Founded in 1156, the desert town of Jaisalmer became wealthy with its position on the trade route between the Agra area and Sind. The growth of shipping and the partition of Pakistan changed that. Nowadays it's a big tourist attraction, and the area also hosts various military bases.

Click for a larger version Jaisalmer Fort

Though it looks like a sand castle from far away, it's a huge and imposing structure that houses a small city within its walls.

Click for a larger version Jaisalmer

The part outside the fort, seen from the fort.

Click for a larger version Spectacle for the tourists

This little guy can shake and shimmy. There were also countless hawkers, who hound the tourists without mercy.

Click for a larger version Kids

There are homes, shops and hotels within the walls of the fort.

There was a throng of kids in front of us asking to have their picture taken, but I thought that these spectators were more interesting.

Click for a larger version Havelis

A haveli is a mansion. These were built in the 19th century by the wealthy merchants of Jaisalmer, and covered from floor to ceiling with elaborate stone carvings.

There's a gate at the end of the street, which I imagine was for protection.

Click for a larger version Another block of havelis

A little surprising that these people's money didn't buy them a bit more privacy.

Click for a larger version The Patwon-ki-Haveli

One of the grandest. It was built in five parts, between 1800 and 1860/ There's modern work going on in this and other havelis (hint: clean stone on the upper level).

Many of these buildings are deserted, so you can walk in and look around. For extra character, there are small bats inside.

Click for a larger version Inner courtyard

With natural lighting

Click for a larger version He sure has a long one!

This man was standing outside one of the havelis, with a pouch on either cheek. He explained that he flashed the 'stashe for cash, and someone gave him 30 rupees. This shot was opportunistic.

Click for a larger version Evening scene

I was shooting the fort with a large zoom lens from the top of a building, and caught this piece of Jaisalmer. The cows almost outnumber the people on this street.

Click for a larger version Hopscotch!

Traffic permitting.

Click for a larger version Gadsisar Lake

In an arid environment, water is never simply water. Gadsisar Lake is a reservoir fed by rainwater, built in 1156, and then rebuilt in 1367. It used to be the only water supply for Jaisalmer.

The the arch at the edge of the water was apparently built by a local prostitute, which upset the king enough to tear most of it down. The lake is surrounded by ghats, temples, cenotaphs and gardens.

Click for a larger version Haveli hotel

One of the more unique places I've stayed. There were no phones, so they sent someone at regular intervals to ask whether you wanted anything. 

There were also goats and cows on the premises, who would march through from time to time.

Click for a larger version Detail

To the left of the left elephant. There was astounding work all over.

Click for a larger version The fort at night