Top 5 Places To Visit Jaisalmer is about as far west as most people get in India. It’s incredibly dry, hot and isolated. So what is it that brings people to a city a stone’s throw away from the Pakistan border? The ‘ Golden City’ as it has come to be known as a majestic place. A huge fort sits atop a hill in the center of the city, overlooking the sun-kissed houses. Sand dunes not far from the city are a tourist hotspot for camel safaris and jeep tours. There are so many great little spots I discovered and awesome things to do in Jaisalmer, the ‘Golden City’ of India.
Desert Culture Centre and Museum
The Desert Culture Centre and Museum is a showcase of the rich culture of Rajasthan. It has on display, varied collections of traditional instruments, ancient and medieval coins, beautiful traditional textiles and invaluable fossils mined from the sands of Jaisalmer. Many kinds of utensils and other artefacts are also displayed. The museum is well maintained. A showstopper here is the ‘Karal’, which was a box used for opium mixing.
Kothari’s Patwa Haveli Museum
Patwa Haveli is the most magnificent of all havelis in Jaisalmer. With stone carvings as intricate as honey-coloured lace, Patwa Haveli stands tall in the midst of a narrow little lane and is wonderfully evocative of 19th century Rajasthan. It was built between 1800 and 1860 by the Patwa brothers who were brocade and jewellery merchants. It currently houses exclusive furnishings and accessories of the erstwhile Patwas and offers visitors a glimpse in to their lifestyle.
Salim Singh ki Haveli
Salim Singh ki haveli has been built on the remains of an older haveli built in the late 17th century. The haveli was commissioned by Salim Singh, the then Prime Minister of the kingdom where Jaisalmer was the capital. The haveli, situated beside the hills near the Jaisalmer Fort, has a unique architecture. The roof has been constructed in the form of a peacock and sandstone elephants guard the front gateway. The haveli consists of 38 balconies, each constructed in a distinct way. The front of the haveli resembles the stern of a ship and is therefore sometimes referred to as Jahazmahal (literally meaning ‘ship palace’).
A camel safari offers tourists the chance to experience the rich, Bedouin culture of Rajasthan. The camel safari takes visitors through the smallest of villages of Rajasthan and exposes them to the rustic lifestyle of the desert people. Camel safari routes wind through the desert sand dunes and take you through ancient havelis, temples and abandoned palaces. Safari-goers are required to gear up for the harsh weather of the desert. On the way, they can enjoy the traditional cuisine of Rajasthan, listen to folk music and enjoy folk dances.
The Desert Festival is held at the end of January or February every year in Jaisalmer and carries on for a good three days. The festival showcases herds of bejewelled camels, colourfully dressed tribal women, camel races and polo matches, ‘saafa’ (turban) tying competitions, withered men with dramatic moustaches, acrobats, puppeteers, jugglers and much more. The emphasis however, is on folk dance and music. The festival closes with an enchanting sound and light show. Though this is just a three day affair, it is worthwhile to plan a trip to Rajasthan during the Desert Festival.