Jaisalmer – A Surreal Reality
I really didn’t know what to expect from the first stop on my tour d’ India. Jaisalmer – The Golden City! After 20 hours on the sleeper train, I was anxious to get out and check’r out. The Great Thar Desert – sounded so mysterious! What we found was not only mysterious, it was also completely surreal, straight off the set of some movie set in the distant past. Jaisalmer is the last living fort in India where within the fortress walls people live and work. It is a fort built out of sandstone, with the most delicate of carvings decorating its walls and buildings. Narrow streets wind this way and that and somewhere around 2500 people live inside the fort, with another 70,000 people in the city that has grown around it.
Simply surreal – a sand castle in the Great Thar Desert!
On our first afternoon as we were out for a walk to stretch our legs, the wind picked up, sand started blowing and clouds quickly rolled in. Residents of this dry city started whooping and whistling and we soon found out why: RAIN! It had only rained about 10-15 minutes so far in 2014, and they needed a good soaking. It rained hard for about an hour and the city came alive!
This was also my first introduction to the Holy Cow, the Sacred Bovine! You hear they are everywhere in India, you see it in the movies, but you really don’t understand just How. Many. Cows. there are wandering around, until you get here. The narrow streets and alleys made it all the more impactful as cows, motor bikes and pedestrians all had to squeeze through the small spaces. I suspect you’ll be seeing many more pictures of cows in my posts, so for now, only one:
We had 2 days in this beautiful place and because of the rain, the temperature stayed cool. Jaisalmer is in the state of Rajasthan, which is one of the most culturally diverse in all of India. It is a state that has been conquered several times and changed hands many times throughout history. We were only 50 miles from the Pakistan border and the people, clothing, language and customs seemed more similar to its neighbor than to Delhi, where we’d just been.
Everyone always says that there are so many versions of India. From the little I’ve seen, I believe it! This is a version of India I’ll take any day: