Tuesday, September 15, 2020

What to see in Jaisalmer: The Golden City of Rajasthan

Jaisalmer, that city which is known as the golden city of Rajasthan. Surrounded by the Thar desert. And is a place of great forts, arid lands, Jain temples and Havelis palaces. In this post, we are going to tell you all our recommendations to visit and enjoy a few days in this western city of northern India. Not only what to see and do in Jaisalmer, but also how to get there, where to sleep, eat … AND much more! Read on because we started with Jaisalmer, the golden city of Rajasthan.

How to get to Jaisalmer from Jodhpur

Before starting with that list that we like so much of what to see and do in Jaisalmer. We are going to tell you how to get to this city somewhat far from the typical route that many travelers do through North India.

As always we tell you the options to get to Jaisalmer are endless and depend on the city from which you come.

If the previous stop is, like us, the blue city of Jodhpur, this information can be very useful. We are going to tell you how you can do the Jodhpur – Jaisalmer route. These are the transportation options to cover this distance:

Live the experience of traveling like a local

Airplane. This is always the most comfortable means of transport, but also the most expensive. In this particular case, we recommend that you forget about this possibility of transportation. Since it is a great waste of time.

Both cities are not connected with direct flights. So you will be required to make 1 or 2 stops, to go from one place to another. It is not worth losing almost 1 day to fly! The connections are not good at all and the prices are not cheap. Take a look at the options you have before discarding.

Private Car. Taking the trip through Rajasthan by private car or driver is one of the most common forms of transportation. And is preferred by travelers. If you reach a good agreement with the company or the driver. You can get a very interesting and worthwhile price for the entire trip.
Live the experience of traveling like a local

Bus. You can also get from Jodhpur to Jaisalmer by bus. The trip lasts approximately 5 hours. And the price will depend on the type of transport you choose ( sleeper, with air conditioning, including meals …).

Train. If you are organizing a trip to India. You will already know that the train is the most used transport in the country. We were the ones we choose to take the shortest routes between the cities of Rajasthan. If you want to know more about the train journey from Jodhpur to Jaisalmer, read on.

How to get from Jodhpur to Jaisalmer by train

A train journey in India is an adventure in itself. A journey in one of its carriages will mark a before and after in your journey! We assure you! You learn a lot about their culture, their history, their way of living and seeing life … For us it is essential in India: take a train trip.

And we especially remember this journey from Jodhpur to Jaisalmer. Because it was the most difficult trip of all. We were several hours late, arriving almost at dawn in Jaisalmer. We remembered that it was so hot in there that the fans weren’t enough. It was difficult to breathe and as the train approached the desert. We had to cover our faces from the amount of sand that entered through the windows. A trip we will not forget!

Duration and price of the train journey

As for the practical data, the journey takes about 5 hours and 25 minutes approximately. Although as we have already mentioned on several occasions, delays in train journeys in India are very common.

On the price, it depends on the class you choose to travel. If you travel in a sleeper class like us, this trip costs about INR 208.00 ($ 2.61) per person. It is par excellence the cheapest transport to travel around India.

Although it is true that it is not so easy to understand how the rail network works. And what is the best way to get train tickets. Therefore, we will prepare a special post on how to travel by train in India. Dedicated to all those who want to move with this transport in this country.

What to see and do in Jaisalmer

Now yes, take out paper and pen. Because we start with that list of essentials of what to see and do in Jaisalmer. What should you not miss? We will tell you!

Jaisalmer Fort

The walled city of Jaisalmer is one of the most special attractions of this place in western Rajasthan. Observing your fort from every possible perspective is one of those activities that, of course, we recommend you do. Up close, with panoramic views from various angles, even from above the walls themselves. It claims to be the second oldest fort in the entire state of Rajasthan .

Get lost in the walled city

Another one of those essential things to see and do in Jaisalmer is without a doubt. Getting lost aimlessly through the interior of the walled city. Entering the interior of the Fort is completely free. And getting disoriented in its small alleys is practically a subject for all tourists who visit it. But it is in those moments when the best places are discovered and the best experiences are lived!

And as we always recommend at those times. Take the opportunity to observe, see what life is like in there, talk to the locals… Live Jaisalmer from within!

Royal Palace – Maharaja Mahal

Inside the Jaisalmer Fort is its great Royal Palace, Maharaja Mahal. A large building of no more and no less than seven floors, and which today houses a museum. They recommended us not to enter and not to visit since inside it was not too spectacular. But we leave you here the recommendation. Because we believe that we had to mention the Palace in a list of things to see and do in Jaisalmer.

