Jaisalmer is the undisputed jewel of the Thar Desert. The town lies a long journey west of Rajasthan’s main transport arteries, but once its honey-coloured bastions have appeared on the horizon, you’ll know the effort has been worthwhile. For centuries an important trade hub for caravans crossing the sand flats, the citadel and its surrounding streets hold a unique collection of beautifully carved, ochre-hued havelis and palaces, whose intricate stonework turns a striking molten colour in the light of late afternoon.
One of the most magical experiences Rajasthan has to offer is a sundowner music session on a flat rooftop up in the fort, with local musicians playing harmonium and tabla. For a still more vivid taste of the Thar, join a camel trek through the immaculately painted, mud-walled villages of the surrounding desert to a luxury tent camp, where you can enjoy a spicy Rajasthani thali cooked on a blazing fire, under the starriest of skies.