advertisement

Visitor Information -- You'll find the RTDC tourist office near Gadi Sagar Pol (tel. 02922/25-2406; Mon-Sat 10am-6pm; closed second Sat of every month and Sun).

Getting There -- At press time, Jaisalmer's new airport was expected to open late 2010, finally making it possible to fly to India's easternmost city directly from Delhi. Until flights commence, the nearest airport is at Jodhpur (a 5 1/2-hr. drive; about 2 hr. longer in a bus -- not recommended). Tip: The best place to stop for lunch or a snack on this route is Manvar Desert Resort (near Shergarh; tel. 02928/266-137; www.manvar.com), which serves a mean chicken pakora. It takes 6 to 7 hours to get from Bikaner to Jaisalmer by road (and there is now a train too which leaves at 10:45pm from Bikaner and arrives in Jaisalmer at 6am). The train journey from Jodhpur takes 5 1/2 hours (on the overnight Jodhpur-Jaisalmer Express), arriving at the station 2km (1 1/4 miles) east of town. Avoid the touts soliciting riders by asking your hotel to arrange a transfer. From Delhi, take the Delhi-Jaisalmer Express from Delhi's Sarai Rohilla Station; it departs at 5:25pm, arriving in Jaisalmer at 11am the next day. From Jaislamer to Delhi the daily train leaves at 5:15pm and arrives at 11am in Delhi.

Getting Around -- Both inside and outside the fort, the town is small enough to explore on foot; for journeys farther afield you will need to hire an auto-rickshaw (at the station or Gadsisar Tank) or taxi (Sam Dunes). For the latter, you'll probably take an all-inclusive trip with your hotel, almost all of which offer safaris of various duration; or contact Mr. I. V. Singh from Travel Plan at tel. 02992/252759 or on his mobile at 09928022496 (jaisalmer@travelplanraj.com). Mr. Singh has over 20 years of local travel experience and can arrange unique travel experiences. For Sam and Khuri camel safaris contact Harish Bhai at K.K. Travels (tel. 02992/253-087; kktravels_2000@yahoo.com). You'll also find taxis around Suraj Pol or through one of several travel agencies at the entrance to the fort.

Festivals -- The Desert Festival held at the end of January or in February (incidentally, the best time of the year to visit Jaisalmer -- in 2010 it will be held Jan 28-30) is the highlight of the year, when dance shows, turban-tying competitions, and camel races are held below the fort, cheered on by colorful crowds who are as much a part of the spectacle as the entertainment. While its relative inaccessibility keeps tourist numbers down, during the festival the town is packed.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.