Hours: 9am to 5pm

Price: INR 500.00 ($ 6.55)

Jain Temples

Another of the visits that can be made inside the Jaisalmer Fort are the Jain Temples. In total seven of these temples are visited. Which have a very peculiar architecture and are part of a minority religion in this area of India. The temples are Chandraprabhu and Rikhabdev, Gyan Bhandar, Parasnath, Shitalnath, Sambhavanth, Shantinath, and Kunthunath.

The problem with visiting them is that they have very little and changing opening hours to the public. We could not access any of them because during those hours they were closed to visits by foreigners. We were eager to see them inside, but we were left with their image from the outside. Which was already very peculiar.

Sunset with panoramic views of the Fort

Sunset is always a magical moment anywhere in the world. But in a city like Jaisalmer with the colors, it has and it is surrounded by desert, the magic increases. That is why we recommend that when the time of sunset approaches. Do not hesitate to look for a high point outside the walled city. And from where you can enjoy a panoramic view of the entire Fort of Jaisalmer like this one.

It is quite a show and it is well worth ending a day in Jaisalmer with these views!

Street Markets

In this mini-guide to what to see and do in Jaisalmer. We cannot overlook another of the most common and interesting local activities in India. Its street markets! When you walk through the streets of the heart of Jaisalmer you will find many small food stalls like these. Full of color and daily life!

Gadisar Lake

Do not miss visiting the most important lake in Jaisalmer, Lake Gadisar. It is perhaps a bit far from the city center and depending on where you are staying. You will have to take a tuk-tuk or rickshaw to get there. We walked because it was not too far from our hotel.

Best of all, it’s a free attraction and a very special one to see and do in Jaisalmer. There you can rent a boat and take a walk on the lake itself. The most beautiful thing is the calm and tranquility of that place. And the beauty of the cenotaphs that are built in it. It is a very good point to watch the sunset another day.

Guided tour in Jaisalmer

One of the activities that we always recommend you to do. And of which we are very fans are guided tours. We believe that if there is enough time. It is interesting to take a tour to learn more about the city with an expert.

Read More: North India Tour for 34 Days

Bada Bagh

Now comes the visit to a site that is not in the heart of the city, but about 6 kilometers from Jaisalmer, but that many travelers include on their route through the city. They are the cenotaphs of Bada Bagh , a set of cenotaphs located in the middle of the Thar desert, in a completely arid environment.

They say they are beautiful because of the landscape in which they are located. We did not go to see them, since we had to pay transportation to get there, and we were on a very tight budget, as it was the end of our 6-month trip to Asia . But if you can add it to your route through Jaisalmer, don’t think about it.

Thar desert tour

We could not finish this what to see and do in Jaisalmer without mentioning the queen or star excursion of this city. And it is practically mandatory to get closer and know the Thar desert when visiting Jaisalmer for a few days. We can assure you that it is an adventure and above all a great experience! Because you have ever imagined yourself sleeping literally on the sand, between dunes and under a blanket of incredible stars. Well, in the Thar desert you can experience it in the first person!

There are many companies with which you can make this excursion. The city is full of points where you can hire it, even in your secure accommodation that they also offer. This is how we did it, we hired it through our Hotel Royal Haveli . For your guidance, the desert excursion cost us 1,200.00 INR (€ 15.00) per person.

What did the excursion to the Thar desert include?

  • Round-trip transportation by car from Jaisalmer to the desert
  • Camel ride to the camp (optional, you can also walk)
  • Dinner and breakfast based on local food
  • Overnight in single beds

It is a day trip more or less, because the car to the desert leaves in the early afternoon and we return the next day at mid-morning. They are very basic excursions and camps, far from any type of luxury. But it was a great experience or so we lived it.

The best moments were sunset, when we lit a bonfire in the middle of those dunes and the Korean traveling companions took out their guitar and began to sing around the fire under the moon, the sunrise and above all being lying on a bed in the air free enjoying the most starry sky I have ever seen. It is something we will never forget!

Read More:
1. Jaipur the Pink City: Capital of Rajasthan
2. Top 10 Best Places to visit in India
3. Traveling to India

How to get around Jaisalmer

After explaining what to see and do in Jaisalmer, it is time to know how to get around this city. It must be said that it is a small city and therefore very comfortable to visit. You can practically walk through everything, especially if you stay not far from the Jaisalmer Fort.

Maybe you do need the services of a tuk-tuk or rickshaw to go from the train station to your hotel or to the airport. For us, for example, our accommodation in the city included free pick-up at the train station. But nevertheless, we did pay to be able to go from the hotel to the Jaisalmer airport, which is quite far from the center. About 20 km away, approximately 30 minutes of travel. For that trip, we paid INR 400.00 (€ 5.04). We tell you so that you have a price reference, which always comes in handy.

