Jaisalmer is not the biggest attraction in the Rajasthan State, but it attracts tourists. It describes a city of fairy tales for retaining its medieval charm—a special place to visit and less crowded than in other cities of Rajasthan. Suppose you are traveling with limited time, as most people do. This two-day itinerary will take you to most of the city’s highlights.
It’s a long way trip to Jaisalmer. We already cover kilometers on this trip on our ninth day in India, and thanks to our driver Kamal for bringing us this far. We’re also thankful to Namaste India Tours for arranging our Rajasthan trip. It wasn’t easy to find a trustworthy company in India. With them, I can guarantee you to have an enjoyable journey.
The Nearby Thar Desert
Jaisalmer mainly draws travelers through the nearby Thar desert. Although it’s a long drive from everywhere and worth a trip, it’s a small city with a lot to offer. However, you will see most of the tourist attractions in two days. Whether you book two nights in Jaisalmer and take a day trip to the Desert, the choice is yours. To fully enjoy the Thar Desert, I suggest spending the night over there. Get away from the crowd and enjoy the silence in the desert. The safari was one of the best parts we have in India.
To give ideas about where to visit in Rajasthan, India, see the places we have visited in the Golden Triangle Route – we started in Delhi, then Agra, Jaipur, Puskar, and Jodhpur, these maybe help you plan the trip.
The Highlight Of Jaisalmer: Two Days Itinerary
It’s a great city to experience, and there is so much to see in Jaisalmer that it will leave you wondering. Walking through a maze of streets and alleys feels like returning in time. This medieval desert town is entirely different from other places in Rajasthan. The city’s atmosphere makes most travelers stay longer, as there’s a lot to do. We saw most of the city’s highlights during our two days in Jaisalmer. Below are the things we’ve done in two days – we started on the first day in the desert and spent the night up there.
The Adventure In The Thar Desert
The camel safari is another highlight of our trip to India and a must thing to do while in Jaisalmer. Sitting on a camel’s hump is always a great way to experience the desert to enjoy the scenery and its surrounding colors. There are two places to go for a safari in Jaisalmer. First, Sam dunes are famous and the most visited area. But our driver Kamal recommends Khuri dunes because it is more outlying and less crowded.
You will find plenty of safari tours in Jaisalmer, and even your hotel desk can arrange them. The better way of organizing a safari is to contact the camp itself. We went with Desert Adventures Camp Safari inDhoba Khuri. It has excellent service with friendly staff.
Our driver Kamal has direct contact with the person – Tane Singh’s phone number is 9928503587 or 9784840053. Most safari packages include a night in the desert. But if you are not comfortable sleeping under the stars, there are tents in the village.
The Abandoned Khaba Fort
We visited the Fort from Khuri village on our way back to Jaisalmer in the morning. Something different than the old town and not heavily seen by many visitors. The best way to get there is by taking a taxi and combining it with Kuldhara.
The village was abandoned 200 years ago for some reason. One saying is because of the curse, while some told is for an unknown reason. What was the leading cause of the emptiness of Khaba village is still unacquainted even our local driver doesn’t know the truth. However, the fort has done some restoration work; they seem to keep the place to attract more visitors. There is a small entrance fee of 10 rupees, including a small museum where the excavation is displayed.
Most agencies in Jaisalmer offer a stop in Kuldhara if booking a safari trip. Kuldhara is busier than Khaba Fort, we happened to be here early in the morning, and there were no crowds yet except for the workers. There’s a fascinating story about the place. It happens one night; the inhabitants abandon the village and never return. Nobody knows where they went—an enthralling sight like a ghost town in the middle of the desert with a lot of mystery.
The village mainly consists of ruined buildings, but the government does make an effort for tourist development. As a result of which, the houses and the temple were increasingly rebuilt. The village offers a quiet atmosphere and is a welcome relief from the hustle and bustle of Jaisalmer. A small entrance fee of 20 per person and 50 rupees for a vehicle.
Meandering The Jaisalmer Fort
The fort is free to visit! It is not often for tourists to see free things in India. The fortress of Jaisalmer is an eye-catcher in the city with its vast sand-colored building. It’s one of the unique forts in the world and yet so approachable.
It’s a vibrant city bursting with life. Meandering the narrow streets is like walking in a living museum of back roads and alleys where you get a better vibe among the locals and watch their daily activities, mainly outside the building. It is like the time that seems to have stood still here.
The town itself locates in the fortress where houses and people live—an entirely different fort from the others we’ve seen in Rajasthan. You can easily spend hours once inside the fort complex—the inner and outer parts of the fort are filled with historical monuments that you see during the walk.
