Thursday, October 20, 2011

Rajasthan rolling - 6 (Jaisalmer)

Got on to the highway for Jaisalmer at 0830. The initial few kilometers of road were bad on NH114 but later on NH56 it was good.


Reached Jaisalmer at 1300 and were guided through to the Desert Boys Guesthouse in the Jaisalmer fort. This is a very traditionally decorated Hotel. 


We chose a room that suited us and after a briefing from the informed owner about the history of Jaisalmer and what to see and do we had our lunch and rested for awhile.
Jaisalmer is named after its founder Raja Jaisal a Rajput king. "Jaisalmer" means "the Hill Fort of Jaisal". Jaisalmer is sometimes called the "Golden City of India" because the yellow sand gives a yellowish-golden tinge to the city and its surrounding area.


In the afternoon we visited the Jaisalmer Palace (adjacent to our guesthouse) which is rather shabby. Not many artefacts in the museum. Only good for panoramic views of the city. After a brief tour we went to the Nathmal ki Haveli and the Patwa Haveli, which were situated just outside the fort. The Nathmal Haveli could be viewed from outside and the lobby while the Patwa haveli was a muesum. It was an amazing experience.


Patwon-ki-Haveli: Guman Chand Patwa (and later by his five sons), a wealthy merchant belonging to powerful Oswal Jain community and banker who had over three hundred trading centres from Afghanistan to China. This ornate five-storey complex took fifty years to complete. This is the largest, the most magnificent, and the most elaborate of Jaisalmer havelis.


Nathmalji-ki-Haveli: Built by a Prime Minister of princely state of Jaisalmer. Its facade is a riot of ornamentation: flowers, birds, elephants, soldiers, a bicycle and even a steam engine.


We got to view a wonderful sunset from the guesthouse sit out.
On our way through the fort we noticed plenty of Italian restaurants! Hence we decided to dine at one that was very close to our guesthouse. There was a huge board announcing its existence but the entrance was through a narrow passageway and had to climb up some steep stairs to reach the roof top. The tourists have not started pouring in as yet and here again we were the only customers! We ordered for Canneloni and Lasagna, both vegetarian as there was only an egg dish which could qualify as non vegitarian. Vegetarians will not have a problem in Rajasthan, as most of the Rajasthan cusine is vegetarian. The food took an hour to make it to the table but was value for money.
The agenda for the next day was a visit to the Jain temple in the morning followed by the Jeep safari to Sam sand dunes for a total Rajasthani experience.
Like all Jain temples this too was beautifully carved. 


This Shitalnathji jain temple was built in 1486.




After the temple visit we moved on to street shopping of puppets and miniature art. 



Before you go shopping it is advisable to ask the Hotel reception what the reasonable price would be for things that you want to buy. Bargaining is a must.
Had lunch at ‘8july’ cafe in the marketplace. It is a multicuisine restaurant and like all restaurants in Rajasthan caters to the European tastes. 


However the personal attention of the owner ensures that you will get the food with an Indian touch if you so desire.
The jeep safari to the sand dunes is a fun trip. 


On the way we stopped at Bada Bag six kms north of Jaisalmer. There are Royal cenotaphs with carved 



images of late Maharawals and their families where each chhatri preserves an inscribed tablet recording the death of Maharawals on which the memorials are raised. The chhatris have been built in a set pattern but in different sizes.  


The next stop was Luderwa16 kms. northwest of Jaisalme. Luderwa is the old capital of Jaisalmer. Now a 


silent city, the only witness to its former splendour are the Jain temple, toran (ornate arch) and artificial divine 


tree (Kalptaru).


Finally we were taken by jeep to a point in the Thar desert where there were camels waiting to take us to 


the sunset point. Once the sun bid goodbye, we were taken to a camp where there was a cultural 


programme of Rajasthan music and dance followed by a buffet of Rajasthani food.


Had a great time and headed back to the hotel.
Next stop would be Bikaner!


