I arrived in the city early in the morning and by the time the sun was rising, I was already checked in to the hotel, drinking chai on the rooftop and taking sunrise photos of the fort. The distant vantage point of the fort proved to be the most flattering one. At the closer encounter, you mostly get to admire carpets and “pashmina” scarves displayed in the shops along its streets. Even the Palace was underwhelming. The only redeeming value inside the fort was the Jain Temple, but unfortunately, you couldn’t take photographs inside. At least I had a flashlight with me to illuminate the beautiful carvings, so even if I had the camera… I probably couldn’t do much with it in the dark.
More impressive than the fort and the palace were the havelis – residences of wealthy Jaisalmerians. In contrast to the fort, they were more intricately decorated and better preserved. Some are still inhabited (kind of like the Newport mansions), but others you can visit. The most impressive one is the Patwon ki Haveli, comprised of five different houses built by a wealthy merchant for his five sons and complete with the 19th century furniture and house wares.
Another interesting “attraction”, listed under the Eating section in the LP, is the government-run Bhang Shop, situated just outside the fort walls. It sells lassis, juice and cookies (regular and extra-strength). Even though the place never seemed busy, it was always, in the proper Indian fashion, fully staffed; customers never lingered for too long and if it was just one person running the shop, he or she would just be bored.