Destination Inspiration: Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India

Destination Inspiration: Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India

Buckle up for a dusty adventure through the sun-scorched city of Jaisalmer. Dotted with bustling bazaars and sultry drinking dens, this is a must-visit destination on any Indian itinerary.


Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India.

Why now?

India’s largest state, Rajasthan encompasses 10
per cent of the country’s total area. Between the rose-hued streets
of Jaipur, the ethereal Narlai village and Jawai’s sprawling hills
lives a romantic city of epic sandcastle forts, crumbling havelis
and wild desert scenery: welcome to “the Golden City”,
better known as Jaisalmer.

Located on the westernmost edge of Rajasthan, this dusty,
dazzling destination is known for its coral-coloured havelis,
vibrant bazaars and a looming fort that seemingly springs straight
from the sandy plains. Behind the jungle of sandstone buildings is
a labyrinth of narrow passageways lined by Jain temples, gorgeous
guesthouses, fragrant restaurants and boutiques swathed in
colourful textiles. Buckle up your sandals and prepare to explore
the abundance of cultures and traditions found in Jaisalmer’s
sun-bleached streets for yourself.

Market, Jaisalmer
Camel, Jaisalmer Desert

A clothing boutique, left, and a camel in the Thar Desert. |
Photo credit: Anshu & Ravisankar /

Don’t miss

Jaisalmer Fort. This architectural marvel was built in 1156 by
King Rawal Jaisal. Spanning some 460m in length and stretching 230m
wide, its honey-hued walls house palaces, temples, wells and
havelis – many of which are the residences of descendants of the
complex’s original Brahmin and Rajput communities. There are four
grand entrance gates – Ganesh Pol, Suraj Pol, Bhoot Pol and Hawa
Pol – each with intricate carvings and delicately designed windows
and doors. To best drink in its visual splendour, visit at golden

Where to stay?

Bed down at Suryagarh. A fort-like edifice modelled on ancient
temples, with intricate latticework, stone-carved pillars and
lantern-lit courtyards, it is an oasis of luxury amid these dusty,
sun-scorched surroundings. Bounce across the blonde dunes or settle
for the ultimate spa day, where hot stones, scrubbing and
pummelling are all on the menu. The in-house restaurant, Legend of
Marwar, also delivers the goods, serving up traditional dishes
infused with aromatic herbs and spices.

Where to go for dinner?

Sitting pretty in the heart of the city, The Trio is the sort of
place that you come to for the vibe just as much as for the grub.
Set on a rooftop atop Mandir Palace hotel, the tented space
features woven fabrics in rich, jewel-like colours and traditional
decor. Seats look like Persian rugs and tables are dressed in crisp
white linens, while the menu is packed with authentic Rajasthani
cuisine. Plan your visit for 7pm: that way, you have a strong
chance of bagging one of the seats that overlook the beautiful old

Jaisalmer, India

Jaisalmer Fort, left, and a snapshot of the city. | Photo
credit: Josephine Thomas & Akash Chaduhary /

And for a drink…

As the sun sinks, slip into Draksh. You’d be forgiven for walking straight past
this unassuming address, but step past its gritty exterior to
experience a taste of the city’s sexiest and sultriest drinking
den. With soft lighting and curved archways, dark wooden
furnishings and chairs laden with printed cushions, it’s the kind
of place where you’re going to want to linger, working your way
through the entire cocktail menu. No judgement.

Who to take with you?

Someone who willingly ventures further afield than the Central
Line. They’ll have no qualms about the long-haul flight or, when in
situ, exploring the city’s warren-like backstreets.

Essentials to pack

We’ve all found ourselves unpacking our belongings to find that
yet another one of our treasured lipsticks has gone for a wander.
Keep your bits and bobs in one organised space by grabbing this
Liberty wash bag – the perfect solution for
stashing those all-important skincare and beauty essentials while
on the move.

How to get there

No airlines fly direct from the UK to Jaisalmer. We suggest
flying from London Heathrow to Mumbai with British Airways. From
there, jump on a connecting flight to Jodhpur Airport, which is a
five-hour drive away from the desert city.

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