300 Km to get to Jaisalmer today It was founded in 1156 by Maharwal Jaisal, it's location protected it from outsiders so it was one of the last states to sign a treaty with the British. It is another big military area due to the proximity of the border with Pakistan, only 70 Km distant.
As we drive once again we experience the contrasts in India. The Indian Space Research Centre sits cheek by jowl with an encampment of nomadic Indian gypsies. We also pass many imposing looking gates apparently leading nowhere. The land has been bought with the intention of being developed but nothing has progressed. The promise of living the dream in a modern apartment has not happened.
We are now into the desert area. Very flat terrain changing from barren soil to sand and scrub. Some young children will not have experienced rain as there may be none for 4-5 years! Wind farms appear and we see some 'dust devils'. People travel long distances in ancient looking 'Sleeper Coaches'! They have seats with what look like big luggage racks above them to sleep on? Very basic and usually extremely crowded!
Near Samsara we see our first flock of sheep. Until now our driver has only had to contend with dogs, goats & of course cows! Into view come some beautiful Chingkara, the tiny & delicate Indian gazelle wild in this region.
A railway crossing is our next excitement! True to form traffic does not obey the rules, what rules??? A school minibus overtakes us to stop at the crossing but on the wrong side of the road. A couple of lads end up having to hop out and push it back behind us. There is much hilarity from the other children & lots of waving to the celebs - us!
Further into the region there are herds of camels and we begin to get excited about our camel cart ride tomorrow!
Jaisalmer is known as The Golden City' due to it's use of local golden hued sandstone. Didn't appear that golden to us but our hotel turns out to be on the outskirts of an industrial looking city. The hotel is purpose built and a bit impersonal. That said our room is comfortable and clean. The view to the ever present fort is rather spoilt by many pylons, and we have a superb view of the local sub-station!
After a fairly standard dinner B & I got roped again in to some more local dancing, along with drummers. No strong alcohol was involved this time. Our duty-free supplies have run out!