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24 Hours in Jaisalmer

Rajasthan is all about the rich history, culture and enticing people. A lot has been written and spoken about the land, its mighty wars and the royalty. It is not until you experience Rajasthan that you understand it at all. Jaisalmer is a must visit destination when in Rajasthan. Known for magnificent havelis, golden desert and massive fort, it remains on the bucket list of many.

Jaisalmer is a 265 km drive from Jodhpur. It can be accessed by rail, road and air. The city is christened as golden city for the yellow sandstone used to build it. If you are in the city for only a day, here is everything you cannot miss out on.

Sunset view from my hotel

Read more: Live like royalty at Byrs Fort

Jaisalmer Fort

A must visit for every tourist, the fort was founded by Bhati Rajput ruler, Rawal Jaisal in 1156 AD. It has remained untouched by any outside influence and rulers because of the climate and remote location. The fort was built for strategic purposes but the city remained isolated because of lack of transport and water facilities. When you set to explore the fort, you will realize that the fort is the city and the city is the fort. The fort is the only fort in State which has a township in itself. It is slightly different than other forts in Rajasthan. Jaisalmer fort is buzzing with activity from the shops, houses, Jain temples and monuments that stand side by side. Almost one-fourth of Jaisalmer’s population resides in the fort. It is more than 800 years old and is a UNESCO world heritage site. Keep about 2 hours for the fort and you can hire a guide if you want to, but it is not necessary. In the fort, you will see several rooms, one museum and one shop. There is a little market where you will notice people selling dupattas, stones, turbans and jewelry among other things.

Jaisalmer city from the top of the fort

Entry fee: Rs. 50 for Indians and Rs. 250 for foreigners.

Charges: Rs. 50 for camera and Rs. 100 for video camera

Visting Hours: 9 AM to 6 PM

Patwa ki Haveli

Located in the old city and market, the Patwa ki haveli belonged to a rich merchant family of Jaisalmer at one point of time. You can walk to the haveli from the fort. It is only at a distance of 500 m. Built in the 18th century, the haveli attracts tourists for the gorgeous architecture. It is not a single haveli but a cluster of five havelis. You will notice beautiful paintings, intricate carvings on wooden doors, fine mirror work, arches and gateways inside the haveli. It will take about an hour here.

Entry fee: Rs. 20 for Indians and Rs. 100 for foreigners

Charges: Rs. 50 for camera and Rs. 100 for video camera

Visiting hours: 6AM to 5PM

Gadsisar lake

The lake is a popular hangout for locals. The man-made lake is a prime source of water in the city and is a perfect place for nature lovers. It is surrounded by greenery and various temples. You can enjoy boating in the lake. However, if you are running short of time, you can skip the lake from your itinerary.

Camel Safari and dune bashing

Sunset at Sam village

After covering the major attractions in the morning, you can head to Sam sand dunes for dune bashing. If you have a couple of days, you can stay in the luxurious tents and experience life in the desert. As you enter the Sam village, you will notice a peaceful silence surrounding the region and a never ending pile of desert. An ideal time for safari is between 4 PM to 7 PM. It is an hour when everything turns golden and you will get to see the most stunning sunset. Camel owners will charge around Rs. 600 per camel for an hour. You will be able to go deep in the desert and the camel owner will stop at a point from where you can capture moments of the sunset. Alternatively, you can take a jeep into the desert and enjoy dune bashing. A jeep takes 4 passengers at a time. Enjoy cultural programs at the tent site. If you are spending the night at the village, do not sleep because stargazing is an amazing experience here.

Excursions: If time permits, consider visiting Tanot Mata Temple and the Longewala Battlefield. They are prominent sites, located about 120 km from Sam Sand Dunes and very significant for Indian Army.

If you have not walked in the narrow lanes of the colorful city of Jaisalmer, you are missing out on a great experience.