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Friday, April 17, 2015

Rajasthan 2015 - Feb 10th - Day 7: Jaisalmer Sight-seeing and Sam Sand Dunes

Before I relate my account of the 7th day of our amazing Rajasthan trip, I must tell you about the Golden Palace Hotel where we spent yesterday evening and today until after breakfast, when we checked out to go for local sight-seeing. Golden Palace Hotel is a new hotel in the city. It was really golden in colour! Inside, we had one large, deluxe room and one slightly smaller room, both on the same floor. The host was both the receptionist as well as the owner, and within the limits of what he was offering, I must say that this hotel has the most colourful and well-decorated rooms.

Here are some pictures of the hotel and the rooms:

Our door
The decorative mirror and table
The seating area of our room
A view of our large room (the left half of it)
Another view of our room (the other half)
A wall hanging inside our room
The outside corridor
The facade of the hotel
They served us freshly cooked light dinner on the previous night, and, in the morning, we were served poha, omelettes and so on on the terrace of the building.

After our breakfast, we set out in our car for local sight-seeing. The chief attraction of the city are the "havelis" of the erstwhile patwas. Nathmal's Haveli is the biggest and the best known of all. This is part of a 5-brother chain of houses located inside a lane. We visited this haveli, and then a few more, until we were exhausted from visiting so many residences. At one of the havelis, their original iron-cast locks, lights, etc. was on sale, and we bought a few of these. Here are memories of this journey.

The exterior of the Nathmal Haveli

Sitting room wall

Dolls

The business ledgers of the patwas

Looking down upon the courtyard (where there is a shop for buying carpets etc.)

A sample of  locks
A game of old chess

Kitchen
Looking out of an internal balcony

A Musical instrument

Another haveli

Carvings detail

A lovely ceiling light
After those havelis, we also visited a Jain temple in Jaisalmer. They had excellent sculptures on the walls, torans, ceilings, etc. I will just add a few pictures for your consumption.







It was time now to move out of Jaisalmer city and proceed to Sam Sand dunes for the rest of the day and a night in the tents in the desert. The car ride takes just under a few hours. You reach an area of the desert where there are multiple camping sites run by different owners. The camping site where we stayed was owned by the brother of the guy who ran a similar camping site in Ranthambor. This one was better; they had a real campfire at night, much better Rajasthani folk dance and song, and better tents as well - but I am getting a little ahead of myself. 

The first thing we did after a ceremonial check-in was to have tea and then proceed by our own car to the dunes where the hotel's own manager awaited us with two camels. The camel safari was included in our package, and the ride across the dunes was something we would cherish for a long time to come. As the shadows lengthened, our desire to stay there became even more keen, but it was time to go as the skies darkened. The time we had included romping about on the dunes, a viewing of a desert sunset, a folk show by a poor dad-daughter couple who performed a song, dance and music routine of about 1 minute for just 20 rupees, and some excellent photographs for posterity. Additionally welcome was the awkwardness of a camel that stands up from the sitting position to start the ride, and sits down with you (and your partner in the back-seat) ... an unique experience!










After this, we returned to our camp, where, after dinner, a female dancer and a native orchestra of singers entertained us for the next few hours. The management even served starters free at the campfire site. A few pictures. This ends this entry. I hope you liked it! Do comment ...





That is all in this lengthy entry. Thank you for reading!

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