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Published: September 19th 2018
Ignoring our hotels advice (and because we have so much time in Jaisalmer) this morning we decided to look around the fort palace. The hotels argument against it, and that of a number of guides, is that it’s expensive and no different to those we’ve seen in Udaipur & Jodhpur. I suspect without the audio guide provided we would have agreed with them as the rooms are fairly plain and the artefacts similar to those in the other palaces. With the guide though, we found it well worth a visit. We enjoyed learning about the history of the Jaisalmer royal family and the times when the fort fell, leading the women to commit suicide to avoid capture by the enemy (Jauhar) and the men to ride into battle and to their deaths.
After an unexpectedly long lunch (the waiter ran out to buy both cola and eggs for our omlettes) we headed back to our hotel to get ready for our camel safari.
For this we had arranged to be picked up at 3pm, see some local sights, have a 90min camel ride, watch the sunset and eat dinner on the dunes before watching the stars and then heading
back to the hotel. We were assured that we would have a camel each and that we would be the only people there. This is India so we took all these promises with a rather large pinch of salt.
We were pleasantly surprised to be wrong.
Picked up on time and driven in a comfy ac car by one of our hotel managers our first stop was Kuldhara - a 13th century village left suddenly by its inhabitants in the 19th century. The story goes that the maharaja wanted to marry one of the village girls but as they were Brahmins he was of the wrong caste and so they refused his proposal. When he threatened to take her anyway they all left the village overnight.
Of course the more likely story is that they gradually left due to water shortages and an earthquake but that’s rather less exciting.
We then looked at a local natural lake which supplies the surrounding 20 villages. After a poor monsoon it’s barely half full and likely to dry out within 6 months if they don’t get further rain. Whilst there some guys were filling a tank full of water
to take back to the village by tractor - a bit easier than each household having to carry buckets back every day.
Our final stop was a small village fort surrounded by peacocks and overlooking a small oasis and another village.
We then headed over to our camels. There was one each, mine was called Tommy and was v grumpy and old. As promised there were dunes, and although near a campsite, we saw no one except ourselves, our camel herder and a few goat herders on our ride.
Camels are not comfortable. Their way of walking is really weird, and very slow! I also struggled with my complete lack of control as my camels reins were just tied onto the saddle of the one in front. I’m used to having my own set of steering and brakes when in the saddle!
I found running around the dunes a lot of fun and enjoyed ours being the only footprints there. After the ride we had dinner on a dune and then watched the stars for a while before heading back to the hotel.
It was a very enjoyable day, and I don’t regret not spending longer on the
camels (although I’d happily spend more time with them as they seem to have a lot of personality).
Tot: 1.794s; Tpl: 0.058s; cc: 10; qc: 59; dbt: 0.0325s; 1; m:saturn w:www (126.96.36.199); sld: 4;
; mem: 1.4mb