Founded in 1156, the desert town of Jaisalmer became wealthy with its position on the trade route between the Agra area and Sind. The growth of shipping and the partition of Pakistan changed that. Nowadays it's a big tourist attraction, and the area also hosts various military bases.
Though it looks like a sand castle from far away, it's a huge and imposing structure that houses a small city within its walls.
The part outside the fort, seen from the fort.
|Spectacle for the tourists
This little guy can shake and shimmy. There were also countless hawkers, who hound the tourists without mercy.
There are homes, shops and hotels within the walls of the fort.
There was a throng of kids in front of us asking to have their picture taken, but I thought that these spectators were more interesting.
A haveli is a mansion. These were built in the 19th century by the wealthy merchants of Jaisalmer, and covered from floor to ceiling with elaborate stone carvings.
There's a gate at the end of the street, which I imagine was for protection.
|Another block of havelis
A little surprising that these people's money didn't buy them a bit more privacy.
One of the grandest. It was built in five parts, between 1800 and 1860/ There's modern work going on in this and other havelis (hint: clean stone on the upper level).
Many of these buildings are deserted, so you can walk in and look around. For extra character, there are small bats inside.
With natural lighting
|He sure has a long one!
This man was standing outside one of the havelis, with a pouch on either cheek. He explained that he flashed the 'stashe for cash, and someone gave him 30 rupees. This shot was opportunistic.
I was shooting the fort with a large zoom lens from the top of a building, and caught this piece of Jaisalmer. The cows almost outnumber the people on this street.
In an arid environment, water is never simply water. Gadsisar Lake is a reservoir fed by rainwater, built in 1156, and then rebuilt in 1367. It used to be the only water supply for Jaisalmer.
The the arch at the edge of the water was apparently built
by a local prostitute, which upset the king enough to tear most of it
down. The lake is surrounded by ghats, temples, cenotaphs and gardens.
One of the more unique places I've stayed. There were no phones, so they sent someone at regular intervals to ask whether you wanted anything.
There were also goats and cows on the premises, who would march through from time to time.
To the left of the left elephant. There was astounding work all over.
|The fort at night|