Golden splendour amid the desert, Jaisalmer - the golden beauty, etched in yellow sandstone.Perched atop the Trikuta Hill, it stands tall against miles of gleaming sand. Epitomising the desolate, awesome charm of the desert. Jaisalmer, the city of the golden fort is a fantasy in yellow sandstone in the heart of the Thar Desert. The city was founded in 1156 by Rawal Jaisal, a Bhatti Rajput King.
This amber-hued city, in the heart of the desert, dazzles gloriously in the early morning. The sunset has a peculiar glow here. As the night descends, the sky goes up in flames, which fade leaving a few embers, till it becomes black. A breathtaking sight indeed! The sandstone of its myriad buildings pick up on the subtle changes in the sunlight and change colour accordingly.
Jaisalmer is famous for cobbled streets, strewn with palaces, forts, temples and havelis. Every house, here, is exquisitely carved, having filigreed work all over. These houses date back to 12th – 15th century. And hence Jaisalmer is called 'the Museum city'. 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.
Major Attractions of Jaisalmer
Jaisalmer Fort : Renew yourself amid the past galore, as you visit the commanding Jaisalmer Fort. The fort stands guard over the desertscape from its 250 feet high perch on the hill with its wall following the contours of the hills. The steep cobblestone pathways leading to the royal palace pass through four gates. The sharp twists and turns make the fort invincible. The fort has five interconnected palaces with 'jaali' screens and dainty 'jharokhas' – all showpieces of Jaisalmer artisans' talent.
Jain Temples : Within the citadel are the splendorous Jain temples, dedicated to Rishabdevji, Sambhavnathji and Parshvanathji. The Parshvanathji Temple is the oldest and the most beautiful of the Jain temples. Human and animal figures are carved on the walls of its sanctum and the rising dome or 'shikhar' is crowned by an amalak and a waterpot containing a lotus flower.
Desert Festival : During the three day long festival, Jaisalmer reverberates with music, colour and joy, displaying its glorious past and rich culture. Under the full moon, the vigorous folk dancers sway to the enchanting music. The turban tying contest and Mr. Desert contest add to the enthusiasm. A trip to Sam sand dunes, where one can view folk musicians performing and even enjoy a camel safari, marks the finale of this colourful extravaganza.
Desert National Park : Come, see the rolling landscape of the Sam sand dunes. Head on for a wild experience, as you may encounter the Indian Gazelle, Chinkara Eagle and exotic avian variety in this 3000 sq. km. vast protected Biosphere Reserve. The park lies to the south-west of Jaisalmer.
Patwon-Ki-Haveli : It is the grandest mansion in Jaisalmer, not to be missed at all. This five haveli wonder has its ceiling supported by exquisitely carved pillars and its delicately chiselled balconies surely leave you mesmerised.
Gadi Sagar : The water tank towards the south of the city walls once provided drinking water to the inhabitants of the city. Surrounded by small temples and shrines, it also has a wide variety of waterfowl gathering there during the winter season. A beautiful sandstone gateway, the Tilon ki pol arches across the road, down to the tank.
Places to Stay in Jaisalmer
Being one of the major cities of Rajasthan, Jaisalmer is well equipped with standard and luxurious hotels as well as budget accommodations. There is a good choice of budget hotels to choose from. Many hotels provide hot water and styled toilets.
Climate in Jaisalmer
Jaisalmer has got extreme climate. Best time to visit from October to February.
Shopping in Jaisalmer
Shop for exquisitely carved wooden boxes in tiny curio shops. Traditional rugs, handwoven blankets and shawls in typical Rajasthani color and weave are also available. Mirror work, embroided article silver jewelry. Trickles and curios are other boys of Jaisalmer. The shopping spots are within the fort and include sadar Bazar, sonaron ka Bass Manak Chowk, pansari bazar, Gandhi Darshan, Seema gram, Rajsthani Govt. shop and Khadi Gramodyog Emporium.
How to Get there
Air : The nearest airport is Jodhpur (285 km)
Rail : Jaisalmer is 290-km from Jodhpur via Pokhran, Dechu and Balesar or 330-km from Bikaner via Pokhran and Phalodi. It is well connected by train with Jodhpur and other major cities of the country by a meter gauge line.
Road : A good network of roads joins Jaisalmer with Jodhpur and many other destinations in and around Rajasthan.