For my second morning in Jaisalmer, I give the dusty festival a rest and take the time to investigate the huge fort dominating the city. On top of a minor hill in the center of the town, golden sand-stone walls reach a modest height. A cluttered collection of beautiful Haveli buildings peak out over their edges, tempting with promises of a grand world of history waiting within.
I ascend the cobbled path through the series of gates and push my way through the relentless touts. This city has obviously been well-explored and all the citizens are well acquainted with tourism. I feel rude ignoring so many calls of “Hello! Friend!”, but I know it will lead nowhere if I give them a second of my time. I manage through the thick of it and find a few areas of solitary pleasure and more than enough photogenic gems.
On a rare change of heart, I decide to heed the call of a man deep in the heart of the fort city. He invites me into his 400 year old Haveli and explains the significance of it’s many architectural features and history. After the short tour is over, he thanks me for visiting and kindly says goodbye at his front doorstep without asking for anything in return. I’m glad to have had the faith in the encounter, but I wonder how many unique opportunities like this that I have previously missed. Still, the endless barrage of touts, beggars and hustlers has worn down my typically outgoing nature. I know that most people approaching me are only looking for a few rupees, but times like this only bring up the question as to where the line should be drawn.
Tags: - Photography, Asia, Festival, India, India: Karnataka, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan