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Jaisalmer

India

1/5 Jaisalmer fort - something of a giant sandcastle in the middle of the desert
Jaisalmer fort - something of a giant sandcastle in the middle of the desert
2/5 Entry gate to Jaisalmer Fort
Entry gate to Jaisalmer Fort
3/5 Villagers come to Jaisalmer from the surrounding desert to stock up on supplies
Villagers come to Jaisalmer from the surrounding desert to stock up on supplies
4/5 Sunset in the Rajastani desert
Sunset in the Rajastani desert
5/5 Women carrying water in the Thar Desert
Women carrying water in the Thar Desert

Rising from the sands of the Thar Desert like a golden mirage, there’s something quite magical about Jaisalmer

Rising from the sands of the Thar Desert like a golden mirage, there’s something quite magical about Jaisalmer.  Founded in 1156 it was an important defence and trade town for centuries on the camel caravan routes between India and Central Asia.

Despite now being on the tourist trail it maintains the character of a frontier town. The massive fort is still inhabited and its jumble of havelis with intricately carved facades, Jain temples, palaces and myriad shops are embraced by thick yellow sandstone walls and 99 sturdy bastions. The medieval lanes are a real labyrinth and you are bound to get lost, along with a few meandering cows that seem to have the same problem.  The locals are friendly and will point you in the right direction, though possibly via a diversion to their shop.

In recent years Jaisalmer has become a victim of its own success. The presence of visitors who demand a plentiful supply of water in the many guest houses and small hotels has caused a drainage problem that is causing the fort walls to crack and crumble. For this reason, we only use accommodation outside the fort and these tend to be larger resort style hotels, or camps further away, but we hope this will help to protect Jaisalmer’s heritage.

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A few of our favourite places to stay:

Sun downers on the dune, The Serai

The Serai

The Serai is an unexpected oasis in the middle of

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Who to talk to

Andrea Hulme

Andrea Hulme’s travel experiences could fill a small novel; from a bit-part in a Tamil movie, to leading expeditions in Kyrgyzstan and negotiating landslides along the Karakoram highway.

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At Natural High, we've had long experience putting together trips in Africa that really work. Whether it's intimate bushcamps in out of the way places, or a private lodge in one of Africa's top-billing wildlife areas, light mobile camping or remote island escapes, we know there is a lot to choose from. We're absolutely confident that we can recommend the right places for you.

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