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10 Unique Things To Do In Jaisalmer – The Golden City of India

aisalmer was one of the last stops on my 2 weeks road trip through Rajasthan and it quickly became my favourite city in India! I came here after spending a couple of days in Jodhpur and when I first arrived into town the first thing I noticed was how clean Jaisalmer is compared to other cities in India!

Jaisalmer is located in the middle of the Thar desert, the Great Indian desert, and almost all of the buildings and temples are made out of finely sculptured sandstone. This is also how Jaisalmer got its nickname of “The Golden City of India”: the architecture of both the fort and the town below reflects a golden-yellow light.

10 Unique Things To Do In Jaisalmer - The Golden City of India

How to reach Jaisalmer

I’ll go through 2 different options for you, one where you’ll depart from Jaipur, the main capital of Rajasthan and one where you’ll leave from Jodhpur.

During my time in India I did not take public transport myself. I was visiting at the start of May and was warned about the scorching heat so I opted to get a driver to drive us from city to city during those weeks.

FROM JODHPUR

BY CAR

From Jodhpur it’s an average of 4,5 hours driving by car and both cities are connected by National Highways. If you prefer this option you should be able to get a private transfer for around €31.

Book your private transfer: Jodhpur to Jaisalmer

BY BUS

There are two busses each day that drive from Jodhpur to Jaisalmer and you take it on the Main Pal Road in Jodhpur. There’s one at 5.45am and one at 2.45pm and it takes around 5 hours to reach the town of Jaisalmer.

BY TRAIN

There’s an average of 9 trains that run from Jodhpur to Jaisalmer on a daily basis and the approximate time is 5 hours. There’s also a sleeper train but I don’t recommend it cause it’s only 6 hours of driving so you won’t be able to get a decent nights sleep.

FROM JAIPUR

BY CAR

From Jaipur to Jaisalmer it’s a 10 hour drive by car and important to mention is that not a lot of private drivers do this route due to its length.

BY BUS

The journey from Jaipur to Jaisalmer is smoothly covered by a bus in 9 hours. The time to travel is dependent on India’s traffic, roads and climatic conditions. There are 6 sleeper busses to choose from and prices start from 600INR.

10 Unique Things To Do In Jaisalmer - The Golden City of India

Why you should visit Jaisalmer

The Golden City of Jaisalmer will transport you back in time as soon as you arrive. In the blink of an eye you’ll be immersed in the local culture and you’ll feel like you’re starring in ‘Arabian Nights’.

The fort of Jaisalmer is believed to be one of the only living forts in the entire world as nearly one fourth of the old city’s population still resides within the fort.

Compared to other cities in Rajasthan Jaisalmer is a lot less hectic and dirty. It’s the perfect place to unwind near the end of your trip through Rajasthan!

10 Unique Things To Do In Jaisalmer - The Golden City of India

When to visit Jaisalmer

Jaisalmer is located deep into the Thar desert and known for its big temperature differences. During the day it can get scorching hot while in the evenings the temperatures can drop.

The best time to visit Jaisalmer is during its Winter season from November to March. Sightseeing and other outdoor activities like camel ride, desert safari are more enjoyable during this time as the temperature remains between 5°C and 24°C. I can vouch for that since I visited during May and had to deal with temperatures rising up to 45°C.


Where to stay in Jaisalmer

During my visit I had the pleasure of staying at the Suryagarh Jaisalmer and ever since then I have been recommending this hotel to absolutely everyone! It’s my dream to go back one day and stay at this beautiful fortress again.

MY FULL EXPERIENCE INCLUDING A LOT MORE DETAILS & PHOTOS – SURYAGARH JAISALMER.

Below you’ll find some other favourites of mine divided into a luxury and budget category.

LUXURY TRIP

  • WelcomHeritage Mohangarh Fort – Mohangarh Fort is not only one of the best heritage hotels in Rajasthan, but it has been the top choice for several Bollywood movie shoot locations over the past couple of decades too.
  • Hotel Jaisalkot – Get the celebrity treatment with world-class service at Hotel Jaisalkot. It offers its customers, what no other property can – a chance to go back in time.

BUDGET TRIP

  • WelcomHeritage Mandir Palace – The Badal Vilas is a part of the exquisite WelcomHeritage Mandir Palace, which was built for the royals. The Palace can pass as a piece of art that stands as a testament to the talent of the local artisans. 
  • Garh Meera – A Sensational Boutique Hotel – Garh Meera is a great choice for travellers looking for a budget accommodation in Jaisalmer.
  • Moustache Jaisalmer – It’s a beautiful property situated right below the fort and the cafe offers amazing food with a view.

