Jaisalmer city is a prominent educational as well as cultural hub in the region and regularly showcases the vivid cultural aspects of Rajasthan.
Its like straight out of an Arabian Nights fable. The name Jaisalmer induces a dramatic picture of utter magic and brilliance of the desert. The hostile terrain not with standing the warmth and colour of people is simply over whelming. One of the main draws is the daunting 12th century Jaisalmer Fort. The beautiful havelis which were built by wealthy merchants of Jaisalmer are yet another interesting aspect of the desert city. And you can let your eyes caress the sloppy sand dunes while you ramble your way in a camel safari. The desert citadel is truly a golden fantasy in Thar Desert. Bhatti Rajput ruler Rawal Jaisal, after whom the city finds its name, founded Jaisalmer in 1156. On advice of a local hermit Eesaal he chose the Tricut Hills as his new abode abandoning his vulnerable old fort at Luderwa just 16 kilometres northwest. In Medieval times, its prosperity was due to its location on the main trade route linking India to Egypt, Arabia, Persia, Africa and the West. The Bhatti Rajput rulers lined their coffer with gains from traditional taxes on passing by caravans and sometimes through illicit gains by rustling cattle. Over the years the remote location of Jaisalmer kept it almost untouched by outside influences. In the 13th century Ala-ud-din Khilji Emperor of Delhi besieged the fort for nine years in an effort to take back the treasure taken by the Bhatti Rajput from his imperial caravan train. When the fall of the fort was imminent the women of the fort committed Jauhar, an act of mass self-immolation, while men donned saffron robes and rode to their certain death. Duda son of Jaitasimha, a Bhatti hero also perished in the battle. Dudas descendants continued to rule Jaisalmer. In 1541 they even fought Mughal Emperor Himayun. Though their relations with Mugshal was not always hostile. Sabala Simha won the patronage of Mughal Emperor Shaha Jahan for battle distinctions in Peshawar and the right to rule Jaisalmer. In the days of Raj, Jaisalmer was the last to sign the Instrument of Agreement with the British. Ages have gone by and the monuments of Jaisalmer have withstood the buffeting winds of the desert all through. Jaisalmer is a marvel of beautiful culture and harsh climatic conditions, together amounting to a memorable experience. The old city was completely encircled by wall but much of it is now pulled down 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 complete with Jain Temples and old palaces. The main market the Bhatia Market is right below the hill. The bank, offices and several shops are also located near the Amar Sagar Gate to the west.
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. Nevertheless, in summers there are chances you might get affected with heat stroke.
Jaisalmer Attraction Details
Jaisalmer Fort: The 12th century Jaisalmer Fort has been regarded as one of the most magnificent and invincible forts in Rajasthan. Built over the Trikuta hill, Jaisalmer Fort is 250 ft tall structure surrounded by a 30 ft high sandstone wall with 99 bastions. The Fort houses the famous Jain Temple, a place worth visiting on your Jaisalmer tour.
Jaisalmer Havelis: Built by the wealthy merchants, the havelis (mansions) of Jaisalmer are famous for their exclusive cutwork, yellow and red stone treatment and the bracket-shaped decoration of peacocks. The splendid havelis like the Patwon-ki-Haveli, Salim-Singh-ki-Haveli and Nathmalji ki haveli are major tourist attractions in Jaisalmer.
Gadsisar Sagar Tank: Gadsisar Sagar Tank is one of the most beautiful tourist attractions in Jaisalmer. A famous picnic spot, the Tank attracts hundreds of migratory birds during the winter season.
Bara Bagh: Baba Bagh is an oasis on the bank of Gadsisar Sagar Tank. It has greenery all around to give a much-needed relief to the local people.
Tazia Tower: The Pagoda like Tazia Tower rises from the Badal Mahal (Palace of Clouds). Each storey of this five-tiered tower has a beautifully carved balcony.
The Desert National Park: Situated near Jaisalmer, The Desert National Park is one of the largest national parks in India, covering an area of 3,100 sq km. The Park is known for its fragile ecosystem and unique flora and fauna.
Sam Sand Dunes: Situated at the edge of the Thar Desert, Sam Sand Dunes are major tourist attractions near Jaisalmer. Enjoying Camel safaris on the sand dunes are truly an unforgettable experience. Sam Sand Dunes is also famous for its breathtakingly beautiful sunset.
Another not to be missed tourist attraction in Jaisalmer is the vibrant and colorful Desert Festival held in Jan-Feb every year.
How to reach Jaisalmer
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. You can also travel to Jaisalmer by Palace on Wheels.
Jaisalmer is well connected to the rest of state by well-maintained roads. Due to its proximity to Indo-Pak boarder, special emphasis is given on its maintenance. Deluxe & Ordinary buses of Rajasthan Roadways & Private companies operate form Jaisalmer to Jodhpur, Jaipur, Bikaner, Barmer, Mount Abu, Jalore, Ahemdabad etc, Roadways main bus stand opposite Railway station & Golden bus terminal near State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur, Shiv road, Jaisalmer are the two major bus stands.
Local transportation in Jaisalmer
General transportation in Jaisalmer consists of auto rickshaw and bicycles because these are good means to get around. Auto rickshaw is a cheap mode of transportation but drivers might not be friendly all the times. It is recommended to take rickshaw when you take congested roads in order to avoid bottlenecks.
Where to stay in Jaisalmer
The best places to stay in Jaisalmer are in the heritage edifices, Heritage hotels. Most of these small and big time havelis have been converted inti mid range and deluxe hotels. Try to book your room before you land on the city, just to ensure a comfortable journey.
• Fort Rajwada
• Hotel Himmatgarh Palace
• Narayan Niwas Palace
Three Star Hotel
• Hotel Dhola Maru, Jaisalmer