The heat was incredible. The city rose out of the Thar desert 150kms from the Pakistan border. The triangular mound of rock rising out of the desert is said to have been prophesied for the settlement Krishna’s descendants. King Jaisal founded the city in 1156 and the 12th century fort was home to all of the city’s residences. Now 3,000 live inside the winding streets of the fort, it’s four gates hidden from each other, 99 bastions looking out. The city earns its name as the golden city everything formed by twinkling sandstone. There were said to be 2 and a half sieges over the cities history in which mass suicide of the women took place once the outlook was deemed, and the men would fight the last battle to the death. Now the city spills beyond the walls, the royal family and two of the four castes living inside in their inherited housing. We walked amongst the winding walls of the palace. It was incredible to see the housing laying out far beyond into the endless horizons.
We also visited the man made lake of Jaisalmer which was looking rather depleted approaching the monsoon season. Inside floating temples made for great vantage points into the muddy waters where so many catfish fought to stay below the surface as if the lake was more fish than water.
The towns streets were once again lined with havelis, everyone vying for the most unique, impressive and ornate houses. The carving work was beautiful, a lot made using the local resource of camel bone. On visiting the inside we saw an insight into many more local traditions, including the seven chillis and a lime hanging in each entrance way to ward off bad spirits. It is to be changed once a week, throwing the original from the window. Squashing the lime on the streets below is said to bring good luck.
The only way to spend the heat of the day was in the pool, our appetites all waining in the heat. In the early evening we made for the Sam sand dunes to ride camels. Mine was called Lucky, Bex’s Michael Jackson and David’s Rahu Rahu. Daisy’s got the nickname club foot for its lazy lolloping walk, however it was mine who ended up at the back. The scenery was beautiful and we stopped atop the winding sands to watch the sun meet the horizon before heading to a small desert camp to watch some entertainment. The women were highly decorated, many sequins and mirrors sewn into the dress to twinkle with each hip shake. Men performed on the drums and danced with fire and tyres. Rather uncomfortably to watch, the lady then took to the local performance of dancing on broken glass and blades once used to entertain the King.