In the remote westernmost corner of Rajasthan, Jaisalmer is the quintessential desert town, its golden, sand-coloured ramparts rising out of the arid Thar like a scene from the Arabian Nights. Rampant commercialism may have dampened the romantic vision somewhat, but even with all the touts and tour buses, the town deservedly remains one of India’s most popular destinations. Villagers dressed in voluminous red and orange turbans still outnumber foreigners in the bazaar, while the exquisite sandstone architecture of the “Golden City” is quite unlike anything else in India.

The streets of Jaisalmer are flanked with numerous pale honey-coloured facades, covered with latticework and floral designs, but the city’s real showpieces are its havelis, commissioned by wealthy merchants during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

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