Had a nice sleep in and after switching to some equally lovely rooms finally headed out at 2pm to visit the famous Jaislamer fort. Started at the palace, which was a mix of the austere and the highly decorated. Used their excellent A/V guided tour. Palace had lots of great views of the town and the surrounding dusty brown landscape. On the way out stopped at Dr Bhang’s lassi shop. I had a nice banana bhang lassi and Aidan had a plain lassi, well it wasn’t that plain.. Shop filled up quickly, perhaps because of our presence, with groups of scarved European backpackers, who studied the menu intensely and complained that the prices were 10 rupees more than in Pushkar! This was a good time to leave. Had afternoon tea on the lovely rooftop of our hotel with a beautiful full moon above us, which was great as by this time the bhang had really kicked in. Floated off to dinner at the Saffron restaurant, and on the way I was sure I was communicating with the locals telepathically in Marwari. Restaurant was pretty ordinary, and all agreed, even the bhangless. Went to bed feeling very happy, if only they had bhang lassis for sale in Sydney..
Breakfast next morning at the July 8th restaurant inside the city walls. Good spot to watch the tour groups and locals in the square outside the palace. Met the owners, who once lived in an assortment of western Sydney suburbs, which explained the vegemite on the menu.
Went to visit the Jain temples that are only open at specific hours in the morning. These were quite beautifully carved but a little claustrophobic. One held some of the oldest books in India. Wandered through the cute alley ways past little shops and large decorated havelis, though they weren’t as impressive as Shekhawati. Walked along city walls for a while which gave us a glimpse into courtyards and gardens, and had some lovely kachoris for a snack. Headed back for hotel to do our camel safari. After some negotiation with the driver started at the Bara Bagh, the tombs of the Jaisalmer rulers, which were interesting but a bit of an obstacle course to access and for some reason a bit creepy.
Next we went to the mysterious abandoned village that looked like an abandoned village. Supposedly deserted after a dispute some 400 years ago. Then off to the sand dunes somewhere for our camel ride. Arrived a a well set out “camp” where we mounted our camels and after waddling through some scrub started to climb up some high sand dunes in time for sunset. Sunset and moonrise were of course beautiful. Back to camp where we were entertained by Rajasthani folk singers in a freezing cold windy courtyard while we waited for dinner. And waited. And waited. After 2 hours of this the poor singers had run out of folk songs and started on a few Bollywood hits but most of the performers, like us, had lost interest. Finally food arrived as the temperature hit the zero mark, so ate very quickly so we could get back to the hotel. Scary ride back with another near miss, glad to get back to the warmth of our beds!