Jaisalmer and a Camel Safari
Sunday 18th of March
Dawn arrived in Jaisalmer. I didn’t leave the hotel in the morning really except to have breakfast and lunch at the vegetarian restaurant next door. I had gone to bed at around 230am and not slept great. It allowed me to prepare for the camel safari I was taking later in the day. I didn’t really need to take much other than my camera, water and couple of other things. So just my day pack, giving me a chance to get a whole bunch of clothes washed and travel light.
I found myself the oldest person on the camel safari. I was biked to the Swan Hostel from my hotel, where the safari was leaving from. I was one of twelve going along, people from Canada, Germany, France, Sweden and the States. We hopped in two jeeps and headed out of Jaisalmer into the desert.
It was semi-arid really, not quite the sandy desert I was expecting. There were stones and bushes here and there. We stopped around 60km out of Jaisalmer where twelve camels and their owners waited for us. I found myself on a pretty big camel, and probably the scariest moment was when the camel stood up with me on top.
We made our way through the desert in a camel-convoy. After a few minutes I felt much more comfortable on the camel’s back. We went on for over an hour, maybe 90 minutes, until we got to some dunes. We were about 30km from the Pakistani border, or so I was told.
There we chilled, walked around a bit and explored the dunes, and spent time singing songs. Dinner was awesome, delicious vegetarian fare. A man turned up out of the blue to sell soft drinks and beer, he had some sort of cold sack that kept them chilled. Blankets were rolled out on the dunes and we slept under the stars. It was actually pretty amazing.
Monday 19th March
Waking up in the desert is an amazing experience. I actually slept pretty well. It got a little chilly overnight but we had enough blankets. After a simple breakfast we headed back over the dunes, on camel back for another 45 minutes to an hour to get back to the jeeps. We headed back to Jaisalmer, getting there by 1045am. It was a short but sweet experience, and really worthwhile, I’m so glad I did it even if I wasn’t that interested in camels in the first place.
In Jaisalmer I had most of the day to explore. I found the city is really cool. It has so many alleyways to get lost in and many houses have this intricate lattice work which is part of the city’s feel. There’s also a wonderful fortified part of the city.
Inside is the Fort Palace Museum, where an audio guide is included in the entrance price. You get to explore numerous rooms and courtyards throughout the palace, which has been restored, and dates back over a thousand years.
Also in the old city is a Jain Temple, but it is only open at certain times, and didn’t get to go inside which is a pity because the ol’ guide book describes it as having lots of passageways and tunnels.
I did get to visit an historic old house, a ‘haveli’, called the Patwa-Ki Haveli. Four floors, collections from the last century or more, this kind of house, really a mansion, was I guess where the rich used to live.
Tuesday 20th March
And it was an early morning as I boarded the 645am train to Jodphur, known as the ‘Blue City’. The was a lot of activity in my carriage, talking, business deals (well that’s what I’m guessing) and the sun was just coming up as we left Jaisalmer Station at around 710am.