Food is very cheap (you’ll rarely pay more than Rs25 for a meal) but rather dull. jaisalmeris are intractably vegetarian, the staple diet being boiled vegetables, fried moti, and green milos or wheat balls. And there’s a dearth of good restaurants. Jaisal Castle Hotel offers superior food, but doesn’t actually provide it. This goes for a good number of (unhygienic) budget restaurants too. But few people are really interested in food. Jaisalmer’s air is so dry and hot, that most travellers live on a bullet of Limcas, lassis and lime-sodas. Even local people aren’t immune—they drink an average of 10 litres of liquid a day.
U7 in the fort, at the 4th gate, Arvind Cold Drinks has a regular clientele of heat blasted travellers guzzling ice-cold beers and mineral water. It also offers some of the cheapest camel-treks. Below the fort entrance, opposite Salem Singh haveli, there’s Treat—a popular roof-top restaurant with an astonishing 347 items on its menu. It doesn’t like to rush meals—’short time destroyed the cooking!’—but they’re wort h waiting for. Rajasthani specialities like desert beans and millet seeds, mutton and green vegetables, must be ordered 2 hours in advance. Nearby Monica roof-top contaurant offers the same royal Rajasthani fare, and is just as cheap and laidback. Another recommended restaurant near the main gate is Gay Time. Moving down into Bhatia market, a minute’s walk from the fort entrance, find 8th July restaurant.
This Is a ;ood breakfast spot with a popular roof-top section. Come here for the best ofer I Chinese food, capucchino, and lassi in town. There are 25 varieties of ice-cream on 7 also ‘items such as Vegemite, Marmite Toast, Mussielie, Brown Brade, Garlic chees e and Peanut Butter’. A minute below 8th July, down an alley to the right, Shri is famous for its manikarnia lassi-it doesn’t seem to do much else. A 10 minute stroll down to the bottom of the market (past Kailash Juice Centre, good for fresh juices and lassis), you find Jaisalmer’s better restaurants. Kalpana’s is plea s ant open-air place, popular with locals and travellers alike, which stays open all late.
It’s a bit rough and ready, but the food—Indian, Continental and Chinese—is cheap and tasty. Service is quick, and the menu (‘Chee’s Ball’, ‘Omelette with Sours’) intanlisping . Hotel Narayan Niwas has fairly upmarket cuisine-good for a minor flow out. The new Trio, a minute’s walk below Kalpana’s (and just inside the fort wall is the only ‘proper’ restaurant in town—table service and napkins, tasteful decor pots of weak English tea and superior Indian/Continental fare. When you’ve drunk enough mineral water to fill up the Gadisar Tank, come here to soak it up!
GENERAL INFORMATION Government of Rajasthan Tourist Office (tel 2406, 2392), at the tourist bungalow beetween rail station and town, is open 8 am-12 noon, 3-6 pm (except Sundays). Fair information, poor handouts, and expensive (Rs75) jeep tours of the city. Far better tours are given by local guides, who wait at the entrance to the fort. They speak good English, and for about the same price will walk you right round Jaisalmr from 7 am to noon. If staying in the fort area, there’s very good information at Fort View Hotel.
Vehicles are of no use within the city but can be hired for trips to Sam, Khuri, the Desert National Park and Lodurva. Rates are negotiable and should be agreed on in advance. Jaisal Tours in Hotel Narayan Niwas (tel 2408, 2397) can book cars and jeeps.