I recently took a trip with my college, Indraprastha College for Women, to Jodhpur and Jaisalmer, two popular tourist destinations in Rajasthan. The trip started with the blue city of Jodhpur and a visit to The Umaid Bhawan Palace. It is one of the world’s largest private residences. The Palace is divided into three functional parts – a luxury Taj Palace Hotel, the residence of the erstwhile royal family and a Museum focusing on the 20th century history of the Jodhpur Royal Family. A section of the palace showcases vintage cars owned by the royal family. The palace is picture perfect and the view stunningly beautiful. One can see the whole city from the palace since it is located at the highest point of the city.
The same evening we visited the Mehrangarh fort. It is one of the largest forts in India, situated 400 feet above the city and is enclosed by ramparts. Inside its boundaries there are several palaces known for their intricate carvings and expansive courtyards. A winding road leads to and from the city below. The imprints of cannonball hits by attacking armies of Jaipur can still be seen on the second gate. The fort is massive and every part of it has a story to tell. The carvings are incredibly intricate. The view from this fort gives a glimpse of the blue rooftops of the old city and explains why Jodhpur is called the blue city. They also have a tiny little café providing you with tasty nick nacks. The Mehrangarh Fort is one place not to miss if visiting Jodhpur. It’s a treat to all history lovers and one of the most interesting forts I’ve ever visited.
The other noteworthy place in Jodhpur is the Clock Tower which is the shopaholics’ treat. Its narrow alleyways sell everything from vegetables to sweets to handicrafts to textiles to silverware to jutis. Kachoris and mirch pakodas sold there are a must when visiting Rajasthan and will delight any foodie!
After spending one and a half day in Jodhpur, we departed for Jaisalmer which is 300kms from Jodhpur. we stayed in the camps close to the dessert in the outskirts of the city. The first thing I noticed upon arrival is the stars, millions and millions of stars at every patch in the sky twinkling away to glory. It’s absolutely breathtaking.
Next morning we went for a camel safari to the dessert. For starters, it is nothing like the joy ride you take on camels. When you sit on a camel for over an hour, your thighs will cry in pain and you won’t be able to able to walk properly for days. So be prepared! However, the experience is every bit worth it. The sight of the dessert is spectacular, acres and acres of sand with nothing else in sight. Your feet will sink into the sand which is hot on top and cold beneath. The feeling is amazing.
The look of the dessert at night is a whole other sight. The night safari is the next best thing to do. They take you in an open jeep to see the dessert. The freezing weather, ice cold sand, bonfire and a blanket of stars, it’s all you need to go speechless. It’s a sight so beautiful that will engrave itself into your brain forever.
Next day we went into the city of Jaisalmer. We visited the Gadisagar Lake. Artistically carved Chattris, Temples, Shrines and Ghats surround the banks of Gadisar Lake. The entrance to the Lake is through a magnificent and artistically carved yellow sandstone archway that is known as the Tilon-Ki-Pol.
The USP of Jaisalmer is its fort. The fort stands proudly amidst the golden stretches of the great Thar Desert, on Trikuta Hill, and has been the testimony of many battles. Its massive yellow sandstone walls are a tawny lion color during the day, fading to honey-gold as the sun sets, thereby camouflaging the fort in the yellow desert. For this reason, it is also known as the “Golden Fort”. This fort, popularly known as the ‘Sonar quila’ by the locals, is located in the very heart the city, and is one of the most breathtaking monuments in the locality. It is the only ‘live fort’ in India. The legend goes that the king was cursed to have people live and work in this fort always. One can shop in this fort as there is a full-fledged market inside it.
Few tips for people visiting Jaisalmer and planning to stay in tents are to carry your own bedding. The weather is way too cold and the bedding provided by the hotel is not enough. The food is not up to the mark. Beware of the camel ride, it won’t be pleasant post ten minutes! Travel light because bags cannot be dragged over sand. There won’t be enough water, its rajasthan! There definitely won’t be enough hot water. In spite of all this, it’s an experience of the life time and one must visit these places at least once.