Delhi’s geographical location is such that it is surrounded by contrasting terrains from all sides. Therefore whenever we think of going for a weekend getaway, there are loads of options to choose from. Although most of us young adventurers never miss an opportunity to scale the high altitudes of Himalayas, but there are some who love to experience the cultural heritage of Rajasthan.
This year the holiday for Independence Day was such that we could combine the weekends and take a perfect short and refreshing trip. Now the question was where should we head to? Himachal and Uttrakhand were experiencing heavy downpour, thus I decided that this time we should visit the beautiful golden city of Jaisalmer and it was one of my favourite trips to Rajasthan.
DAY-1: The Beginning
I and my group of friends are road trip lovers, so we did not miss this opportunity as well. We hired a self drive car from Myles.com and if you do not know about self drive rentals, then please go and check it out right now because they are so cheap and you get the driving experience yourself. I mean it is a gem for us since we discovered it.
Now coming back to my journey, we started from Delhi by around 4 and the weather was pleasant. For dinner, we wanted to take a pit stop at Highway King. We had heard a lot about this restaurant which was located on the main highway. And thank god for that, the food was immensely delicious and by the amount of food we had ordered, the bill was pretty cheap.
With our tummy full we started again. The night had fallen and I could see the full moon in the sky, playing hide and seek with the clouds. It raced with us throughout the route and drenched the road with sparkling light; we did not need any streetlights. At around 3 in the morning we stopped at a local dhaba in Rajasthan and it was so strange that it was the only dhaba on a long lonely stretch of road and surprisingly it was open. But lucky for us, we had some tea and snacks and stretched out ourselves. The desert had started and in the moonlight we could see the golden sand lining the road sides.
In the morning when I opened my eyes, we were still on the road. However, the scenery around me took my breath away. Everything was bathed in gold. And the road seemed to be merging into the horizon. The road to Jaisalmer is completely straight with no twists and turns and it is blissful to drive on that road to eternity. The landscape was so beautiful that I could not take my eyes off it. The road is surrounded by desert on both the sides and because it was monsoon, we could see small patches of greenery here and there, which is very rare in the area.
Moreover, the beauty of the journey was topped with the beautiful and mesmerising sunrise that we witnessed. I have seen amazing sun rises in the mountains where little rays of sun peek from behind the high rising beauties but I had never seen something like this before. We were travelling straight ahead and the sunlight filtered through the back window into our car. When I looked behind, the only thing I could see was a straight road that ended at the foot of the rising sun and the orange yellows sunrays kissed the sand making them sparkling gold. I lowered down the window and took a breath of fresh air and felt the warmth of sun on my face.
Soon, we were getting closer to the golden city and just as we neared the city gate, I was something completely extraordinary: Windmill Farms. First I saw a line of a few windmills, I was overjoyed because this was the first time I had witnessed them in real. As we moved further, we saw so many windmills on both the sides and then I got to know that these farms are the source of electricity in the isolated city. There were hundreds of them, running their blades with the wind and this was a very nice development that I saw in a city that is so isolated. For those who do not know, Jaisalmer is the last city on the west side of India and located in the heart of Thar Desert.
The road went ahead and we could see the city rising slowly before us. The whole city seemed to be painted gold and this is because the all the infrastructures are still made with golden sandstone that is found in the vicinity. Jaisalmer holds a very massive and beautiful fort “Sonar Fort” at the centre of the city and carved out of the same sandstone. The fort is still at its best condition and holds houses of many families within its walls.
We checked into our hotel “The Golden Haveli” and it was equally beautiful. One thing that I noticed about the architecture there was that they had preserved their old fashioned style of carving. Every building had such ornate work that I was transfixed. It was really beautiful.
We had breakfast and we lounged around in the pool for an hour or so, changed into fresh clothes and left for the day. I will write in detail about the places that I visited in Jaisalmer in my next post. For now I will only list the names places that I saw.
- Sam Sand Dunes
- Bada Bagh
- Sonar Fort
- Gadisar Lake
- Patwaon ki Haveli
This day also went by with seeing the above mentioned places and we had a great time. We relished some amazing Rajasthani cuisine with Ker-sangri, Gatte ki Sabji and Rajasthani Dum Aloo, to name a few dishes. The sun was shining brightly over us but the wind was amazing and cool. It swept my hair and touched my face like nothing I had ever experienced before. Jaisalmer experiences minimum rainfall in India and this year till the time I went there, the city had got only half an hour of proper rainfall. I just could not imagine the difficulty of life in there.
Yet the people were content with their lives. They are so helpful and generous and even selfless. I had an experience myself when during the sightseeing, thanks to google maps, we got lost and reached those windmill farms. There was no one to be seen around and there were no roads. And at that point a driver was passing by in this car and he was accompanying an engineer. They guided us to get out of that farm and went with us till we reached the highway which was apparently 8 kms away.
The guy gave us his number and asked us to call him up if we face any other problem. These things do not happen often and his generosity made a so full of happiness that these traits still exist in humans today.
One more thing that moved me was that the people are happy with their life. They wave and give you a very nice smile when you pass by and when I acknowledged them by waving back, their smile widened. There were so many children around who were just happy with our presence. There were people who did not move to the city and still stayed at extremely unfair and bad conditions with no facilities just because they were emotionally attached to their ancestral land. But still they do not have any regrets or any problem with their way of living. They have adapted to that life and do not want to change it.
I saw so many things in this trip that I felt that I am very lucky for what I have today. I learnt that small things give such happiness that it is more than any materialistic thing, like this article. The old world charm of Rajasthan is something to look forward to. This trip holds a very special place in my heart and it will remain there forever.
Now my next trip to Rajasthan would be to Pushkar for the Pushkar Mela. It is the world’s largest cattle exchange and trading fair where you can see the best of Rajasthan’s culture and tradition at one place. The fair is so beautiful and especially so vividly colourful that someone would fall in love with the colours. This has been in my bucket list since a long time and I hope to get it ticked off this year.