If you are planning to travel from Bikaner to Jaisalmer by road, do not forget that it is a long way: 300km and many, many long hours sitting in the car. In addition, it will probably be rather hot –after all, it is the Thar Desert you will be crossing. India-Pakistan border will be less than 100km on your right side, parallel to the road. You will see more camels than people.This said, no worries, I have a solution for you and it is to organize a stop at Fort Pokaran like we did! Fort Pokaran is an enormous 14th century citadel, which is partially converted into a heritage hotel. Like many other luxury hotels everywhere in the world including Rajasthan, one cannot just walk in. The premises are reserved for paying guests (privacy comes with the package they pay for).
However, based on our observations in Rajasthan (at least in most cases) hotels let you in against a small entrance fee and/or if you agree to spend at the restaurant. And this is exactly what we did with Fort Pokaran: we called them in advance and asked if it was ok that we came to use their pool for 2-3 hours, while promising also to eat lunch at their restaurant. They said yes, so we got to freshen ourselves up, swim in the lovely pool and eat an absolutely delicious lunch, and they got some extra clients. A win-win situation!! In the end of our lunch we got talking to the lovely owner, who proudly showed us around the premises. The rooms were elegantly decorated using local textiles and antique objects.
Should we return to this part of Rajasthan, I would definitely arrange to sleep over at Fort Pokaran. An other stunning, Mughal-style palace from the 14th century… a giant pearl in the midlde of the Thar desert!
FORT POKARAN: http://www.fortpokaran.com
Note: This is the 17th post about our trip in Delhi, Agra, Rajasthan and Bombay in March-April 2008. Previous posts are:
Part 1. Arrival in Delhi: first impressions
Part 2. Eight cities of Delhi
Part 3. Road from Delhi to Agra
Part 4. Visiting Agra and Taj Mahal
Part 5. Fatehpur Sikri: what a pearl!
Part 6. Neemrana Fort-Palace: the magnificent 15th century palace
Part 7. Breathtaking Amber Fort
Part 8. Chaotic but charming Jaipur (part 1.)
Part 9. Chaotic but charming Jaipur (part 2.)
Part 10. Hotel Pearl Palace in Jaipur
Part 11. Samode Palace: live like a Maharaja
Part 12. Shekhawati: the Haveli Hub
Part 13. Enchanting Hotel Mandawa Haveli
Part 14. Karni Mata Temple (WARNING: includes images of rats)
Part 15. Subtle charm of Bikaner
Part 16. Bhairon Vilas: sleep like a Prime Minister
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