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Rajasthan: Jaisalmer, deserts and camel safaris

jaisalmer

 

When we arrived, Kul took us to our hotel to drop our bags. The place was clean, but bland and soul-less. A standard non-descript budget hotel.

There were three twin -sized beds spaced out in the room. Lame.

I gave up my bed to Kul and decided to stay with Regina, instead. She wasn’t officially on the tour and only paying for the driver, so she had our original reservation booking at Shahi Palace. Sure, I’d spend a night paying for an extra hotel, while Margaret and Dan stayed at the hotel the tour had booked; but I really liked what I’d seen in Shahi’s website pictures. I had a good feeling about them from my correspondences too. I had originally booked them for this stint of our trip!

What to do in Jaisalmer city?

  1. Explore inside Jaisalmer fort

A lot of people talk about a visit to the walled city to see its ornately carved sandstone architecture. Much of the architecture are of like havelis or old palaces.  We spent an hour walking around and exploring the architecture.

jaisalmer fort
Jaisalmer Fort from teh outside

ganesh
Ganesh, the elephant god

 

For a nice change (and away from tourist commission shops), Kul takes us to get lunch at a very family owned paratha shop. It’s a small hole-in-the-wall place with outdoor bench seats. I watch as a son cleans the plates using sand from the ground. Apparently, sand is what desert folk use to clean their metal dishes. He says only locals eat at this place.  He eats there when he comes to Jaisalmer. The food is good, cheap and clean. He was right.

paratha boy

Son at a local restaurant shop rolls out parathas

Jaisalmer is more exciting as a desert than a city

There’s something both, beautiful and lonely about a desert. The life in Jaisalmer city just feels warm, filled with people. Further outside the city’s perimeter’s you’ll find remote desert villages, with simple house huts, skipping children  and lots of camels.

For about $12 USD, we took a sunset camel tour into the Thar Desert from The Camel Man, a well known camel safari tour who’s notorious in this area.  Kul, our driver was not happy with us for purchasing our safari tour through an outside company, like Shahi Palace Hotel. He was aiming hard for us to take an overnight tour through another company who he or our tour company had commission connections with. Obviously, the price would be much higher than we were quoted by Shahi Palace Hotel.

Thar Desert

Thar Desert Village of the Camel Man
desert children Desert Children

Taking a Camel Safari with the Camel Man in the Thar Desert

camel safari

resting camels

desert beetle

Desert Beetle pushes a nugget of dung with its hind legs (it seems like everyone here labors to make life work)

 Below a slideshow from my camel safari with the Camel Man


After the safari, R and I went back to our hotel, had candlelit dinner at the rooftop restaurant and hung out for hours under the stars with the Mali brothers & family that owns the hotel.  The Shahi rooftop has a wicked view of the Jaisalmer fort! The walls are lit up at night making the fort look golden. Alcohal was generously offered “on the house”, lending the night an even more happy and diffused glow.

jaisalmer fort

jaisalmer fort

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