Fort Palace Museum And Heritage Center
It wasn’t the best day during our visit to Jaisalmer; Jain Temples was closed, which was on the list of things to do. Instead, we visit the Fort Palace Museum And Heritage Center. One of the most excellent places for snooping around to learn the history of the royal family of Jaisalmer. The Fort Palace Museum is quite an architectural masterpiece. The seven-story museum is in the center of Jaisalmer, next to the Jain temple.
It’s smaller than other palaces on the tourist circuit but undoubtedly worth a visit. As in other royal houses, several rooms with artifacts are on display. The exciting part of the building is the rooftop, where an impressive overview of the old town. Additional info! It’s 500 for the entry plus 150 rupees extra for the mobile phone, and 160 rupees for video and regular camera. Probably they charged a bit more for the rooftop view.
Restaurants Rooftop Hopping
The best way to see the city’s surroundings is to pop in one of the many rooftop restaurants. There are many restaurants and bars with high terraces, but finding the right spot is not easy, as the houses and buildings in the old town are pasted. If you can’t make up your mind, go to Lake View Restaurant, utterly one of the best rooftops.
As the name sounds, you’ll get a stunning view of Jaisalmer city and Gadisar lake. It’s a favorite place by everyone, so it is just a matter of luck if you could find an empty table up there. But with a little patience, people are regularly in and out of place. It’s obligatory to make orders if sitting up there, enjoying the meal and the city’s picture.
Local Shopping In Jaisalmer
Like other places in India, shopping in Jaisalmer is a fun thing to do. The city is filled with colorful handicrafts that some are just hanging on the walls and waiting for everyone’s attention. As for a shopaholic is the place to be! There’s a broad range of products from antique to silk fabric. Jaisalmer is also famous for its mirror embroidery.
These are some impressive local products I saw and haven’t seen elsewhere. If I had traveled with a large suitcase, I would fill it with these beautiful handicrafts. The trick when shopping in Jaisalmer, meander through the small alleys where there are fewer tourists. You’ll be surprised how lovely walking on unknown streets with barely any tourists. Comparing the price to a busy street where most people go, it saves you a few bucks. Of course, haggling is recommended, and I’m sure you already knew your way in India.
Mansion The Havelis
The Havelis were recognizable with their fantastic architecture from the Mughal empire, a cultural heritage design. Today, the splendor of the townhouses (Havelis) is one of the most spectacular tourist attractions in Rajasthan. You will see more of these traditional houses if you are doing the Golden Triangle route.
Some of these buildings have transformed into lodging and restaurants; you will probably stay at one of these hotels during your trip. There are several beautiful Havelis in Jaisalmer. While walking through the fort and the surrounding streets, you will regularly come across one. And if you go to Mandawa, you’ll be amazed that the city is full of Havelis.
Bara Bagh Temples On The Hillside
Outside the fort of Jaisalmer, there are more places to visit if you want to escape the city’s bustle. The Bara Bagh Temple is located six kilometers from the Fort. A tuk-tuk ride is pretty cheap if you negotiate the price before you go. Bada Bagh is a stunning garden complex, a collection of dense cenotaphs on a hillside.
The temples have done beautiful carving work on ceilings and lintels, an imposing design. You can visit the temple at any time of the day, but going late in the afternoon is the best time to see the sunset. Although it is not a touristy area, beware of touts outside the entrance presenting as a guide. It is unnecessary to have a guide unless you want to hear the whole story about the place.
Make A Nice Walk At Gadisar Lake
The Gadisar Lake is 2 kilometers outside the fort; a tuk-tuk ride costs 50 rupees. This human-made lake, built in the 14th century, served as a water basin for the inhabitants of Jaisalmer. Outside are stallholders selling hats and a variety of local crafts. The lake reminds me of Pushkar, where you can walk around.
And along the banks are numbered beautiful Hindu temples in which locals and Indian tourists frequently enter for worship. The only flaw is that it is too busy during the day. We returned early in the morning, and the whole area looked abandoned. It was nice to walk around without the crowd. Also, you can rent a boat and paddle around the lake for a better view.
Where To Stay In Jaisalmer
Jaisalmer is one of the cities known for its traditional mansions called the Havelis. Some of these buildings are used for lodgings and other establishments. It was our first Haveli stay on this trip, which was a great experience. I love the elegant style of Hotel Heritage House. It has a similarity to the riads in Morocco.
The room is decent-sized, equipped with a large bathroom, and nicely maintained, but there are more choices on booking.com.
Their excellent hotel staff trained to respect the guests, not seeing them as a walking wallet compared to other hotels we’ve been to on this trip. And free wifi for the guests, as well they organize a safari tour. The rooftop restaurant has everything and is convenient as there are no other places to eat nearby. The location is in a quiet area, away from the city’s hustle and bustle. But an enjoyable walk of 10 minutes to the old town and the marketplace. A tuk-tuk cost 50 rupees.