Jaisalmer “the land of the golden fort” lies in the heart of the Thar Desert. The name Jaisalmer evokes utter magic and vibrancy of the desert. It’s straight out of an Arabian Nights fable. Bhati Rajput ruler Rawal Jaisal, after whom the city finds its name, founded Jaisalmer in 1156 AD. During his rule this very fort was constructed. Crowning the Trikut Parvat this fort is made up of yellowish sandstone. It consists of Jain Mandirs and Havelis. Even today the localites have their residence inside the fort. The fort has four entrances namely Akshay Pole, Suraj Pole, Ganesh Pole, Hawa Pole. The City Palace is also located inside the Fort. The intricate designs of the palace with unique Jharokhas really cast a magic spell on you.
Ages have gone by and the monuments of Jaisalmer have withstood the buffeting winds of the desert all through. Jaisalmer is a paragon of beautiful culture and harsh climatic conditions; these together leave a lasting impression on the visitors. The old city was completely encircled by a wall but much of it has crumbled sadly for want of building material in recent years. The massive golden fort, which is the essence of Jaisalmer, is entered through First Gate; is a burrow of narrow streets with JainTemples and old palaces. The main market, the Sadar Bazar is right below the hill. The bank, offices and several shops are also located near the Amar Sagar Gate to the west.
Places to see in Jaisalmer: The prime attraction of Jaisalmer is the Jaisalmer Fort also known as the Golden Quila. The setting sun in its most colourful shades gives it a fairy tale appearance. The place is also frequented with numerous other sight seeing locations.
Established by the Department of Archeology and Museum. It is another prime attraction for the visitors to Jaisalmer. The trophy of the state bird Godawan – the great Indian bustard, is the most eye catching spot. Traditional house-hold items, rock-cut crockery and jewellery recreate the atmosphere of a by-gone era. A look at the statues of 7th-9th century AD creates a scenario of rich cultural heritage of the time.
Deewan Nathmal Ji Ki Haveli
Two architect brothers built it in the 19th century. Interestingly, while one concentrated on the right, the other concentrated on the left and the result is a symphony epitomizing the side-by-side symmetry during construction. Paintings in miniature style monopolize the walls in the interior. Mighty tuskers carved out of yellow sandstone stand guard to the haveli.
It is a private property.
Deewan Salim Singh Ki Haveli
This haveli is actually worth seeing from outside only. It was built in the first half of the 18th century and a part of it is still occupied. Salim Singh was the prime minister of Jaisalmer a princely state in 19th century AD. The mansion has a beautifully arched roof with superb carved brackets in the form of peacocks. It is just below the hill near the fort. It is said that once it had two additional wooden storeys in an attempt to make it as high as the Maharaja’s palace, but the Maharaja had the upper storey demolished.
A group of apartments, this is one of the largest and most elaborate of Havelis in Jaisalmer and stands in a narrow lane. It is five storeys high and is extensively carved. A part of this beautiful building is owned by the Department of Archaeology and Museum. There are remnants of some paintings on the walls inside as well as some mirror work. This has been the star attraction of Jaisalmer.
Mandir Palace (Badal Mahal)
The delicate pagoda like Tazia Tower rises from Badal Mahal (CloudPalace). Rising in its five-tiered splendour, with each storey graced by a delicately carved balcony, the tower is of historical significance. Muslim craftsmen built it in the shape of a Tazia (A float taken in procession Muharram) as symbol of their religion in the town for royal patrons. Half portion of this palace is converted into a heritage hotel named MandirPalace and another portion of the palace as Badal Vilas, the residence of the ex-ruler’s family.
Desert National Park
The Desert National Park is an excellent example of the eco-system of the Thar Desert and its rich fauna. The Sudashri forest post is the most ideal place for observing wildlife in the Desert National Park. Its inhabitants include the blackbuck, chinkara, wolf, Indian fox, desert fox, hare and desert cat. Flights of sand-grouse start coming to waterholes from sunrise onwards. One can also hear the morning call of the grey partridge. Blue tailed and green bee-eaters, common and bush quail and Indian rollers are birds, which are commonly found around waterholes. The park is also home to the great Indian bustard – the state bird of Rajasthan.
To visit the Desert National Park enclosure at Sudhasari, prior permission is required from the Desert National Park office and office of the District Magistrate, Jaisalmer. Contact No. +91-02992-252489.
Akal Wood Fossil Park
Just 17 Km from Jaisalmer on Barmer Road are fossilized wood of 180 millions years old forest.
