THE THAR DESERT

DESTINATION №. 3-5 | The days & dunes of Rajasthan

 

The higher you venture in Rajasthan, the hotter, drier and dustier it becomes (but that's a desert for you, right?). But after hours driving through only sand & shrub, cities begin to rise out of the dunes. two of which - ONE BLUE & ONE GOLD - made for our next stops.
 

Destination №. 3: JODHPUR, THE BLUE CITY

The first stopover was Jodhpur; a small(ish) yet bustling city cloaked in blue and nestled under the shadow of the towering Mehrangarh Fort, and where our days were split between twisting and turning through its busy streets and retiring above them to rooftop restaurants and the Fort.

Stay+ EAT

Where we stayed, Pal Haveli: A grand 18th Century Haveli that lies in the heart of Jodhpur’s ancient walled city.
The hotel also boasts Jodphur's best restaurant (as rated by Lonely Planet) where you can escape the
madness of the city and enjoy a delicious candlelit dinner under the gaze of the magnificent Fort. 

DO

The Stepwell and Mehrangarh Fort. Not only does the Fort house an incredible history inside its walls,
but its exterior offers the most spectacular 360 degree view of the blue city below. NB: While the 'souvenirs' 
sold at the Fort are at 'tourist prices', the Fort sold some of the best leather and embroided shoes &
jewellery I found in all of India.

Tip

Taxis aren't allowed into the centre of town (the Clock Tower/markets) so if you're
staying in that area you'll need to catch a rickshaw around the centre.

 

Destination №. 4: JAISALMER, THE GOLDEN CITY

A city that's golden by nickname, by the colour of its sandstone buildings and by the sand that was beneath our feet. As you quickly discover, the city of Jaisalmer bows down to the Jaisalmer Fort, which stands tall on the southern edge of the town. Erected in 1156AD, the fort remains one of the largest fully-preserved fortified cities in the world and is home to 3,000 people, beautiful silks, jewellery and amazing views of the surrounding city.

Do

#1 You can't visit Jaisalmer without spending a day wandering the Fort. The Fort is a town in itself
so go there to eat, shop, and explore. 
#2 Take a moment to escape from the sand-covered vistas and head to Gadsisar Lake, a stunning
oasis that offers a spot of peace and pilgrimage to locals and tourists alike.

Shop

Make sure you get lost within the walls of the Fort. Its nooks and crannies are lined with local vendors
selling hidden and handcrafted gems - from beautiful cashmere, silver jewellery, handbeaded Saris.

Eat

At this point in the trip we were craving a good, Western meal and First Gate fulfilled our every food-
related desire. It neighbours the fort so enjoy the view over a glass of wine from its rooftop restaurant.
NB: It's a vegetarian restaurant, sorry meat lovers.

Tip

Prepare for the dry air and dust to play games with your sinuses.
Make like Coachella and take a bandana in your back pocket.

 

Destination №. 5: SAMSARA LUXURY RESORT & CAMP, the middle of the desert

There's no better or more magical way to experience the Thar Desert than by crossing it by camelback, dining on top of its rippling dunes and sleeping under the star-covered sky. 

Stay + DO + EAT

We were treated like royalty by the amazing team at the Samsara Luxury Resort & Camp. After a droptop
jeep whisked us out into the desert, we rode camels into the sunset, were wined and dined with a private
candlelit dinner at the top of the sand dunes, all before drifting off into sweet dreams in our four-posted bed
in one of Samsara's 21 heavenly 'glamping' tents. If we didn't have the photos as proof, I would have sworn I had
dreamt the whole thing; truly one of the most magical experiences of a lifetime. 

Of course the Thar Desert offers camel treks to suit all budgets and experiences; from a morning tour of the
dunes, through to an overnight camp with nothing but you and a mattress between the sand and star-covered sky.
However you can fit in to your itinerary, make it a must when in Jaisalmer. 

Jamie Barrett