Jaisalmer is also called as “The Golden city”. It is located 575 kilometres (357 mi) west of the state capital Jaipur. It is a World Heritage Site. It was once known as Jaisalmer state. The town stands on a ridge of yellowish sandstone, crowned by a fort, which contains the palace and several ornate Jain temples. Many of the houses and temples are finely sculptured. It lies in the heart of the Thar Desert (Great Indian Desert) and has a population of about 78,000. It is the administrative headquarters of Jaisalmer District.
Sprawled across the Thar Desert straddling the border of India and Pakistan, Jaisalmer induces a dramatic picture of utter magic and brilliance of the desert. The hostile terrain notwithstanding, the warmth and colour of the people is simply over whelming.
Jaisalmer town, the administrative headquarters of the district, was founded in 1156 by the Bhatti Rajput ruler Rawla Jaisal after whom it is named. It has an ancient history linked with its development as a trading center. One of the main draws is the daunting 12th century Jaisalmer Fort. The desert citadel is truly a golden fantasy in the Thar Desert. Parts of the ‘golden’ fort continue to be inhabited, and its cobbled streets lead through a journey of medieval enchantment. The beauty havelis which were built by wealthy merchants of Jaislmer 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.
Amar Sagar (6km)
Located on the way to Luderwa, this natural spot was developed by Maharawal Amar Singh as a water reservoir in 1688 AD. The dams were constructed to hold rainwater. Several terraces were formed where summer places and temples ere later constructed and gardens developed. To the south of the lake stands the exquisitely carved Jain temple constructed by Himat Ram Bafna, the descendant of the famous patwas.
Bada Bag (6km north)
Is a fertile oasis with a huge old dam situated on the way to Ramgarh. The royal cenotaphs found there were cared with images of past Maharawals & their families. The chhatris have been built on a set pattern but in different sizes. A fruit orchard with Mango trees can also be found here.
Chintamani Parshwanath Temple
An old temple constrcted between the 12th and 15th centuries, it features elaborate carvings of Vishnu, Siva, Parvati, Brahma, lions, and many others. The temple also has a 2000 year old clayJain statue of Chinthamani Parashwanath, coated with pearls.
Desert national Park (40km)
The desert National Park is an excellent example of the ecosystem of the Thar desert and its richfauna. The Sudashri forest post is the most ideal place for observing wildlife in the Desert National Park. Sand dunes form less than 20 percent of the Park, which consists of craggy rocks, pavements and compact salt lake bottoms, intermedial areas and fixed dunes. Common species found in the park include chinkara, blackbuck, desert fox, wolf, Bengal fox, and desert cat. Bird species include sand grouse, partridges, bee-eaters, larks, shrikes, demoiselle crane, eagles, long legged and honey buzzards, falcons and kestrels. Notable among the avifauna is the great Indian bustard. Reptiles include spiny tail lizard, monitor lizard, saw sealed viper, Russell’s viper, siand krait, toad agama and sandfish. Season: November to March.
Jaisalmer Fort was Built by the Bhatti ruler Jaisala in 1156 on the Trikuta hills, this is the second oldest fort in Rajasthan and has a number of beautiful havelies and a group of Jain temples that add to its tourist appeal. This 80m golden yellow fort looks like an enormous sandcastle. Home to a large number of people, its small, winding lanes are packed with houses, temples and shops. Camel safaris are popular especially during the annual Desert fair.
A rain water lake built by Maharawal Gadsi 14th in century, this was the main source of water for the entire town. There are many small temple & shrines around it. A wide variety of water birds can be seen here especially in winter.
Lakshmi Nath Temple
This temple enshrines Lakshmi Nath as the main deity. The pillar in this temple was brought from Lodarva and dates back to the 9th century.
Mool Sagar (8km)
Located on the way to Sam Sand Dunes, the Lake, Garden and summer palaces here were constructed by Maharawal Mool Raj in the 18th Century.
