Jaisalmer is situated in the middle of the Thar desert in the state of Rajasthan near the Indo- Pakistani border, about 600 km from the capital Jaipur. It takes about 11 hours from Jaipur to reach it.
After arriving at the Railway Station you will be approached by many touts. They will try to sell you hotels, safaris, everything…the best thing is to book your accomodation ahead and avoid them. You’ll have to bargain for almost everything. Book your camel safari only through the agencies recommended by travel guides. Altough Jaisalmer looks like the city from the tales of 1001 Nights, instead of Aladdin and the magic lamp, keep in mind the story of Alibaba and forthy thieves.
The history of Jaisalmer begins in 12th century and the place was named after its founder, Maharaj Jaisal Singh, a Rajput king. The fort he built guarded Jaisalmer for many years until the Muslims came when many Rajputs and Rajput princess performed jauhar (tradition of voluntary death by burning). It was done by men to end their life with respect and Rajput queens and female royals did it in order to avoid caputre and falling in hands of their enemies. Jaisalmer fort, which had witnessed all this battles, still lies on the Meru Hill in the middle of the Jaisalmer town.
All the houses in Jaisalmer are built from the yellow sandstone which gives the city a medieval atmosphere of a fairy tale.
Jaisalmer is famous for its Camel safari through the desert and sand dunes and visit to Rajasthan is incomplete without visiting the sand dunes. There are many travel agencies in Jaisalmer which can help you organize your camel safari, one recommended by the Lonely Planet is Ganesh Travels. We spent two days in the desert with our guides, surrounded by camels and sand, sunrise and sunset, sky and stars. Waking up in the middle of the desert was one of the most magical moments of my life.
A picture is worth a thousand words so let them tell you a story of the Desert safari in the Land of sand and gold…