. . . I was in India.
When I first heard of the city of Jaisalmer I was entranced, it seemed to me to be at the end of the world. The golden city is dominated by the fort, a living, vibrant place that has a life of its own, hanging on the edge of the far west of India.
It’s a very commercial town, everywhere you turn someone is trying to persuade you that you need spices you’ve never heard of, saris, wall hangings, ornaments of all types. I expect it’s even more touristy now. But that doesn’t spoil it’s charm, the twists and turns of each cow inhabited alley, gets under your skin and even deeper into your nostrils.
There are several Jain temples, with finely detailed interiors, and a plethora of Buddhas.
The stoneware is so beautiful it’s hard to know where to look.
But there are quiet spots to reflect,
And sculpture to wonder at,
Haveli’s are mansion houses of the wealthy. While some in Rajasthan are dilapidated, many are well maintained and open to the public for a few hundred rupees. This one was a museum come antique shop, I think pretty much everything was for sale at a price, even though it was also a home.
In the afternoon of October 20th,we went wandering around the streets. As in cities all over the world, groups of men gather on street corners and squares to play cards and board games, while the women are hard at work trying to feed their families.
The fort is one of the biggest in the world, built high on a hill with three layers of walls and ninety nine bastions. Here is a view from one.
In time for sunset, we went just outside the town to see the fort change colour, by day it’s the colour of a lion, but at sunset it turns to a honey gold.
Although the sunset was disappointing, traveling friend and I were happy to be all dressed up in our finery, in the most mesmerising city at the end of the world.
Jaisalmer is around 800 kilometeres from Delhi, and it can be reached by train, an overnight journey. Better still, try a slow journey and stop along the way. Rajasthan is wonderful and the people are warm and friendly, who are justifiably proud of their heritage.