Among all the bucket list-worthy destinations in India, Jaisalmer makes it somewhere right at the top. Situated in the heart of the Thar Desert, Jaisalmer sightseeing is all about places to visit in Jaisalmer, experiencing its desert culture, art and architecture.
After you’ve had your fill of the city and its offerings, a little exploration should be in the offing to see what lies beyond and around Jaisalmer. Here are some must-see places to visit near Jaisalmer.
- Sam Sand Dunes
About 45 km from town and a popular tourist destination when it comes to sightseeing in Jaisalmer, Sam Sand Dunes is famous for jeep safaris. The ride is bumpy but exciting; only those who can throw caution to the wind and enjoy the thrills of dune bashing should go for this. After a point, the camels take over. Enjoy a camel ride as you watch the sun go down. The day ends with a good dinner and local entertainment to keep you engrossed. Leave after 4 pm for the desert safari. You can either book a private trip through your hotel or head there directly.
The tiny village of Khuri is the more tranquil alternative to Sam Sand Dunes. Located 50 km southwest of Jaisalmer, Khuri is slowly catching up as a tourist hotspot, though it’s not quite there yet. Peace lovers will enjoy Khuri as an option to discover the desert at a leisurely pace. Activities include stargazing, and sensuous performance of the local Kalbeliya dance by a tribe of the same name. Camel races and camel polo are other exciting activities.
Located 15 km from Jaisalmer is a tiny village called Lodurva, the erstwhile capital of a Rajput clan called the Bhatti dynasty. The Parshvanath Temple carved completely out of yellow sandstone is well worth a visit. The temple is bathed in golden light owing to the sunlight reflecting off the stones. Lord Parshvanath is the 23rd Jain Tirthankar. It does not matter if you are Jain or not; you can visit the place to admire its architecture and ambience. Though subjected to invasions in the early years of its existence, much of the temple was restored and reconstructed. The ‘celestial tree’ there is made of several metals and believed to be a symbol of enlightenment.
Kuldhara is a little off the tourist trail at about 20 km west of Jaisalmer, but it’s undoubtedly one of the most interesting places to visit near Jaisalmer. Established around the 13th century, this was once a thriving village belonging to the Paliwal Brahmins. However, it was abandoned about 200 years ago. Legend has it that a minister of the erstwhile king was besotted by the beauty of the village chief’s daughter but unable to make any headway. One not to give up, he threatened the villagers to hand her over to him. Unable to face the wrath of the minister, the entire tribe of nearly a thousand inhabitants quietly deserted the village at night but not before leaving a curse behind that nobody would inhabit the village again. It is now maintained as a heritage site by the Archaeological Survey of India.
- Desert National Park
Located close to Sam Sand Dunes is the Desert National Park. You can spot deer and several species of birds here. It is indeed a paradise for bird-watchers. If you opt for a full-day package, you can experience live music shows at night and partake of a delicious Rajasthani dinner. Camp for a couple of days and observe the various hues of the desert sky; it changes from hour to hour.
Whether your plan includes places to visit in Jaisalmer or around it, check into a hotel that knows just how to soothe your tired feet. The haveli-style grand resort is designed to indulge your senses and pamper you to the hilt.
The ever-courteous staff will attend to your every need and the gourmet food prepared by skilled chefs is sure to tickle your taste buds. Relax your tense muscles at the delightful spa or sip a sundowner as you unwind for the night.