I’ll start by sharing a word of advice. Most people will say that 2 days are enough here. But if you’re a slow traveller, you should spend 4 days here. I didn’t have a lot of time on my hands so I could only stay in Jaisalmer for 2 nights but I could’ve easily spent an entire week there. Purely because I’m a slow traveller who loves the vibe of a lazy small town. I booked my stay at this place called Hostelavie.
Really good hostel and staff but to my surprise, it was empty. And I went in the month of December so it was all the more surprising to me because December is supposed to be peak travel season. When I spoke to the owner he told me that a lot of hotels and hostels have taken a hit this year because very few tourists have visited.
In any case, I didn’t mind having the entire hostel (sort of) to myself. I had taken a flight from Ahmedabad and had reached my hostel around 2pm. I took a cab from Jaisalmer airport to Hostelavie and that cost me 750 rupees. After I reached the hostel and checked-in, I stepped out for some lunch. There was this place right across my hostel called Hotel Shahi Palace. Hotel Shahi Palace had a really nice rooftop restaurant from where you could see the Jaisalmer Fort. They only served vegetarian food but it was simple and good nonetheless. I ordered Kadai Paneer with 3 rotis which was good and sufficient for me.
I spent a good couple of hours just chilling at the rooftop restaurant then returned to my hostel. If you’re a dog lover, there’s all the more reason for you to book a stay at Jaisalmer’s Hostelavie. There’s this really adorable and friendly dog named John Dolson there. Usually in his own world but he’s super friendly. So I played with him for like an hour after which I went to check out the Jaisalmer Fort. The fort is really really huge and so damn gorgeous. If anything, it’s a whole new world of its own. There’s like a massive town living inside the fort with cafes, hotels, houses, shops, temples and markets all of it inside the fort itself.
I went to Chris Cafe which was supposed to be a famous cafe inside the fort for a sunset view. Both the cafe and the view were good and I had a glass of Ginger Lemon Honey Tea with some cheese pakoras. But my friend had told me about another spot so I went there. If you walk straight ahead from Chris Cafe, you’ll reach this place which is like a small partially constructed house with a staircase leading upstairs.
The view from there is glorious and you get to see one full side of Jaisalmer. And surprisingly, nobody visits that spot. Or maybe that was just because when I went, Jaisalmer barely had any tourists in general. Without even realizing, I had spent over 2 hours at the fort itself and I had not even explored half of it.
By this time, I was really elated and wanted to take things up a notch. So I did the best thing possible to lift my spirits up higher. So I left the fort and went to the Government Authorised Bhang Shop. Man there was so much of variety and so much to choose from. I kept it simple and asked for a glass of lassi with medium strength. They also had regular and super strong. The taste was brilliant and I felt really refreshed. The man there also told me they sell bhang biscuits and chocolates. I thought I’ll come later and buy it. A word of advice here. Just because they’re legally selling cannabis related products doesn’t mean we shouldn’t keep a check on ourselves. So if you’re ever here, please consume these things responsibly.
I spent some 15-20 minutes talking to the guy then left to eat dinner. Went to a restaurant called 1st Gate Home Fusion for dinner. It’s very close to the fort and is an Italian restaurant. I directly went to their terrace seating and the view from there was unexplainably stunning. Once again, I had the fort in my view but it was different this time. Completely lit up and glimmering in the dark of the night. So with that view, I ordered myself a beer and a pizza. They’re also a vegetarian restaurant but their food is legit and undoubtedly delicious. Definitely much better than any pizza I’ve eaten from Dominoes. It’s not necessarily cheap but for the quality you get, the price is justified.
By the time I was done eating, it was around 9:30. So I decided to walk back to my hostel and just peacefully chillout at the terrace area. Goes without saying, the bhang lassi had kicked in before the dinner itself and that was the case even 4 hours later. It was so fun and the super frigid weather of Jaisalmer made it all the more exciting. Even though I was shivering, I wanted to just laze around in one of the bed-type seating arrangements at the rooftop of Hostelavie. I was paying 499 rupees for one night plus taxes in a mixed 4 bed dorm. If you ask me, staying here was the best decision I made and it was well worth the price. Plus, the view of the golden glimmering fort from the roof is so damn beautiful.
The next morning, I had breakfast at my hostel and decided to be lazy till noon. Jaisalmer’s weather during winter really makes every place so cozy that you just want to laze out. My hostel’s rooftop became my personal chilling spot of sorts. Eventually, I left for some lunch and decided to just walk around and randomly pick a place which appeals to me. To my luck, I came across Kebab Corner Restaurant. And I was really craving some non-veg food. I would definitely recommend this place to anyone who wants to eat good and tasty non-veg food in Jaisalmer. I ordered the Chicken Afghani with tandoori rotis and it was amazing!
I really love the small-town vibe of Jaisalmer and how you can literally walk down to everyplace. The people here are also really sweet and friendly. After having lunch, I went back to my hostel and decided to laze out at the rooftop. A couple of people had just checked-in who were also chilling on the roof. Eventually, we got ourselves acquainted with each other. Shared a joint and a couple of stories and eventually, we went our separate ways. They were going to visit the fort and I had plans to visit the Gadisar Lake. I don’t remember but it only took me around 20-25 minutes to walk from my hostel to the lake.
I love how you can explore everything in Jaisalmer by foot and it doesn’t really tire you out. I’m so glad that I took the time to visit the lake. It was so peaceful here and the sight was very soothing to me. What a great place it was to watch the sunset. If you take a walk on the backside of the lake area, you’ll come across a couple of really cool abandoned structures and also a temple that’s situated on the lake. The otherside of the lake is like a deserted land with a few bushes here and there. There’s a path there which is on a little higher ground. That’s the path you should take to come across those abandoned or partially ruined structures.
After spending some time at the site of Gadisar Lake, I went back to the Bhang Shop to have another cold one. Spent 2k for 10 super strong bhang biscuits which I carried for my friends and myself. Then I walked around the bylanes around that area. I honestly felt like I was in a maze and had no idea where I was going. I was lost in those really dark and narrow alleys. A couple of times, some locals saw me and asked if I needed help but I was more than happy to just wander around. But the area is so small that eventually no matter how deep you go, you end up reaching the fort road. The rajasthani style architecture and the small houses definitely caught my eye. There’s something therapeutic about walking in the local streets of Jaisalmer.
Eventually, I went back to my hostel rooftop and enjoyed the effects of the tasty Bhang Lassi. Had my dinner at the hostel itself. Since it was my last night and I had a flight at 1, I stayed up a little late 2 or 3 am. At one point, I was accompanied by John Dolson and the hostel’s owner too and both were really good companions. One thing is for sure, Jaisalmer during winter is supremely cosy and a dreamland for slow and lazy travellers like myself. The warm and welcoming people here makes the town an even better place to visit. Then again, the majestic sites and structures here are also undeniably fascinating. 2 nights were not enough for me but I had no option at that point. Rest assured, I will take care of the unfinished business soon as I have the opportunity.