19.02.2013 ►Jaisalmer City

Published: 20.06.2013
Updated: 20.06.2013

Next day was our last in the “golden city“ of Jaisalmer. We wanted to use the opportunity for a stroll through the town. The past days had been a little bit exhausting, and so we decided to start softly this one. Getting up not too early, having some relaxed breakfast, and then ready to discover the town. Not on the way to another destination or a sightseeing project, but focused on city life and its people. We crossed the square around the corner of our hotel and passed the first big portal in direction of the Fort. While walking one could not help but wondering how motor Rikshas, animals, and people came across each other. The narrow streets are rather tight. But climate is a good explanation for this. During the hot summer months from April to August maximum temperatures of 42°C are no exception, cooling down at night to 25°C. Closely built houses are shady.

During the winter months from mid-November until end of February the day temperatures are not higher than 25°C, and can go down at night to 7°C. In the Jaisalmer region of the Thar Desert there is nearly no monsoon, annual precipitation amount is at 15 cc on a square metre. Nevertheless it might suddenly start raining.

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Narrow street in Jaisalmer’s historic centre

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A beautiful location for reading the newspaper

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Eye-catching violet French windows

The whole town gives the impression of interim arrangement. Construction work anywhere is in progress, and sometimes one doubts if the building yet is to complete or offered to decline already. Not too astonishing if one looks at the increasing growth of population in the past decades. Many rural people have moved into town to try their fortune. In the rural areas there is no chance for employment. Last not least, Jaisalmer has developed into a popular tourist destination. Even the town’s rhythm has adjusted to the visitors’. While Europeans in India tend to wonder at what early hour people are on their legs here, ready for work, in Jaisalmer many shops still were closed when we started our tour. At noon only the narrow streets were slowly filled with clients and other rubbernecks like us.

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Drapery with taloring nearby  

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The drapery in the half-finished building was opened already

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Here a cow also is part of cityscape

Quite some of the new-built houses are adorned with those traditional fronts Jaisalmer has become famous for. The ancient Havelis apparently have supported this tendency. Everybody here is aware on the tourists’ keen interest in them.

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Fruits and vegetables carefully are arranged and stacked appealingly

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On the central square before the last gate to the Fort yet was more life in front of the imposing scenery

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Handicraft in full working mode!

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Even customers by now are on their ways

Anywhere hastily erected buildings are visible, where mainly restaurants or draperies are housed. Tourism seems to have taken over what caravans used to be, to grant the living of many. Hopefully this caravan does not move on too soon, but becomes a stable livelihood for many. Completion of the many new-built houses certainly is a desirable contribution to the cityscape, and the brave inhabitants are requested to keep their chin up in spite of the conquest-like quantity of visitors. Perhaps the airport completed two years ago will rather soon be opened for civil aviation as well.

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Jag, owner of the hotel Australia Blue International, born and grown up in Jaisalmer, returned there from Australia.

We discussed our departure scheduled for next morning with Jag. We planned to go relaxed by car from Jaisalmer to Jodhpur, and therefore again rented a car with driver (left-hand traffic with unintelligible traffic rules for strangers) through him. Train or bus would have brought us to destination at inconvenient times only. For Jodhpur Jag provided us with the phone number of a Jain family, good friends of his. We were anticipatory if a meeting with them was possible. We knew that they were in Jodhpur. But later more on this. For the last evening we wanted to witness an ultimate sunset at Suri Dungar. Weather was perfect, so we only had to care for being in the right place at the right time.

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This hotel caught our attention.

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And so did its court yard.

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Left turn from the main road, passing the hotel shown above, straight forward to the stairs! We were not the only ones heading for Suri Dungar this evening.

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Where did these small traders come from? Suddenly they appeared and offered their goods, perfectly fitting to the majority of those assembled on the hill.

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But the lovely view on the town at our feet and the hills with the setting sun at the horizon caught our eyes.

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Sun with halo and two flying by birds

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That’s worth three attempts, isn’t it?

Slideshow [more photos]

Video: Jaisalmer Streets & Fort

Sources
Photos by HN4U
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