The city of Jaisalmer is a fort of fairytales; it is like an oversized sandcastle that rises out of the barren desert that surrounds it. We caught our first glimpse of the fort as we arrived at the station and as we got out tuk tuk closer the fort took on a whole new perspective. Its honey coloured walls give you a real sense of imagination and anticipation as you enter through the main gate. Once at the top of this magical fort you entered the labyrinthe of streets filled with shops, bazaars and hotels.
Unfortunately the fort is decaying at a fast rate due to increased weight by new business and is slowly sinking and falling back into the sand. Luckily construction is underway to hopefully save this beautiful city. We chose to stay in the same hotel as Chris an Aussie guy we met in the train station based on his reviews of its beautiful views of the fort and the sprawling white city outside the fort. As the train arrived late mid afternoon we spent the remainder of the day exploring the city and booking one of the other reasons for visiting Jaisalmer – Camel Trekking.
Jaisalmer is strategically positioned on the camel train routes and brought incredible wealth for the Maharaja from Central Europe and as far away as Central Asia. However the rise of shipping lanes and the growth of Mumbai lead to the downfall of this city. Add this with major water shortages the city’s fate was sealed until the India Pakistan war (due to its strategic geographical) and later tourism that brought money back into the area. We lost ourselves for the afternoon in many winding streets and shops and Jain temples. Here in Jaisalmer was not unlike any other tourist hotspot in Indian and the attention received was epic. Rajastani seems to be home of the antique shop and I was drawn in and ended up buying a few Brass water bowls and other memories from India. Rajastani women also seem to be the most colourful in India, wearing elegant and colourful (if not loud at sometimes) saris and ankle bracelets. The men are very proud especially of their turbans and its seems the more colourful and bigger the better!
Apparently turbans were first worn to protect the head from evil spirits but only a dire man would ever remove one from his head. Turbans are not only worn by Sikhs but also Muslims (but they only wear black or white ones) and in some cases the cloth can be utpo 18m long! Colours often signify caste but in Rajastan the more colour the better it seemed! We eventually ended up watching a glorious sunset on one of the hotel roof tops. Dark descended and so did the cold and we retreated back to the hotel via a restaurant and way of a travel agent to get our final journeys in India, Marie to Delhi and I to Mumbai. But all was not as sad as we were we very excited about the 3 day Camel safari the next day.