Accommodation. Where to sleep in Jaisalmer?

To find accommodation in Jaisalmer we recommend you choose it by location. Choose a place to sleep that is not too far from the city center or the Fort. In order to be able to walk from one place to another. We believe it is the most comfortable for a small city like this.

If you go in the middle of the summer season, as we did, another must-have for your accommodation is air conditioning. Think that Jaisalmer is in the middle of the Thar desert and the heat in broad daylight is really suffocating. We assure you from our own experience!

Sleep in a Haveli palace

And now it is time to recommend the hotel where we stayed during our nights in Jaisalmer: the Hotel Royal Haveli. It is a haveli palace, a style of local architecture very common in Jaisalmer. This palace is a modest and small hotel, with a very familiar treatment and which has a rooftop terrace that is open in the middle and high season and serves exquisite Indian dishes in its restaurant.

It is located 5 minutes walk from the Jaisalmer Fort. It has private rooms with air conditioning, a very comfortable bed and a private bathroom. The owners are very nice and pleasant. We recommend it! So if you want to know more about this hotel, we invite you not to miss our special post about our accommodations during our trip to India. There you will find all the details of each of them, prices, services, photographs …

Where to eat in Jaisalmer?

The end of this post about what to see and do in Jaisalmer comes, and as we always do with all the places we visit, we dedicate a point to talk about recommendations for restaurants where to eat or bars/cafes in which to have a drink. We did not spend too many days in Jaisalmer, but we still have some sites that we want to advise you:

1st Gate Home – Fusion. This restaurant is inside a small 3-star boutique hotel at the gates of Jaisalmer Fort. If you are looking for a place to eat Italian, of quality and with exceptional views of the walls, don’t miss it! The prices are more expensive than those of a restaurant of Indian food, but we believe that a whim from time to time on a trip does not hurt. His specialty is pasta dishes and pizzas. We ate a couple of pasta dishes and drinks for € 10.

Local food Restaurants

Kuku Coffee Shop. This cafeteria is in the heart of the Jaisalmer Fort, hidden among alleys. But it is worth getting lost to find it. It has a small terrace with spectacular views over the wall and the desert in the distance. To have a drink at sunset is ideal. Also, its owner, Tony, is very nice and kind. Do not miss it!

Romany Restaurant. This is one of the best-positioned restaurants on Tripadvisor in Jaisalmer. We went to dinner one night and the truth was that it was very good. It is located on the rooftop of a hotel and has beautiful panoramic views of the city fort . It has a very varied menu of Indian food, delicious and at a very good price. If you are looking for some local food, put it on your list!

So far our Jaisalmer foodies recommendations. We do not have too many since we spent a day hiking in the desert and we also have to confess that it was so hot when we were that our hunger was gone, we drank a lot and we took many ice creams to refresh ourselves.

Tips about Jaisalmer

Once again, we finish this mini Jaisalmer travel guide (how to get there, what to see and do in Jaisalmer, how to get around, where to sleep and where to eat) with a couple of final tips. We want to emphasize or comment on a few things that we find interesting that you take into account when visiting the golden city of Rajasthan:

How many days to be Jaisalmer is a small and very accessible city. So visiting and touring it is very easy, and it won’t take too many days. In one day you can see it and explore it perfectly, but we believe that the ideal time is 3 days, to dedicate 2 to Jaisalmer and 1 to the desert excursion.

When to visit Jaisalmer. We recommend avoiding the hottest months and the rainy months. The hottest months have the advantage of being low season and therefore being able to enjoy the city without tourists and with much cheaper prices. However, the heat is so stifling that we think it is best if you can come in another time.

What type of clothing should we wear?

Clothes. As we recommend in all the guides in India, women have to remember what country and what culture you are visiting, and therefore do not forget that it is better not to teach knees and shoulders. If you are going in a hot season, it is best to wear fresh and thin clothes that breathe and avoid dark colors. Always carry a foulard or scarf with you.

Clothes for an excursion to the Thar desert. If you do the desert activity keep in mind that you must go in pants and comfortable clothes and that it perspires. A scarf to cover your head and face is not a bad idea, because if it is windy, that scarf will protect you from the sand. Also think that at night temperatures drop, so wear pants and a long-sleeved shirt to avoid being cold.

With these final tips we end our journey through Jaisalmer, the golden city of Rajasthan. It was a very special place for us and one that we will always remember, especially for that wonderful experience of spending a night outdoors in the desert of India. Not everyone can tell an anecdote like this throughout their lives!

We hope you find this guide useful with the keys to this place (how to get there, what to see and do in Jaisalmer, how to get around, where to sleep …) and that you have wanted to include it in your route through India.

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