The road to Jaisalmer was again bordered by hundreds of pilgrims close to their destination, many sporting flags.
As we approached the desert town of Jaisalmer, the looming fort begins to dominate the skyline. Built of locally quarried sandstone, this massive construction stretches high above the plains of the surrounding desert. Arriving at the beautiful Killa Bhawan Guesthouse, we were warmly welcomed and told to make our stay like it was our home…..we did and the wonderful staff made our stay a special experience. 3000 people live within the fort’s walls, although no-one has legal paperwork showing ownership of their property. When the Maharaja built it, homes were offered to those who were his workers, therefore the houses cannot be sold, but are passed on to family members. Killa Bhawan has combined several local houses to create a really interesting combination or rooms, courtyards and terraces that overlook the hustle and bustle of the city below. The staff were absolutely brilliant, no where else in our travels have we been offered chai tea throughout the day.
A walking tour of the city was focused on the beautiful architecture of the local havelis with their detailed and intricate carving. Able to see the local community without the nagging hawkers chirping. What we have noticed most about this beautiful city is how clean it is. Ladies are employed to keep the streets clean and WOW it makes a difference.
Visited a lake where the Maharajah of the time refused to allow a gateway to remain built because a rich prostitute had built it. He had ordered it to be demolished, however the clever woman sensing the Maharajah’s ire built a temple to Shiva above the gate, thus ensuring it could not be destroyed.
Next day went to the Khulgars, an 18th century village that was abandoned by the entire Brahman population, when they were being overtaxed by the Jaisalmer governor after he was refused the hand in marriage of a local woman. Rumor says that one night, they all left and no-one knows where they went……Believe it or not?
This afternoon we farewell Killa Bhawan and head to the station for a 12 hour overnighter to the capital of Rajastan, Jaipur