India – Jaisalmer

 

301148_10150776423495462_5755848_nJaisalmer


Stepping off our cool aircon train was immensely overwhelming, as we were greeted by Jaisalmers 48°C climate. Never before in all of our lives had we felt heat like it, and it can only be compared to sticking….

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your head in an oven.  Situated in the barren Thar desert, it is understandable why this city holds such a testing climate, and if we’re to be honest, we did wonder initially why on earth we had ventured here as the heat was rather unbearable.  Like every other aspect of travelling, when comfort zones are left and new experiences are faced, you do adapt, and the climate is something we have slowly felt more comfortable in since our arrival 4 days ago.  Our desire to adapt and manage in this dry heat has been spurred on by the mesmerising beauty of this incredible place.

Jaisalmer is phenomenal!  How Impressive it was to see the fort, rising up out the dust like a huge vibrant yellow sand castle.  Home to 4000 locals, it’s truly spectacular, with its narrow streets, filled with bustling colourful shops, beautiful arts and craft’s to buy and it’s fair share of cows.
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Our accommodation is right in the heart of the fort, ‘Hotel Victoria,’ and this place we can’t recommend highly enough!  Our room is spacious, beautifully decorated, keeping a traditional Rajastani theme with a pale yellow stone bathroom and plenty of vibrant splashes of colour throughout.  We awake in the morning and open our curtains to a gorgeous view over Jaisalmer city, similar to the view offered on the hotels roof top seating area, full of plumped cushions making a real little oasis to relax in the heat.  The owner/ manager of Hotel Victoria has been so welcoming and friendly and has gone above and beyond to make our stay here as pleasant as possible, for example, providing us with a huge unopened crate of bottled mineral water free of charge.  His reasons were due to it being so hot and he wanted his guests to stay hydrated, and enjoy their stay.
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Initially we spent a large proportion of our first day here in our room, simply down to the fact we were relying on the aircon to keep us from combusting from the heat outside our door.  Since then we’ve hatched a plan that seems to be working, which is to switch our aircon off 30 minutes prior to leaving the room, which allows us to acclimatise to the weather at a slightly slower rate than just stepping out the door from cool aircon to desert heat.  These 30 minutes have been daunting yet rather amusing, as what a sight it’s been to see each other with sweat leaking out of every pore, clothes soaking wet within minutes and sun cream dripping into our eyes.
Most nights we’ve been disturbed due to India‘s notorious power cuts.  This is no reflection on Hotel Victoria, as they effect every hotel in the area.  We lie in bed, trying not to move a muscle, trying not to panic, as the temperature rockets up to high 40’s.  As soon as we’re ready to have a melt down (literally), on comes the aircon, thank heavens!
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Travel Tip: As well as these power cuts disrupting the aircon, which is a great annoyance, especially for travellers, they pose a far greater threat to us, which must always be remembered.  Power cuts mean all refrigerators/freezers go off also, resulting in frozen and chilled foods for example ice cream, thawing.  The power comes back on and the food is once again returned back to its needed temperature.  The problem is it now has dangerous bacteria on it, which will not be killed by the refreeze, and will make those ingesting it extremely ill with a nasty stomach bug. Foods to watch out for in particular are meats, ice cream, and lassi’, and although the latter two in particular are craved most, in the heat of India, they should be left alone if travellers wish to stay healthy.
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Since our arrival in Jaisalmer, we have befriended another local rickshaw driver ‘Kamal,’ who has made our time here so magical with his kind personal touch to sight seeing.  Initially he took us to all the popular spots, markets to buy juicy mangoes, a snake temple (where there were no snakes in sight), a lake to feed it’s cat fish and fabric shops to buy patchwork wall hangings.  He then recommended his family could do our laundry for us, so we had the opportunity to meet his family, and we spent some time being introduced to his children.  Their small stone house, with only two rooms, was extremely basic, yet his three children seemed proud of it nonetheless, and eagerly brought out their simple toys to show us.  The family’s hospitality was one we will never forget.
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