This is a rain water conservation lake built by Maharawal Gadsi in 14th century. It was once the main source of drinking water for the entire town of Jaisalmer. Now a tourist spot, there are many small temples and shrines around it. A wide variety of water birds can be seen here especially in winter. This is the most popular point to take photographs of Jaisalmer fort early in the morning when the fort looks golden with the first rays of the Sun.
The beautiful gateway known as Tillon ki prol, which arches across the road down to the lake was built by a royal courtesan named Tillon at the end of 19th century. An idol of Lord Vishnu was installed in the year 1908 AD on the gate by a courtesan and declared Krishna Temple to save it from demolition by the then Maharawal.
Nearby Attractions from Jaisalmer: From Jaisalmir you can make a trip to the places like
It is located at the junction of Jodhpur, Jaisalmer and Bikaner Road. It is en route to Jaisalmer and is also a fort town though the fort is not of the same dimensions as those of Jaisalmer or Jodhpur. Pokran came into limelight in the wake of India’s first underground nuclear explosion. Pokran is also renowned for its furniture and crafts for interior decoration. The fort is located about one and a half kilometres from the bus stand and has a miscellaneous collection of weaponry, brocade clothes and various games of dice and dominoes on display. FortPokran also offers accommodation with a rugged heritage appeal.
Barmer is a desert town just 153 kms from Jaisalmer and has a fortress to boast off. This place is primarily famous for its woodcarving, furniture, items of interior decoration, carpets, block printing and embroidered items. The centre for embroidery is the Sadar Bazaar and woodcarvings are found along the Station Road. It has a RTDC Hotel and for private hotels too.
16 kms. Northwest from Jaisalmer, Luderwa is the old capital of Jaisalmer. Now a silent city, the only witness to its former splendour are the Jain temple, toran (ornate arch) and artificial divine tree (Kalptaru). Ruins of the deserted capital and the remains of an apartment of Princess Moomal still recall the famous love legend of Moomal-Mahendra.
Sam Sand Dunes and Camel Ride
Some 45 kms towards the west of the Jaisalmer city are located the barren yet beautiful shifting sand dunes adjoining the village Sam. Here one can have a ride on camel – the ship of desert in the desert sea. Beautiful folk dancers enrich the visitor’s experience with traditional flavour of joy. Sam Dhani, a typical accommodation in the shape of fortress provides the visitors with warm welcome, board and lodging. Herds of camel and cows are attractions on the way to Sam. There is regular bus service that runs from Jaisalmer to Sam village.
Khuri Village & Sand Dunes
Khuri is a village 45 km south west of Jaisalmer. It is a delightfully peaceful place with mud and straw decorated houses. One kilometre away from the village, patches of sand dunes are additional attractions for the tourists. There is regular bus service that runs from Jaisalmer to Khuri village. Villagers in their rural world can be seen on the way to Khuri.
Things to do at Jaisalmer: Explore the immense desert area of Jaisalmir. Apart from sightseeing if you visit Jaisalmer during the month of February you will enjoy the flavour of the real Rajasthan by being a part of the Desert festival of Jaisalmer. Once a year in winter and in the middle of the continually rising and falling stark yellow sands of the great Thar Desert, the empty sands around Jaisalmer come alive with the brilliant colour, music and laughter of the Desert Festival.
Best time to visit Jaisalmer: The ideal time to visit Jaisalmer is from October to the month of March, although the city remains bustling with tourists through out the year. If you are here not for mere fun but to try for adventures then Jaisalmer is worth visiting round the year.
How to go ?
Though Jaisalmer is not directly connected to Airways as such, Jodhpur airport is 300 Km away. Jodhpur is connected to all the major metros of India by government owned as well as private airlines. From Jodhpur you can hire Cabs or take a train journey according to your wish and preference.
Jaisalmer is connected to major cities of India through broad gauge as well as meter gauge railway tracks. Direct trains from Jaisalmer are available to Jodhpur as well as Delhi. Jaisalmer is connected through both ‘Broad gauge’ as well as ‘Meter gauge’ tracks.
Jaisalmer has good road connectivity with various cities of Rajasthan and Gujarat. Several state transport and private buses ply on the routes between these cities.
Where to stay ?
Jaisalmer is loaded with hotels suitable to all budgets. Some options are:
Hotel Moomol (RTDC) : +91- 02992- 252 392
Hotel Golden City: +91- 02992- 251664, 254565 Website: www.hotelgoldencity.com
Hotel Samdhani (RTDC): +91-02992-2212 8993
Hotel Priya: +91-02992 – 252755, 250577 Website: www.priyahotels.com
Payal Safari Camp: +91.9982634632, 9928263649 Website: www.payalsafaricamp.com
Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.