Edit Blog Post
Published: December 13th 2011
December ’11 Train to Jaisalmer contd
I went to sleep on the top bunk, having braved the stinky squat toilet one last time and praying I wouldn’t need it again during the night! I went out like a light then suddenly bam! The lights were all on and people were shouting…… we had stopped at another station! I tried to ignore it all but realised I was freezing cold so re wrapped the blanket round me and fortunately I was soon fast asleep again. I woke up about 8 am so I was pleased with that and just laid there putting off the inevitable visit to the loo! When I opened the curtains and climbed down I got a surprise when I realised that the Indian family opposite had vanished and been replaced with a young English couple from Loughborough and Yorkshire! Next thing I knew we were pulling into Jaisalmer station and we had only had to kill 1 more cockroach!!
Much to our surprise and pleasure we were met by Raj from our hotel – Surja Guesthouse, we had arranged this but didn’t really expect it to happen! We were whisked off to a tuk
The Royal Palace
tuk and soon got our first glimpse of Jaisalmer Fort – a magnificent sight high on a hill, all yellow sandstone turrets, towers and winding alleyways dominated by the Royal Palace – now this is more like it!!
We got out at the main square in the fort and soon wound our way to the hotel. We have quite a big room with a window looking out over the side of the fort and out across the town surrounding and it is filled with the kind of furniture I would love to own. We went up onto the roof top terrace where there are stone balconies built into the fort wall, filled with cushions to lounge on and just sat watching the world go by!
We got a slight surprise when Raj’s mobile went off and his ringtone was The Offspring – Why don’t you get a job!! We then sorted out bus tickets for Wednesday to get us to Jodhpur at 6 am – well this is the fast bus only 4 ½ hours instead of 7 so worth getting up early for and at a bargain price of 200 rupees (£2.50) not bad for a 200
The Main Square
ish mile journey.
After a bit of grub and a cold shower we set off to explore. What a place!!! The architecture is stunning all carved stonework, intricate fretwork, higgledgy piggledgy buildings, narrow passageways full of small shops and houses. We are saving the Royal Palace for tomorrow, today we are just exploring. People are really friendly saying Namaste and not too much hassle. We were shown a couple of good look out points which still have canyons ( including one brass one). We came across the 2 Canadians we met at Delhi station – so we all made it here!
While I was in a textile shop Howard stayed outside chatting to an English lady who happened to be just sitting there. Toni was about our age and came from Epsom, she had been a business woman and has now packed it all, rented out her house and is travelling for as long as she wants and has no intention of going back to her former way of life!
She had spent a month trekking at high altitude in Nepal to prepare herself for climbing Mount Everest in April!!!!! She has also spent a month walking
out in the Thar Desert just to challenge herself and push her own boundaries as she does not like heat! An amazing and inspirational woman.
Already we feel we could just stay here for a week, not the 2 nights we are and saying why on earth did we book that trip!!! The thought of going back to Delhi and being herded about is NOT appealing! Oh well you live and learn and hopefully will resist any more organised trip bargins!!
We spent the evening on the rooftop balcony wrapped in a big thick quilt (desert nights are cold!) watching a blood red moon rising and the town lights slowly coming on.
The Royal Palace was amazing – not many artifacts but the building itself was great. I did the audio tour and learnt all about the history. The fort has only been breached 3 times in its whole history – it was built in 1156 ad. Rather than surrender and be subject to an appalling fate the women chose to commit Jauhar – special ceremonies which include ritual bathing, perfuming and beautifying, dressed in their best clothes they then walked into
Roof top balcony
the fire to die. They would then be ready to greet their menfolk in the after life. The men then donned their finest costumes and worn their saffron and orange turbans and with their swords gleaming charged out of the fort to kill as many of their enemies as they could before meeting their own inevitable deaths. This Jahur was only counted as happening 2 ½ times as on one occasion the women did not have the time to perform the ceremonies and so the men slit their throats instead before going out to battle and die.
The Palace was a maze of small rooms, courtyards, staircases and towers, with a commanding view right over the surrounding area and on to the Thar Desert.
After this visit we then walked out of the fort through the main gate and into the bustling town with the aim of finding an ATM. It was the usual madness of dodging cows, motorbikes and tuk tuks (but no peeing men here!) so we decided to head off to the lake (once the only source of water for the area). It was a really tranquil place with small temples dotted around the shore
Royal Palace - see if you can spot me!
but no obvious way of walking round it. We decided to forgo the pedal boats and headed back in a tuk tuk.
During the short walk back to the hotel I got into a bit of shopping but as the guy wanted 400 rupees for a small silk scarf I gave up as was walking away when an Indian lady asked me how much he had been asking for. When I told her she was outraged and said it should have only been 50 rupees and how cross it made her – well now at least I know for future reference!
So now we are back in our favourite spot – lounging in one of the roof top balconies and eating a cheese and tomato sandwich!
Next stop Jodhpur, Rajasthan
Tot: 0.049s; Tpl: 0.017s; cc: 12; qc: 25; dbt: 0.0094s; 1; m:saturn w:www (22.214.171.124); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.2mb