Jaisalmer, Rajasthan

Inside Fort Jaisalmer, view from a patio
Station in Jaipur
Jaisalmer in Rajasthan, India  is in the Thar desert, near the border with Pakistan. For security reasons, the airport isn't open. The remote location of Jaisalmer attracts few tourists. It exudes a tranquil charm. We left hectic Jaipur for Jaisalmer by train shortly after midnight and awoke next morning streaming through the Thar desert. We caught glimpses of peacocks along the tracks and viewed wind generators in the distance. 

We arrived in Jaisalmer, the Golden City, around noon. Fort Jaisalmer, built in 1156, rises on a sandstone ridge high above the desert. A third of the people of Jaisalmer still live in the old town inside the Fort. We stayed outside at the Hotel Fifu.
Jaisalmer Fort from Hotel Fifu

Hotel Fifu is in a rural neighbourhood within easy walking distance of the Fort. Above the guest rooms of this small hotel are several levels of comfortable dining and relaxation terraces with stunning views of the Fort and the surrounding desert. 

In the Jain Temple

Jain carvings

Jauhar handprints

Bobbi's Craft Shop 
Mr. Fifu hooked us up with local guide, Vivender, for a full day walk through the historic sites of Jaisalmer. We toured the Fort, old havelis, exquisite Jain temples, attended a Hindu celebration, and climbed up a  turret to a patio for tea and views of the Fort and the desert beyond. Interesting day.

Jaisalmer lies in the heart of the Thar desert. This is the land of snake charmers and camel caravans, where women wear bright neon scarves and dance with fire pots on their heads. The music is lively, crafts are colourful, the architecture medieval, and the people are friendly and unique with a rich culture.  

Village near the camp

Mr. Fifu organized a safari by jeep through the desert, where we slept in canvas tents, with camels nearby, ready for trekking. We watched the sun set over sand dunes, an entrancing, peaceful experience. After dark, there was energetic and beautiful Rajasthani folk music and dancing around the campfire by local Kalbelia folk artists - a highlight! 

Talented dancer at our campsite.

We visited Jaisalmer in early March, midway through our 3 week trip through Rajasthan. There is an annual performing arts festival in Jaisalmer in early February, which would be spectacular to see. Jaisalmer is fascinating in so many ways, and Hotel Fifu, too, was a special place. Summer is brutally hot in Jaisalmer, so check out the climate before you book - but go.

Our tents in the Thar Desert

After sundown - local talent

Thar desert near Jaisalmer, Rajasthan
Rajasthan  music and dance around the campfire.