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.
Rawal Jaisal, a descendent of the Yadav Clan and a Bhati Rajput, laid
the foundation of this city in 1156 AD. Trikuta was the hill chosen
and Jaisal abandoned his old fort at Lodurva and established his new
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
Just a walk through Jaisalmer, savouring the medieval glory of old
Rajasthan, is a marvellously 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. This is a city to be visited.
FORTS AND PALACES
The Jaisalmer Fort:
The golden - hued Jaisalmer Fort
'Sonar Kila' can be seen miles away before reaching the town.
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 for outings.
Jain Temples: - The fort has three exquisitely carved Jain
Temples dedicated to the Jain Tirthankaras - Rishabhdevji and
Gyan Bhandar or Library: Some of the oldest manuscripts of
India are found in this library established as a part of Jain temples.
PALACE ON WHEELS
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 saloons, bar lounges & libraries in every coach as
well as restaurant and organized shopping facilites.
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 came 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.