The fort of Jaisalmer is a breathtaking sight: a massive sandcastle rising from the sandy plains like a mirage from a bygone era. No place better evokes exotic camel-train trade routes and desert mystery. Ninety-nine bastions encircle the fort’s still-inhabited twisting lanes. Inside are shops swaddled in bright embroideries, a royal palace and numerous businesses looking for your tourist rupee. Despite the commercialism, it’s hard not to be enchanted by this desert citadel. Beneath the ramparts, particularly to the north, the narrow streets of the old city conceal magnificent havelis, all carved from the same golden-honey sandstone as the fort – hence Jaisalmer’s designation as the Golden City.
A city that has come back almost from the dead in the past half-century, Jaisalmer may be remote, but it’s certainly not forgotten – indeed it’s one of Rajasthan’s biggest tourist destinations.