The Golden City

Trip Start Sep 19, 2002
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125
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Trip End Sep 22, 2003


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Wednesday, August 27, 2003

We asked the waiter for the desert and we ended up here in Jaisalmer!

25th - This was only our second bus journey in India and we were not looking forward to it but it was actually okay. Both our seats reclined and it wasn't too bad a road so the 5 hours went fairly quickly. We passed various landscapes along the way including some sandy types and scrubby types and knew we were getting nearer to the dessert. Along the whole distance we saw hundreds, if not thousands of pilgrims walking to Jaisalmer to worship a particular god at a particular temple. This pilgrimage happens every year with people walking from all over Rajasthan with their belongings and children. They do a bit of worship when they get there and then walk back. Some got a bit tired and got on our bus and there were even people on the roof. We were mildly hassled by touts on the bus as the hotels want your camel safari business so they are desperate for you to stay with them. When we got off the bus there was such a commotion that we had to scream to be heard telling them to buzz off. They all seemed to have the same leaflet with different named hotels and each one would say "that one is bad, come to mine it is more romantic". We settled on the Golden City and told them up front we didn't want any camel safaris and they were okay with this but some places actually throw you out if you book one with someone else. It was here that we had our cheapest room of the entire years trip - 100r which is less than 1.30 (pounds)!!

Since arriving in Rajasthan it has been really hot and humid but the clouds started to gather as we made our way up to the famous fort and we suspected that our sunset was about to be spoiled. The fort is where 25% of the city's inhabitants live so it is a living museum (the only one in the world) and looks like something out of the Arabian Nights with it's narrow alleys and tall buildings. We chose an Italian restaurant which came highly recommended and the views were stunning. We were virtually on top of one of the many ramparts and we could see the edge of the city and beyond was the Great Shar Dessert where we were thinking about a visit. We could see the black storm coming towards us and we headed for cover just in time. The food was quite nice but the setting was amazing and it was fun trying to find our way back through the maze of alleyways in the dark without treading in something or getting lost!

26th - Had a bit of a wander around a couple of private museums but it looked like no-one had been there since the British left. We went down to the lake and looked at all the golden buildings and cenotaphs with their intricate carvings and sat on the steps taking in the atmosphere. Jaisalmer is soooo quiet compared to everywhere else, even Jodhpur, so you can really absorb the scenery and history of the area. There was a group of men in a minaret by the lake singing and clapping and we felt the calmest and most relaxed we have felt since arriving in India. Rajasthan has certainly been more enjoyable and traditional than elsewhere and we are finding ourselves having a really good time.

Our faith in travelling was partially restored but then in the afternoon we ended up doing a short camel safari.

The next log tells the story of our dessert adventures ..............
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