Top 10 things to see (and do) in Jaisalmer
Jaisalmer is known for its stunning fort and the beautiful yellow sandstone buildings. However, the city has much more than that to offer. In our last blog post we covered the Camel Safari, here we will showcase the other 10 top things to see (and also do) in Jaisalmer.
This XXII century edifice cannot be missed. Actually, for many tourists it is the main reason to visit Jaisalmer and it tops almost every list of top 10 things to see in Jaisalmer. The fort, which served as a silk road outpost, was built with yellow sandstone, in the ancient Rajput architectural style, in 1156. You will find shops, restaurants, hostels and temples within its narrow streets, and you can overlook the city from all around the fort. Also, the streets are maze and it's easy to get lost, so if you're with a group it's better to stay close together. The fort opens at 9 am and closes at 5 pm and entrance is free.
Kuldhara Ghost Town
Whether you believe in ghosts or not, the abandoned village of Kuldhara located in the middle of the desert 30 minutes drive from Jaisalmer, might give you the creeps. Whether it's haunted by the souls of dead villagers or people who left the town in time of drought, you can investigate yourself. The weather can get pretty hot at noon so pack as much water as you can and don't forget to take sunscreen. The entrance is 10 rupees per person and 50 rupees per motorcycle and opening times are 8am to 6pm
Bada Bagh (which means big garden in english) is a garden complex located 6 kilometres north of Jaisalmer. It was founded in XVI century by Jai Singh II, as a water reservoir that irrigated the surrounding desert. It contain three interesting sights - a tank, a dam, that were built first, and the garden that was added in the XVII century. The dam, called Wait Bandh is 1200 ft long and 350 ft wide and is made from solid stone blocks. The place is also full of cenotaphs (honourary tombs) called chhatris. Opening hours of the complex are 9 am to 6 pm and entrance fees for foreign tourists start at 50 INR per person (camera is paid separately).
Havelis are residences of ministers and landlords. No wonder they're beautifully decorated both outside and in. The first Haveli erected in Jaisalmer is Patwon Ji Ki Haveli, which you should definitely visit. It is a good starting point, as just next-door, there is complex of other Havelis, located on the same road, giving it a bit of a European high street look. The prices range from 40 rupees to 200 rupees and an extra 20 rupees per camera. However, you don't need to enter the Havelis to admire their beautiful facades and ornaments from the outside.
Built on top of the Badal Palace, the Tanzia Tower is a very good example of the fusion between Rajputana and Islamic architecture. Each floor has individual elements to see. Highly recommended for history lovers. No entrance fees for the tower and the Badal palace. Working hours are from 8am to 6pm.
Located in the Jaisalmer fort, these temples were a place of worship for Jains, a highly respected religious minority in Rajasthan. They're decorated in the Dilwara style while the outside is built out of yellow sandstone to blend in with the fort. The place closes at 12 am so try to be there early morning.
Last (but not least!) on our list of things to see in Jaisalmer is the Gadisar lake south of the city. This artificial lake is surrounded by artistically carved Chattris, Temples and Shrines. it's charm lies in the fact that it was the only source of water for Jaisalmer back then. The lake looks much better after the Monsoon, when there is more water. Entrance is free.
Things to do in Jaisalmer
Renting a scooter
For 400 rupees (and an additional 200 for gasoline), you can rent a scooter for an entire day and forget about the transportation problems. Nevermind the paperwork that comes along, The bike ride itself is a fun experience, especially in the narrow streets of the city, but also on the motorways leading to the main tourist attractions located outside of Jaisalmer. The best thing about riding a motorbike here, is that It's a lot safer than in the big cities such as Jaipur or Jodhpur, because of the lower traffic levels, Also, the wind when you ride finally provides that much needed chill. Due to the sparsely located tourist attractions it is by far the fastest, least expensive and most convenient way of sightseeing. It's recommended to take a helmet for security measures.
Bhang Lassi in the desert
I think by now you should've heard about Bhang, if not, it's a legal drug in India, made from cannabis, used in rituals and religious occasions. You can get it easily in government authorised shops. And people who took it in the desert report that it was one of the best experiences of their lives. Would you dare to try? However, we would not recommend consuming it before or during the camel safari. Reported side effect are, among others, the feeling that the camel ride last for days, it is much hotter than in reality, you are about to cross the Pakistani border or be kidnapped from your camp in the middle of the night.
Taking a walk
If you're tired of all the monuments and temples, the city streets are interesting to see; narrow and busy, colorful shops and colorful clothes, the smell of cooked food and fresh vegetables, children playing, cows roaming the streets... you'll definitely spend hours wandering around.
If you still are looking for ideas for you stay in Jaisalmer, please look into our blog post about the Camel Safari. Also, don't forget to visit our Facebook fanpage for even more photos and activities from Jaisalmer!