We landed in
Our bus ride from
The journey from Ahmedabad to
Jodhpur - the blue city. All houses here are painted blue. The story goes that the paint containing a pesticide was used in the good old days to ward off insects, and this was blue in colour. So the blue city!..... Today however, it is simply a trend to get your house painted blue....if you live in Jodhpur.We did pick up Jodhpuris back there :)
... the Umaid palace, which has 365 rooms of which only 16 are still with the royal family as residence. The rest have been converted into a Hotel (which is still run by the royal family) and a few other rooms now function as a museum. This is one of the most recently built Asian palaces. Earlier the Raja used to reside at the Meherangarh fort...but later he got the Umaid palace built and moved there - interestingly as the folk tales go....he got the Umaid Palace built to provide livelihood to the inhabitants of Jodhpur........some say that the artisans who built it did so for a meagre meal a day...that's how bad the situation was.
The Meherangarh fort (the spot used in many ads ...where women are shown peeping out of he 'Jhankis' (little windows all around the central chowk.) We had a lovely time at the fort...a rooftop candlelight dinner (the food was tasty, simple....but a little pricey)
The local bazaar vends typically rajasthani stuff - handloom, leather joothis and bags and artefacts. We opted for joothis and leather ware.
That night we set out to Jaisalmer . A 6 hour train journey which gets one off at the Jaisalmer station by 5.00 am. There was a chill in the air while we made a quick beeline to the Jaisalmer fort where we were put up. One of the only forts (~850 yrs old) that we have seen which has an entire city based within it. With growing demand for space, Jaisalmer city has extended outside the fort. To get a real feel of what Jaisalmer is all about we decided to stay within the fort, in a haweli which is partly occupied by the original inhabitants and partly lent out to tourists.
Jaisal castle....the haveli where we stayed...is really intricately carved out of sand stone and a lovely place to simply sit, eat...relax. The structures in Jaisalmer are mostly sandstone structures (very little concrete). The old hawelis use the interlocking system to hold the sandstones together. All hawelis exhibit ' fine jaali' work which are simply beautiful. The sandstone remains cool all day and all night.So even when it is really hot in summers the homes remain cool due to the sandstone.
We shopped for camel leather bags and some neat bedcovers at great bargains. Living inside the fort has a charm of its own. Infact some resident of the fort actually told us that they felt good having fellow Indians inside the fort, since it is largely phirangs who are found here. Primarily because when Indians are out on a holiday they believe in luxurious living....not one among the local folk which has an added local flavour.
We took a guided tour of the Patwaon ki haweli, Salem Singh ki haweli and Nathmal haweli. Patwaon is beautiful - no wonder that Indira Gandhi got the govt, way back in the 70s', to purchase one wing of it for a few lakhs.(they say around 5lakh of Rupees!!!).This is indeed not much given that it would cost a couple of crores to set up something similar today. Right now there is restoration work being carried out there.
Below are pictures from the Camel safari that we embarked. The journey on camel back began late afternoon and we reached the Sam-sandunes in time to watch the lovely sunset.
This was followed with a ride to the Swiss tent, where we stayed overnight and got up early enough to watch the sunrise in the Sam-sandunes.
Some pics below :
These pics were shot by Pari in a matter of few minutes at the same spot, while the sun set beyond the Jaisal fort.....among the Sam sand-dunes.
After witnessing picturesque Jaisalmer, what remained was some tummy delights. Our all-time favourite is the tall-glass of makhniya lassi available for Rs.15/- at the most exotic of places.
It is sweetened curd, whipped well and garnished with saffron, pistachio and almonds. For the less health conscious, it comes with a layer of cream on top! :))