While in Pushkar I made friends with the nice people at Pushkar Travels. They were very helpful and I made arrangements for the rest of my trip through them. I got a flight from Amnebad (North India) to Chennai (South India) and a second flight from Mumbai to Bangkok. I was planning my last week in the north of India and somehow managed to get talked into hiring a car and a driver for a week. It totally blew my budget but at the time I thought it was a good idea. Well, of course I had to tell myself that after it was booked and paid for!!!
So my driver picked me up at 5am from my hostel in Pushkar and we headed to Jeslimer. This is usually a 10 hour bus ride. The joy of having the car is that I was able to stop off at Jodhpur to see the fort without needing to spend a night there.
I really enjoyed the visit to the fort – I got there pretty early (ahead of the tour groups) and made use of the ‘free’ audio guide (included in the price of the ticket). I’ve never used an audio guide before and really enjoyed this one. Lots of the stories I’ve heard before (the stories and explanations about the forts and places around Rajastan seem to be very similar) but there were some interesting little tid bits.
The rest of the drive to Jeslimer was fairly uneventful. Oh except for the flat tire we got just before leaving Jodhpur! We saw a fair bit of road kill (camels, cows and dogs) and the terrain got more and more deserty as we got closer to Jeslimer. We arrived in Jeslimer and I made my way to the Deepak Guesthouse. This is the place that runs the camel trips that was recommended to me by Raj (the Intrepid guy from the 1st tour). Because I am travelling alone and really wanted to do an overnight camel trip I really really wanted to go on a recommendation. When I was arriving at the hotel I met another Intrepid guide (Ikku) and he offered to let me join his intrepid group for the overnight camel safari…. So I met some nice people by ‘kind of’ gatecrashing their intrepid tour!
The first night I had dinner at the Deepak Guesthouse – the restaurant is on the rooftop and has stunning views over Jeslimer… The guesthouse is in the fort; this is a bit controversial (the Lonely Planet strongly recommend people do NOT stay in the fort as it puts a strain on the foundations of the fort due to the hight water consumption of hotels)…. But it was lovely; it was cheap (my room was 200 rupees a night) and so close to all the action.