Jaisalmer – The Golden City
Jaisalmer was one of our most memorable places we visited whilst in Rajasthan. The journey there was long, over night on a sleeper train from Jaipur but when we woke up to the arid landscapes we felt excited and glad to be away from the mad cities again! We could see the impressive Jaisalmer Fort crowning the ridge of yellow sandstone as we arrived to the golden city. We could feel the difference in temperature when we stepped off the train, it resembled an oven and it was very dry. We were definitely in the desert!
Jaisalmer is nicknamed “The Golden City” and is home to the famous Jaisalmer Fort where up to 3000 people still live to this day. Its narrow streets are filled with beautiful havelis and temples all built with yellow sandstone. You can get lost roaming the streets inside the fort and the views over Jaisalmer are breathtaking. During the day there is plenty of bargains to be had and remember to always haggle.
One of the main reasons people visit Jaisalmer is to do a camel safari and you can spend a night in the desert too if you wish. We done this and it was a magical experience, riding the camels into the desert to watch the sun set. We were met by 3 little boys who ask you’re name then sing a song and dance. Sara was loving it but they have blatantly been trained to do this as they ask for a tip (like most people in Rajasthan). Sleeping under the milky way like we had never seen it before was an experience in itself. We were woken by the prayer music in the morning… Jimmy thought it was someones phone ringing haha. The sun rise was epic, we definitely recommend this!
Jodhpur – The Blue City
There’s not really much we can say about Jodhpur unfortunately as when we arrived the agency had let us down ONCE AGAIN! We were fortunate enough that the hotel owner was kind enough to help us out and he confirmed that this agency was NOT a government agency! We spent the majority of our time in Jodhpur trying to get the service we’d paid for but after a lot of arguments with useless muppets on the phone we decided to drown our sorrows and watch Hindi music channels.
Heres one of our favourite songs we discovered and Jimmy enjoying a beer.
Udaipur – City of Lakes
We arrived in Udaipur at night by bus to a colourful city ready for Diwali. The main street (where our hotel was) was closed off because of “the festival of lights”, the most important and biggest Hindu festival. The street was filled with worshippers going to prey and make offerings to the gods. The streets resembled Afghanistan with bangers and fireworks going off all over the place.
The festival spiritually signifies the victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, good over evil, and hope over despair. The festival preparations and rituals extend over a five day period but the main festival night coincides with the darkest, new moon night of the Hindi Lunar calendar. In the run up to Diwali people light up diyas [lights and candles] and on the night of Diwali people dress in their best clothes and offer each other sweeties. You will also see lots of rangoli designs too, a colourful patterns made with salt crystals dyed with different colours.
Udaipur is the most romantic city in India and has the largest palace in Rajasthan. We visited the Jagdish temple which has some interestingly beautiful architecture and inside we were lucky to witness the happiest people we had ever seen singing and dancing for Diwali. Afterwards we went to the attractive City Palace Complex and then took a stroll to Lake Pichola to watch the sunset. We then returned to the now lit up City Palace, which is even more attractive at night and enjoyed the beautiful views over the city.
After all the complications with the tour agency we had a great time in Rajasthan although we know it would have been better if we done it on our own accord. Now it was time to head south, two sleeper trains with a long wait in Mumbai in between whilst Jimmy had food poisoning. This and more in the next post…