We arrived in Jaisalmer at the end of January after a long 9 hour drive from Pushkar (all 9 hours were spent listening to a 5 minute ‘Om’ to Shiva….on repeat…) and were greeted by a truly unique city. Located only 120 kilometers from Pakistan, Jaisalmer is a desert city, existing mostly as a base for people wanting to go on camel safaris in India’s Thar Desert.
There are countless desert camps to choose from and many hotels in Jaisalmer offer discounted rooms for anyone booking a desert tour through them. Our tour guide had booked ours ahead of time and I have to say that this was something he did right! The camp where we stayed was very well run and the owner puts a lot of care into the quality of the experience he offers. From beginning to end we loved our stay in the Thar desert!
Camel rides to the desert camps are a quintessential part of the experience, and we met our camels (and their owners) on the side of the highway about 40 minutes away from the Pakistan border. My camel’s name was Michael Jackson (probably because of his awesome hair!) and he was the sweetest thing! Dave’s camel was a bit grumpy, but MJ loved being pet and he was very careful when letting me on and off, which is the most harrowing part of a camel-riding experience!
We got to watch the sun set over the desert, while our guides laid in the sand. It really was a beautiful way to spend some time and it exceeded my expectations. Dave explored a bit and I hung out with Michael Jackson (I was worried I’d turn over a rock and a scorpion would try murdering me….Irrational? Perhaps…)
We arrived at the camp and were very happy with our accommodations. The tents were in better shape than a lot of the hotel rooms we’d seen. It’s obvious that the owner of this camp takes a lot of pride in what he does. He told us a few times how he built things a certain way so that they’d be made to last…he values quality and that was evident in all aspects of our camp experience!
Our evening was spent watching some traditional dances and listening to traditional Rajesthani music. Once more, we were impressed! I expected 2 or 3 songs and then for the musicians to move onto another camp…but they stayed the whole night! We had hours of entertainment around a bonfire, under the desert sky! Dinner was served and it was also traditional Rajesthani. The whole experience felt very cultural, and although a lot of these types of things can sometimes feel a little kitsch, somehow, this didn’t.
I also got to put my photography skills to good use! When they saw that I had a decent camera and that I liked taking photos, they asked if I wouldn’t mind taking some pictures of the camp for their future website. These guys were so great, I gladly agreed to help out. I just hope my photos do them justice!
We were sad to go the following morning, but before we left we were served some very tasty Aloo Parantha (a traditional Indian breakfast) and we learned later that the owner had even picked up some fresh fruit for Dave and I, in case we didn’t like the Indian breakfast! So thoughtful!
We had such a great time in Jaisalmer! I recommend the trip to anyone visiting Rajesthan! It might be a bit of a drive but it is WELL worth it!!