Traveling in the Rajasthan desert feels different as scorching heat and dryness is almost always around.
The desert might not seem like a good place for travel at all. But don’t get misguided by that idea. Because Jaisalmer, a desert city in the middle of the Thar desert, is a wonderful destination for any backpacker traveling in India.
Like with many things in India, you’ll need to filter out the good stuff and focus on those aspects. You just need to know where to go and where to look for the best things you can do to make the best of your stay in Rajasthan.
One of my previous posts gave five good examples of things you can do in the Thar desert city of Bikaner. This post is about Jaisalmer, the golden city of the Thar desert in Rajasthan. Here is my list with six recommended things to do when you are in Jaisalmer.
1. Sleep in the Rajasthan desert
Ever slept under a starry night in the desert? Have you ever seen the milky way?
Sleeping in the desert is a must-do. At night, there is almost no light pollution around and you can sleep in the open because there is as good as no rainfall. The desert might seem hot, but at night the temperature goes down, so it’s quite comfortable for sleeping.
Now you probably wonder how to arrange to sleep in the desert. Well, there are camel safari tours that start in Jaisalmer and they arrange an overnight in the desert. You’ll sit on a camel for approximately 1 hour before you make camp in the desert. Here your guide will cook you some dinner. There are beds in on the open and you will sleep next to your companion camels, it’s wonderful.
2. Embrace the romance at Gadsisar lake
A lake in the middle of the desert? Why not.
Gadsisar lake was built in 1400 A.D. as an artificial water reservoir for the old city of Jaisalmer. Nowadays, the man-built lake is still around and whilst it has lost its original purpose, it’s a popular attraction in Rajasthan for both locals as foreigners.
Visit the lake around sunset and experience an overwhelming romantic view. You won’t find a more zen place in Jaisalmer than around Gadsisar lake.
3. Explore the golden Maharaja’s fort and fly back in time
One of the main attractions in Jaisalmer is the sand colored old fort that rises high above the desert. From far away, you can easily spot the fort because it’s the highest point in the surroundings (just like the Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur). Both the interior and exterior of the golden fort are magnificent and very old. A true treasure of Rajasthan.
The fort also dates back to 1400 A.D. and the many rooms inside are a delight to explore. I guess it’s a place you have to see when you visit Jaisalmer. It was inhabited by the Maharaja’s family until the independence of India.
4. Look for ancient Rajasthan marble works in the Jain temples of Jaisalmer
Inside of the fortified walls of the old city of Jailsamer, there are three Jain temples that are worth a visit. The old marble carvings carry many details. It’s hard to focus on all carvings at once, so make sure you take your time exploring what’s inside of these temples. Dating back to the 12th and 15th century, these Rajasthan temples are a must-visit for any visitor in Jaisalmer.
5. Find a hotel pool to cool off in the afternoon
When the hot desert sun is just too much to handle in the late afternoon, you can always look for a pool to cool off.
The best pools are owned by some of the bigger hotels in Jaisalmer. Do a Google search for ‘Pool Jaisalmer’ and make your way up to the pools of one of these hotels. The hotel staff will ask you for a fee of a couple of hundred rupees, but after all, it will be a good investment to have a refreshing dive in the hot Rajasthan sun. Make sure you take some sunscreen with you as you travel to Rajasthan, India.
6. Visit a good rooftop restaurant in Jaisalmer
There are quite a few rooftop restaurants in Jaisalmer. Here are some reasons why you should visit one:
- You’ll have a good view over the city
- You’ll be away from the busy traffic
- A rooftop bar or restaurant in Rajasthan always is more Shanti than an ordinary restaurant
- The food is good and you’ll want to sit there for a while for resting.
- A cool refreshment in the shadow of one of these terraces will be a blessing in the Rajasthan hot desert sun.