Written by Miranda Zhang, published by Lynn Zhang
"When I was standing in the land of Jaisalmer, India, Tagore' s Flying Fire came into my head : Leave no trace of wings in the air, but I am glad I have had my flight. That's how I felt at that moment."
-Miranda, Travel Consultant at Odyssey Tours
A traveler once told me: "Jaisalmer is a lovely and relaxing place to escape from busy life." Somehow, I deeply believed in her words, and since then had been eager to explore this wonderland. Luckily, this April, I got the chance to realize this dream with my friends.
Every old city has facts to declare and uniqueness to wonder. Located deep inside the famous Thar Desert, Jaisalmer - the Golden City - is one such city. Once upon a time, Jaisalmer was a busy pit stop on the Silk Route, but now, it becomes a mysterious treasure buried in the sand. "Now, how's it?" I was very curious.
Above the Jaisalmer Fort, the sky was pure blue.
No clouds. No birds. There was nothing in the sky. When we came to Jaisalmer Fort with our guide, I recognized that I would have no regrets to come to such a pure place.
As one of the largest forts in the world, Jaisalmer Fort is declared a World Heritage Site. Every part of Jaisalmer Fort is made of soft yellow Jurassic sandstone. During the day, the walls are tawny, and they fades to honey-gold when the sun sets, which makes the fort camouflaged in the desert. So, it is also known as the Sonar Quila or Golden Fort. Unlike any other forts in India, Jaisalmer fort is actually a fort city with thousands of people residing within its walls.
We gasped with admiration at the elaborated architecture.
The fort is honeycombed with narrow lanes, lined with houses and temples; and there are lots of handicraft shops, guesthouses and restaurants. There is a charming maze of narrow lanes. "You need to follow close behind me, or you may get lost," the guide told us.
We walked along the narrow lane to explore the fort.
Handicraft shops were worth a visit for tourists.
Exploring deeper, we were inquisitive about the wall painting of Ganesha on some houses. "This is a special invitation," our guided explained. "Lord Ganesha, the son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, is regarded as the patron of the family in India. So, it is a custom here to paint a Ganesha to announce a wedding. The couple's names and the date of the wedding are given. This is a way of open invitation – anyone can come along, regardless of if they know the families involved or not."
The wall painting of Ganesha was regarded as the invitation for weddings.
Thanks to the windy doors well-designed by the ancient architects, we could find somewhere to take a rest and enjoy the cool in such a hot day. At this moment, I still got lost in everything in sight: the unique architecture reflecting the collision of different cultures, the rope skipping girls, the clothes hanging women, as well as the meal delivering boys… Everything was a necessary part of this little world.
The street view in the fort was also attractive.
The children's innocent smile left me a deep impression.
After leaving Jaisalmer Fort, we moved farther west. In the car, our focus shifted to the Sikh driver – Saudagar. Saudagar told us that usually, Sikh men wore a peaked turban that covered their long hair, and this was never cut out of respect for God's creation; devout Sikhs even did not cut their beards, so many Sikh men tucked up the facial hair into turbans along with the hair. I've heard once that "Sikhs look serious and rude", but this Sikh driver, with 11 years driving experience, was very easygoing, careful, and always gave us a big smile.
Our Sikh driver, Saudagar told us he had many turbans with different colors.
About 20 minutes later, we arrived at , where we stayed for the night. "Namaste! (Hello!)" The hotel representative gave us a warm greeting, and then a girl in beautiful sari, holding a silver plate went towards us. She gave us a wreath of flowers and a red dot on our foreheads, saying "It's the unique way of blessing in India, which will ward off evil spirits and brings you good luck!"
On our arrival, these enthusiastic people in the hotel greeted us with characteristic dance and singing.
The hotel is like a beautiful castle.
Sunlight dappled the path through the windows.
Then we set our luggage and headed to the most attracting place - sand dunes. No trip to Jaisalmer is complete without visiting the silky Sam Sand Dunes, which is about 2km long and is undeniably one of the picturesque in the region. A camel safari here is an unforgettable experience, so we were excited to have a try.
Our camels were waiting for us near the road.
"This is Michael Jackson. He's a boy!" A young man with beautiful long eyelash walked towards me and passionately introduced his camel. Then he told me: "Hang on tight, and don't let go! This is the only tip to ride a camel." I rode on it, and only now did I realize how awesome the dunes were. "Wow! That's fascinating!" I couldn't help saying.
Here we started our journey.
We rode on camels, and started the exciting tour.
The camel team was walking towards the towering dune.
We met other camel teams from time to time.
About an hour later, we reached the towering dune and had a panoramic view of the whole desert. This was so stunning that all of us kept silence: as the sun was slowly going down the horizon, the burning light of the sun got dull and it looked like a huge disc of orange. Everything was almost still and made the scene look like a painting from a master. The scene was truly beautiful.
Watching the orange sunset quietly, we found everything still.
Enjoying its charm, I seemed to understand why so many poets across the world were full of emotional thoughts during the sunset. For me, the feeling was implicit, not explainable, but for poets, they shared their minds through poems.
The photos might help us to memorize this precious moment with the lovely camel and the rosy sunset.
The man playing the traditional melodious music heightened the wonder of the tour.
Night falling, we were reluctant to leave the Sam Sand Dunes, and went back to the hotel.
As soon as we arrived, we found that with twinkling stars in the sky and lightening candles on the ground, the hotel was full of fantasies. Not only the hotel, but the whole day tour was like a mysterious strength, that led us into another amazing world – a world of poem.
But today's tour was just a line from the poem named Jaisalmer, and I felt like reading more in the future.
The lightening candles on the ground set a romantic mood.
There are a thousand Hamlets in a thousand people's eyes, and you need to read this poem by your own, with your own eyes. So now, you are welcome to tailor-make a discovering tour including this unique Indian Poem and our excellent travel consultant team will offer a quote and expert travel advice within 24 hours!