolly tourists rashing the place, you have a quiet simple setting of traditional village folks and their likebale, rustic ways..

One can casually keep roaming around the fort for an entire day – even more casually if you happen to buy the famous ‘bhaang’ from the local shops at the gate and pop some. You can see silhouettes of local rural living all around the fort and souvenier-shoppers will faint at the propspects of enlarging their collections.

I was lucky to find places and stertches in the fort to myself. Tourism was rampant s usual but having popped the lovely bhaang, Jim and I both were loosely hanging about the streets, catching every corner with a vivid eye and trudging steadily up the winding roads – which also ensured the tourist hordes left us far behind with the habitant animals and intricate walls.

The fort is actually huge – with musuems and archives in it. But the best view of the town is from the top.
As I traced the entire landscape of the town from atop, it was easly to imagine the nothing there must have once been and the gradual ‘civilization’ of the place itself to the now brimming and bustling trains of vehicles and people local and foreign. With it, came that small spark of fear – for the place and how it might soon become a regular affair in a few years to come.. after the charm, quiet and tranquility is eroded by increasing footprints..

But it is the desert where you will lose your heart.
It was nothing like I had ever seen – naked, devoid and magnificient! Better see it yourself than read it on someone else’s blog – it is that great.

And a night’s stay in the desert is what completes the trip in its essence. Local establishments – check around with all the time and inquiry in the world – have travel packages depending on hte size of your group and stay. Camel rides to the middle of the desert, camping at night, bonfires and dinners under the star-pimpled sky and the most beautiful sunrise that you might have seen.
But yeah, there also are sand storms, bugs and lots of heat – but make peace with em, its the desert in its truest essence.

Where | Jaisalmer village and desert, Rajasthan in India
From | Jaisalmer, the nearest village where buses come to
How long | A two day trip lets you reach in the morning; vividly check out the fort in the afternoon and stay in the desert at night till the next morning
How | Local transport + Camels in the desert
Take-alongs | Charge on the cellphone – for music; flashlight/torch; insect-repellants; glasses and caps (to keep out the sand) and lots of water!!
Terrain | The fort is a long, elaborate casual walk around the city – which is mostly the fort itself! | The sands in the desert.
To see | Shops and markets + architecture, art and history museums in the fort | The beautiful sandscapes in the desert
Definitely | Try some of the famous ‘bhaang’ sold at the fort + Research the desert stay properly and get in touch with a reliable travel agent > inexpensive tours might just prove dangerous at times. Don’t save, savour.
Definitely NOT | Trust local hotel-agents or tour agents – or overdose yourself with ‘bhaang
Note | Photography enthusiasts might want to carry a tripod stand along. The night is too much! I regret leaving mine behind.

Happy wandering in the desert.

Remember, its good to leave a place with souveniers – and a place like this would give you too many. But its not really sensible to leave trash behind in return, is it? 😉