Rajasthan in the winter is a fantastic place to be. The mercury drops below 20 degrees for most of the day, but the sun shines bright enough in the afternoon hours to warm you up. Winter is, in fact, probably the best time to explore the wonders of Rajasthan, and there is plenty of it. So pack your bags and head for a four-day tour of two cities: Jodhpur and Jaisalmer. It is a whirlwind adventure, discovering everything there is about these two wondrous cities. Here’s a quick look at all the places you can cover in three days. ALSO READ: Top 10 Trending Destinations in the World for 2018, According to TripAdvisorAlso Read - Indian Air Force orders inquiry after MiG-21 crashes in Rajasthan's Jaisalmer
Day 1- Mandore and onwards to Jaisalmer
Head to Jodhpur by flight or train; Jodhpur marks the beginning and end of the three-day trip. Once you reach Jodhpur, head to the town of Mandore around 15 km from the city. The Mandore Gardens introduce you to the Chhatri-style architecture and cenotaphs found in other destinations over the course of the trip. From there, you can head out to Osiyan, which is around 65 km from Jodhpur, or directly head to Jaisalmer. The road trip to Jaisalmer will take around 6 hours by road, and another hour and half if you add in the stop at Osiyan. Once you reach Jaisalmer, we recommend taking it easy and getting a full night’s rest for the day ahead. Also Read - 189 Birds Dead in Rajasthan Due to Avian Influenza
Day 2 – Exploring Jaisalmer’s fort, lake and desert landscape
The second day is full of action. You start your day with Gadisar Lake, which opens around 7am. Built by the first king of Jaisalmer, Raja Rawal Jaisal, this was the only water source in the region for a long time. The waters are home to a population of catfish, fed by the local women every Amavasya. From Gadisar, you then head to Jaisalmer Fort, which you can see wherever you are in the city. The fort is just around a kilometer away from Gadisar Lake, and you can walk through the living fort in around three hours, including visits to the Baa Ri Haveli and Jain Temple, which we highly recommend. Also Read - 1 Killed, 8 Others Injured As Car Mows Down Bikers In Jodhpur. Horrific Accident Caught on Camera
From there, we recommend visiting the Patwon ki Haveli, the largest Haveli in Jaisalmer and a museum in itself. And you can then drive to the Mandir Palace, part heritage hotel and part residence of the royal family of Jaisalmer. Along the way, you can shop for local handicrafts and block-printed dresses and souvenirs to take back home, including Habur limestone rocks and cups that boast of medicinal properties. The whole Jaisalmer fort and haveli tour takes until early evening, by which time you can head outside the city to the Sam sand dunes for an evening of song and dance. CHECK OUT: Offbeat Places in Rajasthan That You Must Not Miss
Sam sand dunes near Jasailmer
Sam sand dunes lie around an hour away from Jaisalmer city. If you reach early, we recommend going on a desert safari at the back of a 4×4 for a bit of dune bashing. On the other side of the road, you’ll also find camel safaris for a more relaxed tour of the desert. Catch the sun setting on the other side of the India-Pakistan border and quickly save a seat in the desert camp for a good view of the local song and dance performances. Catch performances of several local songs and the famed Jhumar dance, and then some. End the day with some delicious Kher Sangri and other local delicacies that you can eat to your heart’s desire.
Day 3- Heading out of Jaisalmer to Jodhpur, with a quick stop in a ghost town
After an action-packed second day, take a well-deserved night of rest and wake up early next morning to head out for Jodhpur once more. But you can stop by for a while at Kuldhara, a remote abandoned town a little more than an hour away from Jaisalmer. The town is said to be haunted after its entire population up and disappeared one fateful night centuries ago. History buffs will find the remnants of the village interesting, offering a glimpse into the life of the region’s earliest inhabitants. But don’t take too long, because Jodhpur is waiting.
You’ll probably reach Jodhpur by lunch time, by when you can stop by for a quick bite at the Gypsy restaurant before heading to the Umaid Bhavan Palace. The palace is part hotel, part royal residence and part museum. The museum part can be explored in just around 30 minutes, and the vintage cars displayed outside can be skipped. From Umaid Bhavan, head out to Jaswant Thada, the cenotaph built to honor Maharaja Jaswant Singh II and where the memorials of other descendants can be found. The monument of beautifully carved white marble lies right near the statue of Rao Jodha, founder of Jodhpur and ruler of Mandore, that points to the towering Mehrangarh Fort, your next stop.
Mehrangarh Fort, seen from the Old City
Mehrangarh Fort is massive and intimidating in its size and scale, and it takes around two hours to fully make your way through the fort. We recommend getting a guide, and prepare yourself for the crowd; the fort is usually packed. The fort tour is pretty straitforward, with well-marked directions taking you through Suraj Pol and all the way up to the palaces above, including the stunningly intricate Phool Mahal, before you head back down and end up right by the Suraj Pol once more. You’ll probably catch the brilliant sunset over the Blue City as you make your way back down and out of the fort.
On your last evening in Mehrangarh Fort, we recommend heading out to Ghanta Ghar, another landmark built by the Maharajas. A sprawling market by the same name exists around the clock tower, where you can find little souvenirs and tidbits to get back home. J.G Arts and Crafts is a good place to get them, with little sculptures and other items on offer. We also recommend eating dinner at the rooftop Indique restaurant of Pal Haveli, another heritage property right outside the market. Enjoy the view of Mehrangar Fort glowing red at night as you feast on some delicious Rajasthani cuisine, particularly the Lal Maas for the non-vegetarians.
Day 4- Bishnoi and then back home
Blackbuck and Nilgai in Bishnoi
Wake up the next day and head out a little early to the Guda village safari in Bishnoi, around 45 minutes away from the city. Here in this sprawling forest preserve managed by the Bishnoi community, you’ll find a vastly different culture that values nature and its gifts above all else. You’ll find Nilgai and blackbucks grazing by the road and occasionally hear the screams of mongooses as they fight. Visit the memorial of those who lost their lives to save the forest and then sit with a local family as they offer a window into their daily lives. NOW READ: Honeymoon packages in India: Top 5 places to visit in Rajasthan
Bird lovers can catch a glimpse of some incredible species at Guda Bishnoiyan, where the lake is home to several migratory birds. You’ll be able to find more birds here during the afternoon hours, when the sun brings them to the watering hole to cool down. After that, drive back to Jodhpur city to catch your early evening or afternoon flight or train back home.