Everything you need to know to plan your trip to Jodhpur and Jaisalmer

Being engaged in full time jobs have long list of cons. The major one that irks us the most is the short span of holidays within which you have got to ‘adjust’ your travelling schedules. Trust me, this is the hardest part of planning since your travelling list is forever increasing and there remains an urgency to tick as many places as you can off the list.

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There was a time when we also felt the same way but later realized that in trying to tick off places from our lists, we are unable to taste that intrinsic essence of travelling that unwinds us, relaxes us and brings wide smiles across our faces. So, while planning our recent trips, we decided not to be in a hurry and travel slowly.

Personally, Kali and I weren’t sure of writing an article covering our itinerary. However, on the insistence of some friends, here we are chalking up a li’l plan for your next trip to Jodhpur and Jaisalmer.

Planning the 5-day trip

If you have read our blog on Jaisalmer, you would know how much we were grasped by Shonar Kella or the Golden Fortess (a thriller novel and a movie by the same name by Ray). So, keeping that in mind, we had to zero on Jodhpur and Jaisalmer for our first trip to Rajasthan. Since we just had 5 days in hand, we chose to shift from one destination to the other at nights while the days were spent travelling around the places. We spent entire three days in Jodhpur and 2 days in Jaisalmer.

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Exploring the ruins at Mandore Garden. Wish they had implemented a better management of this picturesque place.

Being the second-largest city of Rajasthan, Jodhpur boasts of great connectivity. No matter from which part of the country you are visiting, the round airfare to and from Jodhpur won’t set you back by more than 12k. We were travelling from Ahmedabad, so we chose travel by train.

Jaisalmer, on the other hand, does not have any major airport. The nearest commercial airport is that of Jodhpur. Once again, we chose to cover the distance by train though numerous people whom we met during the trip told us a lot about the excellent road connectivity between the two cities.

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Connectivity in the cities

We did not have any prearrangement made for the duration of our stay in Jodhpur. Being a big city, it has superior connectivity, thanks to autos and the cab services, such as Uber and Ola. All of these were available by the minute and we had no problem in communicating.

However, in case of Jaisalmer, we would advise you to prebook your cars since, being majorly a tourist destination, there are not much options available for transportation. Of course, autos or ‘tuktuks’ are available in enormous number, they will not be able to take you to the Sam Sand Dunes and the other major sightseeing places slightly at a distance from the city.

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It’s never easy to bid goodbye when sunsets look so beautiful even from the railway stations!

You can avail transportation services from your hotel or resort itself or you can check out the various travel agencies that dot the entire area.

Expected budgeting for your trip to Jodhpur and Jaisalmer

Accommodation: Being the royal den that it is, you will be spoilt for choice by the available range of accommodation. From B&Bs to swanky five star hotels, these two cities have it all for you. For a budget traveller, expect to set back by Rs 2,500 to Rs 3,000 for a good accommodation. As for us, we wanted to stay at a quiet place away from the humdrum of the city and, hence, chose the Mandore Garden Guest House for the first leg of our trip. Situated around 10kms from Jodhpur, it is a cosy little family-run guest house that had all our senses captured. A patch of greenery in the arid Jodhpur is how we would want to describe this place. A decent restaurant, fantastic facilities and courteous staff made our stay supremely comfortable.

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I had my heart (and eyes!) set on this sculpture. Wish I could bring it back home!
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Such genial creativity displayed at every corner!

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For Jaisalmer, we had opted for a resort right across the Sam Sand Dunes. Once again, you have a range of resorts to choose from that varies from budget stays to luxurious glamping options. Expect to shell out anything between Rs 1,500 to Rs 4,000 for the budget ones (on half board basis), while the luxurious ones may go up to Rs 15,000 per day on a half-board basis.

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Food: Rajasthan is known for its culinary expertise as it is known for its famous temples and palaces. Jodhpur is specifically famous for its food with numerous famous restaurants and food joints offering scrumptious delicacies at reasonable rates. Once again, me and Kali being true gluttons, we tried to have all the specialties the city had to offer. Expect to spend anything between Rs 250 and Rs 2,500 per meal (lunch or dinner) in Jodhpur, of course, if you aren’t trying out any five star restaurants.

While in Jodhpur, we would ask you to stick to the traditional Rajasthani flair. But the various cosmopolitan food joints in Jaisalmer will incite all your taste buds. Having said that, do not miss out on their traditional food as well for there is a sea of difference between the ingredients used in Jodhpur and Jaisalmer. And yes, Do NOT miss out on their ‘Ker Sangri’ sabzi – it’s delightful and nothing like you’ve ever had in the rest of India. For a hearty meal in this fort city, be prepared to shell out minimum Rs 450 to 500 for persons, especially if you are keen to try out their thalis or tasting platters.

MUST HAVE experiences in Jodhpur (since we have penned a separate article for Jaisalmer):

1. A detailed audio-guided tour of Jodhpur’s Mehrangarh Fort: Give an entire day to exploring the nooks and corners of the majestic Mehrangarh Fort. Entrance to the fort is around Rs 100 for Indian nationals. Do opt for a guided tour for we’re sure you wouldn’t want to miss out on the fascinating tales of romance and bravery of Rao Jodha’s clan. As for us, we opted the adio-guided tour and we loved it. An audio guided tour comes in numerous Indian and foreign languages, and such will set you back by Rs 250 (as of January, 2016) with one audio recorder catering to two people.

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Take time to explore the fort – especially the places that are not covered under the audio guide.

2. Spend some tranquil moments in Jaswant Thada: Situated 1 km downhill from the Mehrangarh Fort, the Jaswant Thada is a royal cenotaph set against a serene lake. Entry to the lake will cost you Rs 30, while there is an extra charge of Rs 25 for cameras.

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3. Explore Sardar Market for shopping and snacks: If you love to explore the culinary delights of a place, do try out the kachoris at Janta Sweet Home and the famous Makhaniya lassi at Mishrilal Hotel – the former situated at the Sardar Market crossing while the latter is situated right beside the gate of Sardar Market. As far as shopping is concerned, bargain is the key!

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Sardar Market on a rain soaked afternoon

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4. Don’t forget to dine out at Indique Restaurant at Pal Haveli: If you’re looking for a romantic dinner, the Indique Restaurant is your place to be! The rooftop restaurant offers an exquisite view of the Mehrangarh fort and an equally scrumptious spread. A three course dinner for two at the restaurant will cost approximately Rs 1,500 (without alcohol).

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Who’d say NO to the view. There’s a special terrace at the restaurant from where you get a better view of the fort. However, that was closed for the day. If you are keen to dine right there, do make sure to book in advance.

5. Take the path less travelled and hike up to the Mehrangarh fort from Sardar Market: If you love exploring old cities and culture, you will love this path!

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Can you spot Umaid Bhawan Palace in the background?

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6. Don’t forget to gorge on to Daal Baati Churma: No matter whether you have had it before or not, your trip to Rajasthan won’t be complete without gorging on to this delicacy.

Do you want to add anything else to the list? We would love to hear it from you! You may also read our article on Jodhpur here.

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