is a bit of a paradox. So far west that it is in the heart of
the desert, one would expect barren near-desolation. Yet this
frontier town is today one of Rajasthan's best-loved tourist
destinations. Local colour and warmth prevail over the
inhospitable and forbidding terrain, imbuing the medieval town
with a special magic.
Jaisal, a descendent of the Yadav Clan and a Bhati Rajput,
laid the foundation of this city in 1156 AD. Trikuta was the
hill choosen and Jaisal abandoned his old fort at Lodurva and
established his new capital here.
The Bhati Rajputs of Jaisalmer were feudal chiefs who lived on
the forced levy on the caravans that crossed their territory
en-route Delhi. These caravans, laden with precious cargos of
spices and silk brought great wealth to this town. Because of
its remote location, Jaisalmer for years remained untouched by
outside influences and during the British Raj, the rulers of
Jaisalmer were the last to sign the instrument of agreement
with the British.
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 glory of Jaisalmer faded when sea
trade replaced the old land routes. But there is still an
'Arabian Nights' quality about the town. The narrow streets in
the walled city preserve a traditional way of life : the
craftsmen still work at the ancient crafts of weaving and
stone carving, the making of silver jewellery and embroidery.
And the stately, nonchalant camel is everywhere.
Just a walk through Jaisalmer, savouring the medieval glory of
old Rajasthan, is a marvelously rewarding travel experience.
Desert Festival, celebrated in January/ February, is a must on
any itinerary. The desert seems to bloom in a thousand colours.
There are camel races and folk dances. Craft bazaar and
traditional balled singing. A sound and light spectacle on the
sand-dunes of Sam on the full moon night. And all the colour
and excitement of the best in Rajasthan.
The perfect time to visit the golden city is during the Desert
Festival every year when the city reverberates to the sound of
melodious tunes and rhythms. Folk dances, exciting
competitions and contest especially the turban-tying contest,
Mr.Desert contest and camel races enlighten the festivities.
Jaisalmer is a marvel of beautiful culture and harsh climatic
conditions, together amounting to a memorable experience.
The Jaisalmer Fort:
The golden - hued Jaisalmer
Fort 'Sonar Kila' can be seen miles away before reaching the
Manak Chowk and Havelis: - A main marketplace outside
the fort leads to the narrow lanes dotted with famous 'havelis'.
Some of the most exotic
mansions or 'havelis', all intricately latticed, are stretched
all over Jaisalmer, each with a different facade.
Gadsisar Sagar Tank: - A scenic rain water lake with
numerous beautiful shrines around the lake is an idyllic spot
Jain Temples: - The fort has three exquisitely carved
Jain Temples dedicated to the Jain Tirthankaras - Rishabhdevji
Gyan Bhandar or Library: Some of the oldest manuscripts
of India are found in this library established as a part of
Ever wondered what luxury in the royal times was all about!
Welcome to Palace On Wheels, a luxury train that carries with
it an ambience of the Rajputana era and an exciting fairytale
journey, which takes the visitor to the imperial cities of
Rajasthan every single day. The coaches also carry out an
image of the Rajput states with beautiful interiors. Last but
not the least the "Royal Treat" for the passengers
on board include salons, bar lounges & libraries in every
coach as well as restaurant and organized shopping facilities.
Akal (16 kms from Jaisalmer) : It looks like a army
frozen in its tracks, standing petrified in the forest of
Akal, in a bare hillside of mica, and red and yellow stone.
It is a fossil park where 180 millions years ago stood a
forest. The fossil trunks lie scattered in this part.
Barmer (153 kms from Jaisalmer ) : It is famous for
wood carvings, embroidered fabrics and block printed textiles.
Lodurva (17 kms from Jaisalmer) : The ancient capital
of Jaisalmer, some vestiges of former glory remain.
Desert National Park (40-km from Jaisalmer) : It
preserves the eco-system of the desert within its confines.
The Monitor lizards, desert foxes, porcupines,
occasional wolves and black bucks, and the Great Indian
Bustard (a protected bird ) are found here, forming an
ecological chain revolving around cacti and other hardy
Bada Bagh (6-km from Jaisalmer) : 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.
Camel Safaris : These are conducted on many routes.
Sam Sand Dunes :(42-km from Jaisalmer) : It is the
closest point to witness the total sandy desert. Sam
(pronounced 'sum') has a truly magnificent stretch of sweeping
dunes, with little or no vegetation. The best way to see this
and other sights around Jaisalmer is to take a camel safari.
The standard trip lasts 4 days and three nights, and offers
the opportunity to explore the area in authentic and leisurely
fashion, with entertainment by folk performers, visits to
villages, and chatter from colourful guides thrown in.
from Jodhpur, Rajasthan.
Tourist Attractions: Jaisalmer Fort,
Manak Chowk & Havelis.
Festive Attraction: Desert Festival.
Best Time To Visit: October To
one of the major cities of Rajasthan, Jaisalmer is well
equipped with standard and
luxurious hotels as well as
Desert Festival takes place in January-February of each
year. Camel races and dances, folk music, desert ballads,
puppeteers - they're all part of the activity. At the full
moon night, a sound and light drama is performed at Sam.
is famous for mirror work, embroidered articles, woollen pattu
and other items made of good quality, locally produced wood,
wooden boxes, trinkets, silver jewellery and curios.
The main shopping areas are Sadar Bazaar and Sonaron Ka Bas,
Manak Chowk, Pansari Bazaar and also Rajasthali - Government
shop for handicrafts and Khadi Gramodyog.
TO GET THERE
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
Road: A good network of roads joins Jaisalmer with
Jodhpur and many other destinations in and around Rajasthan.
Jaisalmer has got extreme climate. Best time to visit from
October to February.