DESERT TRIP

  • Kanak Jaisalmer – A luxury camping experience that is as rooted in the culture as it is ravishing in its appeal.
  • Exotic Luxury Camps – Camp is located in a very peaceful location surrounded by sand dunes and guests can enjoy the feeling of complete seclusion and escapism from the outside world.
  • Beyond Stay Mirage Camps – Explore the splendour of Rajasthan with nights in handmade Swiss luxury tents in one of the most beautiful corners of the Thar. 
10 Unique Things To Do In Jaisalmer - The Golden City of India

Epic things to do in Jaisalmer

1. Jaisalmer Fort

The Jaisalmer Fort is one of the very first places that you should visit during your stay in Jaisalmer. As I said before this is one of the last “living forts” remaining in the world and over a quarter of the original population still lives here.

Most forts in India are heavily guarded and require an entrance fee but not this one. The Jaisalmer Fort is completely free to visit and since it’s actually a city inside a fort it’s always open.

Make sure to make your way up for sunrise to get the most spectacular hazy view over the city. If you’re not a morning person then go here for sunset and you’ll see with your very own eyes why Jaisalmer is called ‘The Golden City’ of India.

If you want to learn more about the actual history and not just wander around without further explanation you should opt for this 5 hour private city tour! Not only will you visit the Jaisalmer fort but you’ll also visit some of the most beautiful Haveli’s!

It’s important to say that the Palace inside the fort is not free to visit. It’s open from 9am to 6pm and costs INR 250 for non Indian visitors.

  • Opening hours – 24/7
  • Entrance fee – free
  • How to get there – You can simply walk up to the fort or have a TukTuk drive you up.
  • Things to do around Jaisalmer fort – Street shopping, trying out all of the different eateries.
  • Duration – 2 hours to a full day

RAJASTHAN IS FILLED WITH STUNNING FORTS & PALACES AND I WROTE A DETAILED GUIDE WITH TONS OF PHOTOS & DETAILS – THE MOST BEAUTIFUL FORTS & PALACES IN RAJASTHAN


2. Gadisar Lake

The Gadisar lake, also known as the Gadi Sagar lake, is a manmade reservoir in Jaisalmer and used to be the only source of water for the city.

We came here in the early morning and tried to beat the heat and the crowds. For me it was one of the most magical and unique places to see in Jaisalmer. The temples look like they’re floating on the water and local fisherman are relaxing near their small boats.

The banks of the Lake consist of shrines, temples, ghats and Chattris and you can either indulge in a boat ride or simply enjoy a leisure walk.

It’s one of the top things to do in the early morning in Jaisalmer!

  • Opening hours – 24/7
  • Entrance fee – Free. Boating charges: row boat INR 10, paddle boat INR 50, Shikara INR 100 for a 30 minute ride.
  • How to get there – Gadisar Lake is only 15 minute walking from the Jaisalmer Fort and it’s a great idea to visit both places on the same day!
  • Duration – 2 hours

3. Jain Temples

Constructed by Jain Hermits, the Diwala style Jain temples of Jaisalmer are ancient temples, which were built during the 12th century. They are considered among the best and most beautiful Jain temples in the entire world.

What I loved most about these Jain temples is the amount of detail that goes into its architecture. The walls are covered with beautiful figurines and carvings of people and animals.

One of the most famous Jain temples can be found in the Jaisalmer fort, the Astapadhi Temple. It’s a little tucked away in the many, many alleys of the fort but there are multiple signs throughout the city pointing you in the right direction.

Visiting the Jain temple is by far one of the best activities in Jaisalmer!

  • Opening hours – Every day from 7am to 12pm
  • Entrance fee – INR 10 (+ INR 50 for a camera fee)
  • Duration – 1 to 2 hours

4. Bada Bagh

Visiting Bada Bagh, also known as the Barra Bagh Temple, is a garden complex and one of the more unique things to do in Jaisalmer. It’s located on a hill top, around 7 km northwards of Jaisalmer so it will require some driving.

It features a series of royal cenotaphs or chatris of Jaisalmer Maharajas. All of the cenotaphs here have a beautifully carved ceiling and elegant equestrian statues of rulers.

It’s a beautiful places in Jaisalmer to visit for sunset!

10 Unique Things To Do In Jaisalmer - The Golden City of India
  • Opening hours – Everyday from 9am to 6pm
  • Entrance fee – INR 100
  • How to get there – As this is a very famous tourist attraction of Jaisalmer, you will easily find a cab or a rental vehicle to drop you to the foothills. Besides, there are regular bus services to transfer you between Ramgarh bus station and Bada Bagh, Jaisalmer.
  • Duration – 1 hour

5. Thar Desert

Jaisalmer is located in the heart of the Thar Desert, also known as the Great Indian Desert which also forms the natural border between India and Pakistan.

Visting the Thar Desert or enjoying an overnight in the Thar Desert is one of the top things to do when visiting Jaisalmer.

You can go for a camel ride along the Sam sand dunes or enjoy a bonfire dinner underneath a starlit sky.

Often your hotel can organise a tour for you and I highly recommend doing so!

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