33 comments:

  1. A lovely post. Rajasthan is such a colourful place. The architecture is so beautiful. One would never believe looking at the houses that you would fine apple pie n icecream here. LOL. Shows what they have done to attract the tourists while keeping the traditions alive.

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  2. Haven't been able to set foot in this wonderful city as yet :( But I am glad to be having a look at it through your eyes! So beautiful and gorgeous the town looks, even better than what I imagine it to be :) Waiting for Bikaner now...

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  3. भारत की शान देखनी हो तो राजस्थान से अच्छा कोई नहीं है।

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  4. Your post reminds me of my ALL INDIA TOUR during my under graduation days. I too visited all these places and even we guys experienced the Desert 'sand storm' during the camel ride. I think, we also visited the WAGHA Indo-Pak border in this trip. I guess, I'm right. Any way, many thanks to you for reminding me of my UG days. Nice post and awesome photograhs; truly your trip to Jaisalmer is a worthy one.For ur future trips, I Wish u a safe Journey.
    From: sriramnivas.wordpress.com

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  5. You have a wonderful blog. I need to revisit. Jaisalmer is a place which is on top of my wish list but this year I need to go South. Your photographs are superb.

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  6. cool photos ! the sunset photo is awesome ...

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  7. What fabulous places you show us here! I'm impressed!

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  8. The carvings are really great in Jain temples. Loved the toran pic and the sunset ones the most.

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  9. Absolutely stunning architecture .

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  10. This is awesome...am also planning a trip in Dec and this post looks damn useful!

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  11. I have planned a Rajasthan holiday in November 2012 and your blog posts are going to be of great help. Thank you !

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  12. Wow so colourful!

    Ms Sharma
    http://summersofindia.blogspot.com/

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  13. Hmm.. Italian food in Jaisalmer..:)

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  14. simply superb travelogue of the pilgrims progress ..unique and best,..

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  15. I loved the sky and the room :)

    Bargain is certainly must when one travels...I have been looted because of my poor bargaining skills couple of times in jaipur :) *not proud*

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  16. Lovely post and now I do feel like visiting this place. Keep doing the great work
    Prasad
    www.prasadgovenkar.com

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  17. Lovely post and now I do feel like visiting this place. Keep doing the great work
    Prasad
    www.prasadgovenkar.com

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  18. You have a nice travel blog. Keep travelling.

    www.rajniranjandas.blogspot.com

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  19. You lucky bunny! The pictures are amazing. Beautiful place..

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  21. WOWWWWWWWWWW...
    Lovely pics!!!
    I am all the more excited about my rajasthan trip post Diwali. Guess I'll bug you to help me with the itinerary.

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  22. राजस्थान जितनी बार घूमिये और जितना घूमे उतना कम है, आपके कैमरे की नजर से राजस्थान घूम रहे हैं।

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  23. A trip to Rajasthan is a long unfulfilled dream of mine. I envy you.

    Good snaps. First one my favourite.

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  24. The pictures were absolutely wonderful! You brought in so many words and images about this lovely state in front of my eyes.. now I guess I must see it! I have always fancied Jaisalmer rather than Jaipur

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  25. your posts are transforming the way people traveled Rajasthan.... thanks for unraveling the lesser known destinations and facet of Rajasthan...

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  26. My favourite city in Rajasthan. Also went to the desert and spent the night at Khuhri. Great post.

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  27. Absolutely stunning set of pics and a very beautiful part of RJ! I love the camel riding shot in the desert - moody creatures but useful!

    I agree, in any tourist trap, bargaining is a must!

    Oh, and so much talk about food, but where are the shots of breakfast, lunch or dinner?!?!

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  28. Wow - how very very gorgeous! Such a magical experience for you.

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  29. Amazing monuments, stunning pictures!!

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  30. Lovely post...throughly enjoyed

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  31. Great travelogue and lovely photos. Rajasthan is such a magical place!

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