Nathmal Ji Ki Haveli
Two architect brothers built this haveli in the 19th century. Interestingly, while one concentrated ont ehright, the other concentrated on the left and the result is a symphony epitomising the side by side symmetry during construction. Paintings in miniature style monopolise the walls in the interior. Mighty tuskers carved out of yellow sandstone guard the haveli.
One of the largest, most elaborate and magnificent havelis of Jaisalmer, this building is aborned with exquisitely carved pillars and extensive corridors and chambers.
Called the Golden Fort because of the yellow sandstone used in its construction, the architecture of the fort is a combination of the Rajput and Islamic styles. It also contains palaces built for rich merchants and nobles.
Salim Singh-ki Havelis
One of the remarkable havelis in Jaisalmer built by Salim Singh, this structure has a blue cupola roof with superbly carved brackets in the form of peacocks and an elaborate projecting balcony on the top storey.
The delicate pagoda-like Tazia Tower rises from Badal Mahal (Cloud Place). Rising in its five tiered splendour, with each storey graced by a delicately carved balcony, the tower is of historical significance. Muslim craftsmen built in the shape of a Tazia and gifted it to their royal patron.
The cenotaph of Sage Vyas, the author of the Hindu epic Mhabharata which is the longest scripture in the world with about 300000 verses. The place is also known as Sunset Point as it gives a wonderful view of picturesque Jaisalmer at dusk.
Akal Wood Fossil Park (17km)
A 21 hectare preserve area that transport one to the Jurassic period, this park contains fossilized remains of 180 million year old forests.
Tirth (religious place) for Hindus, Baisakhi attracts a large number of devotees on the full Moon day of Baisakh every year, for holy dip. A temple dedicated to Lord Shiva here which originally belonged to the early Pratihar period, seems to have been restored in the 16th Century.
Kuldhara & Khabha Village (30km south west)
The ruins of Kuldhar and Khabha exhibit the architectural excellence of ancient times, which was buried under dunes till recently.
Khuri Village & Sand Dunes (45km south west)
It is a delightfully peaceful place with mud and straw decorated houses. About a kilometre away from the villages, patches of sand dunes are additional attractions for the tourists. Some resorts in the village offer camel ride, music dance and dinner packages to tourists. There are regular village buses running from Jaislmer to Khuri villages to observe the lifestyle of the village folk in these surrounding villages.
This an important pilgrimage center of the Jin community. Ornate arches and splendid carvings of the temples are the major attraction.
Shrine dedicated to God Rama & Krishna, constructed during the reign of Maharawal Amar Singh in the 17th Century.
Sam Sand Dunes (42km west)
A much loved and frequented tourist spot at the edge of the Thar Desert, the place has a truly glorious stretch of sweeping sandbanks.
Located at the junction of Jodhpur, Jaisalmer and Bikaner Road, Pokran is renowned for its furniture and interior crafts. The fort located about 1.5km from the bus stand has an assortment of weaponry, brocade clothe and various games of dice and dominoes on display. Pokran came into limelight recently as the site for India’s nuclear detonation.
How to reach
The nearest airport is at Jodhpur and Jaisalmer is easily accessible by rail and road from any part of the state.
Jaisalmer is located 300 km (190 mi) from Jodhpur airport. Civil airport has been constructed in Jaisalmer and soonly inaugurated.
Jaisalmer has daily connectivity with Bikaner, Lalgarh, Jodhpur, Jaipur & Delhi. Jaisalmer is also one of the major stations in the journey by India's most luxury train "Palace on wheels".
Jaisalmer town lies on Highway No. 15. It has luxury Mercedes volvo bus connectivity with Delhi as well as Ahmedabad. Many buses of RSRTC and also many private Bus Operators ply from Jaisalmer to Jodhpur, Jaipur, Barmer,Udaipur, Bikaner,Mt Abu, Ahmadabad, Mumbai, Pune and other cities of India.