Jaisalmer Experience: We were overwhelmed by our experience of the desert sand dunes near Khuri village, only an hour drive far from Jaisalmer in Rajasthan. The golden sand dunes of the Thar gave us the chance to feel the cold desert sand at night and to know about the cultural life of Rajasthan. Similar to the Ocean waves, the golden sand is sculpted by the winds into smooth curves and ripples. We were warmly welcomed at the Chandra resorts in the Khuri village by 4.30 in the evening. After, tea and snacks we set off to the desert and the Golden sand dunes on Camel back. The Camel sat low on the ground for us to climb on to its saddle. Contrary to my belief, there was enough space for two adults and a child or visa- versa.
The ride was great, We had never before ridden a Camel and felt good as it walked us up the steep sand hills and atop the Sand dunes. The camel made its way through steep climbs and ascends on the sand shaped by the desert wind. Once there, we played on the golden sand while our children rolled on it till dusk. They dug up pitches but none could make a castle though as the sand flowed like water as you picked it up. Several more camels moved in with tourists eager to get the taste of the Thar. Nature splashed crimson across the horizon as the Sun set beneath the Sand Dunes.
We played in the sand dunes till till dusk, revelling delightfully in our discovery of the Desert.
After playing with sand till dusk and watching the sun dissapear beneath the crimson desert sky, we gathered by the campfire to watch the performances by Rajasthani folk dancers and muscians. We rewarded the swaying artists with handsome tips as they sang and danced to entertain.
It was late in the night and time to retire to bed after dinner by the campfire. We stayed in comfortable tents that ushered us to a good night's sleep in the Desert. It was worthwhile to get up early in the morning to watch the tents changing colour and to catch the Sun rise in the Desert.
On the way from Jodhpur to Jaisalmer by road, we spotted migratory cranes at the Khichan village, gathered around an Oasis in the middle of the desert. Thousands of them swooped down from the sky to flock on the banks of the water body affirming their sole rights on the rarest of rare collection of water in the desert. During their migratory flight south, the Demoiselles fly, reaching altitudes of 16,000-26,000 feet. Along their arduous journey they cross the Himalayas to get to their wintering grounds in India. We spotted them on the 31st of December, by March and April, they begin their long spring journey back to their northern nesting grounds. In Khichan, the villagers feed the Cranes on their migration and the large congregations have become an annual spectacle.
On the route, we also saw the ship of the Desert, hordes of Camels strode past us at several ocassions.
We travelled from New Delhi to Jodhpur by train that was delayed 4 hours by intense fog during the night, two days we spent seeing the magnificient forts of Jodhpur. The Mehrangar Fort in Jodhpur took us centuries behind on the royal life of the Maharaja's of Rajasthan.
The Rajput ruler Rao Jodha laid the foundation of the Mehrangarh fort on 12th May 1459. The Elders in the villages say, a lone hermit called Cheeria Nathji lived on the hill called Bahuchera where the Fort was bult. The hermit left the place cursing the fort with water scaracity. King Jodha later made a residential palace for the hermit where he resided for many years.
Though King Rao Jodha made the Fort, a major portion of what we see today was done by King Jaswant Singh Rao(1638-78). The Majestic Fort has seven gates including the Jaya Pol (Victory Gate - to celebrate the victory over Rulers of Jaipur and Bikaner) built by Maharaja Man Singh in 1806. Imritipol is another gate made to defend the fort from the elephants of the enemies and the Fatehpol was built by King Ajit Singh to symbolise his victory over the Mughals. There are also the Loha pol (Iron Gate) - near the ground of Jauhar (commemorating an act of self immolition by the wives of war martyrs); the Surajpol leads to the musem and the Singar Chowk where the coronations took place.
Inside the fort is the Phool Mahal (Mahal of Flowers) where royal dances took place. The fine pantings on the walls of the Mahal with golden leaves and the golden ceiling are attractive. Mehrangarh fort houses some of the most beautiful palaces in Rajasthan. They include the Moti Mahal (Pearl Palace), Phool Mahal (Flower Palace), Sheesh Mahal (Mirror Palace), Sileh Khana, and Daulat Khana. The museum inside the fort has an exquisite collection of palanquins, howdahs, royal cradles, miniatures, musical instruments, costumes and furniture. On the ramparts of the fort we saw preserved canons (including the famous Kilkila ) that have been screened widely in several bollywood movies.
By the time we reached Jaisalmer on the 1st of this year it was dusk and the Jaisalmer Fort was glowing in illumination.
Rajasthan's Golden City of Jaisalmer has been named after its magnificent yellow sandstone artistic marvel structures in the midst of the arid desert. The splendid palaces and havelis with intricate carvings, latticed windows and 'jharokas' or balconies, showcase the artistry of the Rajasthani stonemasons at their best. The ancient Jaisalmer fort is still a living one, with a busy township buzzing within its walls. The 'Land of Sands' owes its name to Maharaja Jaisal of the Bhatti Rajput clan who built the city in 1156. Once an important trade centre, strategically located on the caravan trade route to Afghanistan and Central Asia, Jaisalmer saw a golden era from 12th century onwards. By the 16th century, Jaisalmer became rich and peaceful with the rulers and traders competing against each other to showcase their wealth resulting in the construction of Royal palaces and magnificient Havelis.
Food, sight-seeing and shopping: Food in Rajasthan have been generally good, you can easily walk into a reasonable restaurant and have good food. For shopping we chose open markets like the Kaapda Baazaar.
Activities & things to do: Camel Ride to Sand Dunes, Desert Jeep Safari, Staying in Swiss Tents at Khuri village, Watching Sunset and Sun rise. Sightseeing.
Travel tips, How to reach, travel warnings etc: Jaisalmer is well connected by Railway, Air and Road to New Delhi. Only that advanced reservation has to be done in peak seasons.
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