Rajasthan's “Golden City” sits in the desert in westernmost India. A historic town that is home to 80,000 people (at least during the tourist high season), Jaisalmer is a charmingly crumbling place. In the past, some of the old city walls and ancient buildings were taken down so that the stones could be used in newer constructions, but that practice has largely stopped thanks to a growing tourism industry.
Though this place does have a small-town feel, it is hardly undiscovered. Tourism is the industry in Jaisalmer, and any nonlocal can expect to deal with gently aggressive, but ever-present, barkers and an air of commercialism. There is a well-trod path between camel safaris in the desert and guided tours of the spectacular Jaisalmer Fort. The aged infrastructure, including an old sewage system, struggles to keep up with the influx of tourists, especially during the desert festival, which takes place annually.