State : Rajasthan
Nothing else in India is remotely similar to Jaisalmer. Its desert
fort, which resembles a gigantic sandcastle, is straight out of
' The housand and One Nights '. There are many havelis which can
be found elsewhere in Rajasthan, but nowhere are they quite as exquisite
as in Jaisalmer. Even the humblest shops and houses display something
of the Rajput love of the decorative arts. There is a down side
to Jaisalmer becoming one of Rajasthan's most popular tourist destinations.
Jaisalmer is a great place to simply wander. The old city was once
completely surrounded by an extensive wall, much of which has sadly
been ripped away in recent times for building material. Some of
it remains, however, including the city gates and, inside them,
the massive fort which rises above the city and is the essence of
Jaisalmer. The main market area is directly below the hill, while
the banks, the new palace and several other shops and offices are
near the Amar Sagar Gate to the west.
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 feudal 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.
Place to See
Built in 1156 by the Bhati Rajput ruler Jaisal, it is situated on
Trikuta Hill and had been the scene of many battles. Its massive
sandstone walls are a tawny lion color during the day, turning to
a magical honey-gold as the sun sets. The famous Indian film director
Satyajit Ray wrote a detective novel and later turned it into a
film – Sonar Kella (The Golden Fortress) which was based on
this fort. This is a living fort and about a quarter of city's population
still live inside the fort. The main attractions inside the fort
are: Raj Mahal (Royal palace), Jain temples and the Laxminath temple.
Salim Singh Ki Haveli
Haveli: It was built by the scheming Prime Minister Salim Singh
in 1815. It has a beautifully arched roof capped with blue cupolas
and carved brackets in the form of peacocks.
Patwon Ki Haveli
Built by Guman Chand Patwa (and later by his five sons), a wealthy
merchant and banker who had over three hundred trading centres from
Afghanistan to China. This ornate five-storey complex took fifty
years to complete. This is the largest, the most magnificent, and
the most elaborate of Jaisalmer havelis.
Sam Sand Dunes
Sam Sand dunes are the major attractions of Jaislamer. It is 3 kms
long and 1 km wide and is half a kilometer high. The sam sand dunes
are unreliable and they are picturesque. Sam Sand dunes are just
the place to surf the golden sands of Rajasthan through a safari.
Desert National Park
The Desert National Park envelopes a rich flora and fauna. The Sudashri
forest post is the most model spot for observing wildlife in this
reserve. The inhabitants are the blackbuck, chinkara, wolf, Indian
fox and desert cat. One also spot the grey partridge.
This is a 300 year old Jaisalmer Haveli. It has a beautiful blue
cupola roof with carved brackets in the form of peacocks. This is
an amazing mansions in yellow stone and has an amazing projecting
balcony on the top storey.
Fairs & Festivals
Jaiselmer Desert Fair
Once a year in winters and on 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 color, music
and laughter of the Desert Festival. The festival is organized by
the tourist authorities as tourist entertainment around January-February.
The very rich and colorful Rajasthani folk culture is on show here
for a few days. Rajasthani men and tall beautiful women dressed
in their brightly costumes dance and sing lingering ballads of valor,
romance and tragedy. Traditional musicians attempt to outdo each
other in their musical superiority.
The high points of the festival are - snake charmers, puppeteers,
acrobats, folk performers do rapid trade. Camels, the lifeline of
the desert, play a foremost role. Proud mustached villagers, dressed
in their ethnic best come astride their picturesquely caparisoned
camels to join in the camel dances and competitions of camel acrobatics,
camel races and décor, camel polo, tug of war and the like.
The tourist dances, turban tying competitions and tug of war are
big draws and laughter.
How To Reach
:The nearest airport that caters to Jaisalmer
- bounded travellers is at Jodhpur. Jodhpur is connected to many
other indian cities by air.
: The nearest railway station that caters
to Jaisalmer - bounded travellers is at Jodhpur. Jodhpur is connected
to many other indian cities by train.
: Rajasthan Roadways run very comfortable
deluxe & air conditioned buses from Jaipur, Jodhpur, Bikaner.
The roads are very good and fairly comfortable.