8 ways to enhance your Jaisalmer experience
Jaisalmer in Western Rajasthan, on the edge of the Thar Desert, bordering Pakistan, is where travellers come for a desert experience. Most travellers end up with an overnight stay in a desert camp along with a visit to Jaisalmer Fort and other monuments. There is more to Jaisalmer than what meets your eye. Let me put down some ways to enhance your Jaisalmer experience.
1. Jaisalmer Fort Walk
Jaisalmer is one of the few forts in India having a community living inside. There are heritage homes, temples, heritage by-lanes and small heritage hotels, all within the premises of the Jaisalmer Fort. A 2-hour Jaisalmer walk takes you through the history and heritage of Jaisalmer while offering you stunning views of the city from the fort. While most travellers end up “visiting” the fort, the walk offers a comprehensive perspective.
Temple Inside Jaisalmer Fort
2. Village Safari
A jeep safari (3-4 hours) in desert villages around Jaisalmer offers an exciting opportunity for travellers to explore craft heritage, lifestyle and harsh landscape of the area. A village safari is great for landscape photography of the Thar Desert.
3. Desert National Park
A guided jeep safari in the Desert National Park (3-4 hours) around Jaisalmer offers you the chance to spot rare wildlife such as Chinkara, Blackbuck, Desert Fox, Gerbil and Cat, Blue Bull, etc. The desert is also home to a wide range of raptor species such as Eastern Imperial Eagle, Himalayan and Eurasian Griffon Vultures, etc. and therefore, is excellent for bird photographers.
4. Kheechan Excursion for Demoiselle Cranes
Kheechan village near Phalodi (3 hours drive one-way) is renowned for its population of Demoiselle Cranes. Thousands of them arrive during winter to offer a spectacle that is not found anywhere else in Rajasthan. Kheechan is best visited enroute on Jaisalmer – Bikaner route and on Jaisalmer – Jodhpur route (small detour required).
5. Desert Adventure
Paragliding (30 minutes) and Dune Bashing (45 minutes) are two popular options for those seeking a bit of adventure with the desert experience that Jaisalmer offers. Paragliding offers amazing top views of the Thar Desert and Dune Bashing offers an experience of taking a 4WD in a desert (like it is offered in the outskirts of Dubai). These are offered in Sam dunes area at about 30-45 kms from Jaisalmer.
6. Stay in a Desert Village
Living in a remote desert village is a definitive experience. Here you live in a village hut, eat home cooked food while enjoying locals singing, meet artisans of the village, participate in daily chores of villages and undertake camel safaris around to explore. A desert village stay is a definitive experience for well heeled experiential travellers.
7. Moonlight Desert Safari
Moonlight Desert Safari is where one can take a camel ride deep into the desert area and spend the night in the middle of the desert under a million stars. Camels are parked and a campfire is set where meals are served. Rest of the evening is spent enjoying the desert. The safari is best done during full moon winter nights with a few friends for an ultimate desert experience.
8. Tanot Mata Excursion
Tanot is a village 122 kms from Jaisalmer, right on the edge of the border with Pakistan. Karni Mata temple (popularly known as “Tanot Mata Temple”) is popularly visited by travellers looking to explore Thar Desert and looking to visit the border checkpost.
Note: Winter is the best time to visit as summer temperatures here can touch high 40’s (Celsius).