Rising from the heart of the Thar Desert like a
golden mirage is the city of Jaisalmer. A commanding fort etched in yellow
sandstone stands, with all its awesome splendor, dominating the amber-hued
The city has an interesting legend associated
with it, according to which, Lord Krishna-the head of the Yadav Clan,
foretold Arjuna that a remote descendent of the Yadav Clan would built his kingdom atop the Trikuta Hill. His prophecy was
fulfilled in 1156 A.D. when Rawal Jaisal, a descendent of the Yadav Clan
and a Bhatti Rajput, abandoned his fort at Lodurva and founded a new
capital -Jaisalmer, perched on the Trikuta Hill.
Bahti Rajputs of Jaisalmer were fedual chiefs
who lived off the forced levy on the caravans laden with precious silks
and spices that crossed the territory enroute Delhi-or-Sind. These
caravans earned the town great wealth.
For years Jaisalmer remained untouched by the
outside influences. The rise of shipping trade and the port of Mumbai saw
the decline of Jaisalmer. But the desert fortress, that seems to be
straight out of the ‘Tales of the Arabian Nights’ still
The life within the citadel conjures up images
of medieval majesty visible in its narrow lanes stewn with magnificent
palace, havelis, temples and of course skilled artisans and ubiquitous
The setting sun turning Jaisalmer into a
beautiful golden brown is a spectacular sight.
The perfect time to visit the golden city is
during the Desert Festival, held in Jan/Feb. every year, when the city
reverberates to the sound of melodious tunes and rhythms.
dances, exciting competitions an contests, especially the turban-tying
contest. Mr. Desert contest and camel races enliven the festivities.
Colorful craft bazaars are set up for the occasion and a sound and light
spectacle is organized wit folk artists performing against the splendid
backdrop of the famous Sam sand dunes on the full moon night. Surely a
not-to-be missed event.
The Fort : The golden hued fort is a sentinel to
the bleak desertscape from its 80 metre high perch on the hill,housing the
entire township within its ramparts.It has an enchanting cow-web of narrow
lanes dotted with some lovely havelis,three beautifully sculptured Jain
Temples of the 12th-15th century A.D. and five
interconnected palaces.The fort is approached through four
gateways-Akhaiyal,Ganesh Pol,Suraj Pol and Hava Pol.
Manak Chowk : A main marketplace
outside the fort.
Gadsisar Lake : A scenic rain water lake with
numerous beautiful shrines around and a spectacular avian variety. The
lake is an idyllic spot for outings.
Tazia Tower : A pagoda like structure looming up
from the ‘Badal Mahal’ with beautiful ‘Taazias’-ornately decorated
bamboo,paper and tinsel replicas of a bier, carried out in procession
during Moharram by the Muslims.
Havelis : Some of the most exotic mansions or
havelis,all intricately latticed are strew all over Jaisalmer-each with a
Nathmalji-ki-Haveli : The late 19th
century haveli with intricate architecture a display of sheer
craftsmanship. The left and right wings of the mansion which were carved
by two brothers are not identical but very similar and balanced in design.
The interior walls are ornate
with splendid miniature paintings.
Patwon -ki-Haveli : The most elaborate and
magnificent of all the Jaisalmer havelis. It has exquisitely carved
pillars and extensive corridors and chambers.One of the apartments of this
five storey high haveli is painted with beautiful murals.
Salim Singh-ki-Haveli : This 300 year old haveli
of Jaisalmer’s Prime Minister to Maharaja Rawal Gaj Singh-Salim Singh, has
a beautiful blue cupola roof with superbly carved brackets in the form of
peacocks.This extraordinary mansion in yellow stone is covered with
intricate carvings and has an elaborate projecting balcony on the top
storey.The mansion is one of the most notable of the array of
Temple :The fort has three exquisitely carved jain temples dedicated to
the Jain Tirthankars-Rishabhdev,Sambhavnath and Paraswanath.
Gyan Bhandar or Library :Some of the oldest
manuscripts of India are found in this library established as a part of
HOW TO GET THERE
Lodurva (16 km) : The ancient capital of
Jaisalmer and an important pilgrim spot of the Jain community with some
magnificent Jain temple. "Toran’ or the ornate arches at the main entrance
and splendid carvings are noteworthy. A ‘Kalptaru’ or a divine tree within
is the main attraction of the temple
Wood Fossil Park, Aakal(17 kms) : Lying on the
Barmer Road , this park takes you back to the Jurassic period (when the
whole Thar region lay under the sea) with 180 million year old fossils -
the geological landmarks for the study of the Thar Desert.
Sam Sand Dunes(42 km) : No trip to Jaisalmer is
complete without a trip to the most picturesque dunes of Sam. The ripples
on the wind -caressed dunes, that create an enchanting mirage, are surely
a delight for a trigger -happy photographer.
Various cultural programmes are organized
against the backdrop of these fascinating sand dunes. Exciting camel
safaris allow you to get the real feel of the desert on the camel
Desert National Park (45 km): The landscape of
the Desert National Park is dominated by rolling sand dunes and scrub
covered hills. The prominent fauna of the park includes black buck ,
chinkara, desert fox and the great Indian bustard.
Amar Sagar (5 km) :A pleasant garden beside a
lake with mango and other fruit trees. Beautifully carved Jain temples add
to its splendor.
Bada Bagh (6km.) : A fertile oasis on the bank
of an artificial lake. Much of the city’s fruits and vegetables are grown
here. Surrounded by dense trees are the royal cenotaphs with beautifully
carved ceilings and equestrian statues of the former rulers.
Mool Sagar(18km.) : The pleasant shady grove is
a perfect picnic spot during summers.
Barmer (155 km): A tiny desert town renowned
for its hand block printing industry,carved wood furniture,colorful
costumes and amiable folks.
WHERE TO STAY
- Air : Jodhpur
(285 km) is the nearest airport.
- Road: Regular
bus services link Jaisalmer to Jodhpur, Ramdeora and
- RTDC Hotel, Moomal;
- Hotel Heritage Inn,
- Gorbandh Palace,
- Jaisal Castle,
- Narain Niwas,
Area : 5.1 sq. km.
Altitude : 225
Climate : Mean Max. Mean Min.
Summer : 41.6 degree C 25.0
Winter : 23.6 degree C 7.9 degree C
Rainfall : 15
Best Season : Oct.-Feb.
Clothing : Summer light
Winter: light woolen
Languages : English, Hindi,