Our final full day in Rajasthan was spent sightseeing around Jaisalmer. After the excitement of the previous day, walking around the town was a good finale to our visit.
There is, of course, the inevitable fort, and that, and the town is built of yellow sandstone, so the city is known as – “the Golden City” ( bet you didn’t guess that, did you?). It has the appearance of being poorer than the other cities we visited, but tourism is now rivalling the army as revenue generator, and the touts are there in force.
It also has a number of very extensive houses – called Havelis, which were the residences of the merchants who made vast fortunes during the period when Jaisalmer was in the centre of India, rather than out on the periphery as now, most doubling as the usual tourist shops our guides are so fond of. There is also the only Marijuana shop I have ever seen – called Bhang.
get yer Marijuana here!
A final trip was arranged by our guide to end the day, a camel ride into the desert to watch the sun set. Unlike most of India, camels rather than elephants are the main animals of burden,
North West Rajasthan is desert, and elephants don’t do too well in the sand. Camels are all around, for riding, carrying and pulling carts. There are herds running almost wild, and they are certainly not to be argued with, although probably better natured than the average North African variety.
camels on the loose
We drove even further into the desert to meet with our camels and owners, then, once we were mounted,
camel ride to watch the sunset
we set off into the dunes, surrounded by square miles of scrub and sand. After about 45 minutes riding, and not seeing another soul, the guides indicated another 5 minutes and then we would stop to watch the sun go down.
We rode up the last dune, then stopped dead! It was like something from a Monty Python sketch. There were hundreds, if not thousands of people in the desert ready to watch the sunset, along with camels, camel carts, buggies, and of course the usual merchants selling anything from pearls (real ones, honest!) to Coke.
the "deserted" desert - not
where did everyone come from?
I have absolutely no idea where they had all come from. The majority were Indian rather than Western tourists, and we joined them and waited for what was a very spectacular sunset.
sunset - and very spectacular it was
We all then got back onto our camels, carts etc, and just as quickly, everyone disappeared to whence they had come.
We returned to our hotel for dinner, and then departed back to Jodhpur the next morning to catch the flight to Delhi, before travelling South to Kerala for a final week of sun, sea and sand, not to mention wildlife in the Kerala Backwaters.