The most picturesque dunes are located some 40 km from Jaisalmer. No travel to Jaisalmer is complete without a visit to these fascinating dunes. Wind-caressed slopes are marked with ripples creating an enchanting mirage, a visual illusion of extraordinary splendor. The dunes can be extremely treacherous since they can sink to a few feet the moment you step over one. Occasionally you can see the dunes shifting with the strong desert winds-an astonishing feat of nature. Watching sunrise and sunset on the dunes can become etched on your memory-such an unforgettable spectacle with the great ball of light rising from behind the low hills of sand amid a perfectly still scene. A mysterious silence prevails.
Lodurva, the ancient capital of Bhattis is 16 kilometers from Jaisalmer. Mostly in ruins, it is visited for the great Jain temple, which contains the most exquisite jail work screens, grand ceiling and a magnificent triumphal arch at the entrance. The original carriage for the deity, made in 1675, is still preserved. The most interesting object dart is Kalpataru, a mythical tree of wish fulfillment. Lodurva has a great number of peacocks, which hover around the temple walls lending spectacular color to the dry and stony landscape. Here once flowed the river Kak. Along its banks had flourished the romance between princess Momal, and prince Mathendru of Amarkot. Their tragic end is the theme of folk songs. When the lovers perished, the river Kak stopped flowing.
From Lodurva, the road to Jaisalmer passes through Amar Sagar, which has a grand artificial reservoir for water, a temple and a promenade on the bank. Bada Bagh, cenotaphs of the Jaishalmer Rawals, has some magnificent chattris (canopies) set amidst an oasis of greenery. The elegant chattris are in white marble and mostly in the fabulous yellow sandstone. A great place for a stopover and photography. Another beautiful place is the Gadi Sagar Tank, the main source of the city’s water supply. Early morning on the tank is charming with the temples resounding with chanting of mantras and prayers. The main gateway was built by a courtesan, Telon, who installed a Krishna image atop the arched gateway to ward off royal ire at having had to pass under a construction financed by her.
One of the most interesting places is Kuldhara village. This is among the 84 villages inhabited by the rich, hard-working Paliwals. The Paliwals deserted their houses overnight with the curse that anyone who removed even a stone from the houses would come to grief and perish. Howling winds rush through empty streets and skeletons of houses now exposed to the elements remains of the village.