Top Things to do in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India

Jaisalmer city, located in the heart of Thar Desert in Rajasthan is nicknamed the ‘Golden City’ due to stunning golden yellow sandstone structures & monuments. Jaisalmer and nearby area of Sam Sand Dunes has lots of interesting attractions to offer and we spent 3 days exploring Jaisalmer & Sam Sand Dunes on our 9-day family road trip through marwar region of Rajasthan. Here is my list of must do things in Jaisalmer.

Jaisalmer, Rajasthan

Desert Safari at Sam Sand Dunes – The beauty of the great Indian Thar desert can be experienced at Sam sand dunes. To be sure, one cannot enter the main area of the protected Thar desert but the commercial desert safari camps are located around the sand dunes on the edge and offer luxury tent stay, bonfire, camel rides in the dunes. It’s quite a touristy thing in my experience and especially after spending a beautiful night inside the wadi rum desert in Jordan, this was a bit of letdown. However, my kid who experienced sand dunes and camel rides for the first time was overjoyed. So this experience can be purely had for the novelty factor of seeing desert, sand dunes and camel rides.

Paragliding at Sam Sand Dunes
– There are many commercial paragliding operators on the way to Sam Sand dunes
from Jaisalmer town and its an adventure activity which is fairly safe and most
age friendly.

Evening at Sam Sand Dunes, Thar Desert, Rajasthan, India

Visit Abandoned village of Kuldhara
– The abaondoned village of Kuldhara (abandoned since 19th century) is
located in between Sam Sand Dunes and Jaislamer town. It’s a conserved village
now and it’s a eery feel to visit it even during daytime, with only goats
roaming around the broken down hutments and rubble.

Stroll around in Jaisalmer Fort – The
Jaisalmer Fort has a unique character, being a living fort. From the times of
its founding, the ruler allowed citizens to live & work inside the fort and
the fort grew organically, with jain temples, houses and shops inside it. Today,
it makes for an interesting stroll inside the fort, visiting the jain temples, its
claustrophobic narrow but colourful streets and many shops. We took almost half
a day to roam inside the Jaisalmer Fort and enjoy the views of the city below
from it. The Jaisalmer Fort is famously called ‘Sonar Kella’ or Golden Fort due
to the stunning golden yellow hues of its sandstone structure, which shines
brilliantly in the sunlight and changes shades through the day.

Jaisalmer Fort famously called Sonar Kella

Recommended Read: Visiting Alwar in Rajasthan, India

Visit Gadisar Lake
– A beautiful serene lake by the edge of Jaisalmer old town, it’s the perfect
place to chill out in the evenings or mornings.

Stroll around in old town Jaisalmer
– The old town of Jaisalmer is interesting and alluring, with its yellow gold
sandstone facades, colourful street art and everyday life. From a goat &
cow eating in the middle of the road to ladies sunning themselves after a bath
or doing puja, it’s a delight to walk around the narrow streets of old Jaisalmer

Bhang Lassi Shop in Jaisalmer

Drink Bhang lassi from Government authorised
shop at Jaisalmer Fort
– This is one of the few places in India, where
Government authorised bhang lassi is sold and it’s a must have!! How does it
feel afterwards? well, that depends from person to person and I wasn’t affected
at all!! (as testified by the husband!!). The Bhang Lassi shop is located on
the right side of the main entrance to Jaisalmer Fort.

Recommended Read: Visiting Jodhpur in Rajasthan, India

Evening entertainment of Rajasthani Puppet
show at Desert Cultural Center
– The indigenous art of puppetry in Rajasthan
has been revived at the Desert Cultural Center in Jaisalmer and it’s a delight
to watch the puppet show of 1 hour.

Recommended Read: Things to do in Jhunjhunu, Shekhawati, Rajasthan, India

Where to Stay in

There are varied options on
Jaisalmer from luxury to budget stays. One of the most interesting options to
stay is inside the Jaisalmer Fort; there are many homestays and B&Bs.
However, please be aware that if you are having a vehicle along with you (like
we did on our self-driving holiday through Marwar), parking facility is not
available inside the fort. We opted to stay at mid-budget Hotel Mystique which was located around 500 meters from the
Jaisalmer Fort and in the heart of the town. We found the hotel rooms to be
neat & clean and the staff was super courteous and helpful in guiding us on
sightseeing the city & avoiding tourist traps. The rooftop restaurant has
decent food and the owner himself interacts with the guests many times there.
It cost us xxx for 3 days 2 nights stay here.

How to reach

Jaisalmer can be reached by Rail,
Air or Road. The nearest railhead is Jaisalmer station. The Jaislamer Airport
is located 5 km from the city, however, it is a military airport with only
limited chartered flights. The best way to reach is via road through National
Highways 11 and 125. We did a road trip through Marwar, and reached Jaisalmer from
Jodhpur; the road condition is excellent with many road side restaurants &
eateries (having hygienic conveniences). There are also buses plying to Jaisalmer
from other cities of Rajasthan (Udaipur, Jodhpur, Jaipur, etc) and one has to
look up latest schedule on internet for same.

If you found this travel guide useful, you
might find my other travel posts here interesting too:

Visit to Nathdwara in Rajasthan – abode of Shri Nath ji and place of origin of Pichwai paintings

The Painted towns of Shekhawati region,Rajasthan  – Nawalgarh

The Painted towns of Shekhawati region,Rajasthan  – Mandawa

Family road trip through Mewar region of Rajasthan, India

Long Weekend getaway to Neemrana Fort PalaceLong weekend getaways from Delhi to Neemrana properties in Alwar – a detailed review of Tijara Fort Palace, Kesroli Fort Palace and Neemrana Fort Palace

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