I first visited India in the 1980s. At the time, I was told of a mystical city in the desert that was so isolated you had to take a camel caravan to get there. While this may have been an exaggeration, Jaisalmer, the mystical city, was so remote that it seemed impossible at the time to get to. My dream was to one day get to the city, and in finally, a quarter century later, I made it.
Deep in the western part of Rajasthan, which is mostly desert, not far from the Pakistani border, Jaisalmer was once a booming merchant city on the trading route from India to Europe. Because of its strategic location, it was a walled city, more like a fort. Filled with twisting alleyways, Jain temples, palaces, small galleries, stalls of crafts, rooftop restaurants and old merchant mansions turned into wonderful hotels, the city retains its medieval allure and is a wonderful place to stroll, sit, stay and eat.
Cars are not allowed in, but cows reign supreme. Alleyways are so small that when you see a cow coming down the alley, best move to the side and let it pass. This is a delightful, mystical wonderful place, and certainly worth the long ride to get here.
I stayed in a 450 year old haveli or mansion, with five rooms, and still owned by the original family. It was all a wonderful experience…I even joined a camel caravan in the desert. Enjoy the photos.