For a day off it was pretty busy with a morning visit to the walled Jaisalmer Fort which is built on a rock outcrop with commanding views over the surrounding Thar desert. From the hotel it was a short drive to the town where we were transported up the hill by tuk tuks. Once inside our very knowledgeable guide took us on a tour of the local havelis and finer points of the town, then it was another tuk tuk drive through the buzzing market area, with narrow streets and a teeming local populous going about their daily business. We were on the hunt for bargains and were not disappointed, with several of our participants buying local tapestries, table runners and woven cloths.
Tour over we returned to the hotel for a fine lunch, rest and preparation for the evening activities. Collected at 4.30 we were driven to a desert camp outside Jaislamer and embarked on our own caravanserai to the dunes on camels. A fun trip to watch the sunset followed by a ride back in the gloom as the light disappeared rapidly. Local tourists were less interested in the ship of the desert, choosing instead to raucously thunder along in open top jeeps, music blaring and shouting and screaming in delight. A large crowd collected some distance away from us at a point where jeeps are allowed. Far enough away not to disturb the tranquillity of the evening.
Returning to our camp we were entertained by a local music and dance troupe in front of a blazing fire while sipping local beers, wines and spirits. An authentic desert meal followed, then we returned to our hotel exhausted and ready for a comfortable night’s sleep.