Jaisalmer Tourism Images

About Jaisalmer Tourism

Today a remote outpost in the Thar Desert, Jaisalmer was founded in the 12th century by Maharawal Jaisal of the Bhatti Rajput clan. It was once a flourishing trade centre, strategically located on the busy caravan trade route to Afghanistan and Central Asia. Its earlier rulers grew rich by looting gems, silk and opium from the caravans, but by the 16th century Jaisalmer had become a peaceful town, whose wealthy traders and rulers vied with each to beautify their austere desert surroundings with splendid palaces and havelis. Made of the local golden-yellow sandstone, they are the most spectacular examples of the Rajasthani stonemason's art. In the 18th century, with the growth of sea ports at Surat and Bombay, Jaisalmer's importance dwindled. But the buildings from its golden age still stand, clustered around a magnificent fort.

Sightseeing Places in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan

Jaisalmer Fort
Jaisalmer Fort rises like a fabulous mirage out of the sands of the Thar Desert, the awesome contours of its 99 bastions softened by the golden hue of the stone. Built in 1156 by Maharawal Jaisal, and added to by his successors, this citadel stands on the peak of the 80 m high Trikuta Hill. In medieval times, Jaisalmer's entire population lived within the fort and even now, thousands of people reside here, making it India's only living fort. Royal palaces, a cluster of Jain temples, mansions and shops are all contained within its walls.

Patwon ki Haveli
This enormous and very elaborate haveli was built between 1805 and 1855 by Guman Chand Patwa, one of Jaisalmer's richest merchants and bankers, who dealt in silk, brocade and opium, and had a chain of trading stations stretching from Afghanistan to China. This six-storeyed mansion has five adjoining apartments for each of his sons, and 66 balconies. The curved eaves on the balconies suggest a fleet of sailing boats, and the numerous latticed windows are carved with breathtaking intricacy

Salim Singh's Haveli
This haveli was built in 1815 by a powerful prime minister of Jaisalmer. Narrow at the base, its six storeys grow wider at each level, and all its 38 balconies have different designs. Peacocks dance between the arches on the topmost balcony, and blue cupolas cap the roof. The rear portion of the haveli was, sadly damaged during the Gujarat earthquake in January 2001, but visitors are still allowed in

Gadi Sagar Lake
This rainwater reservoir, built in 1367, was once the city's sole source of water. Lined with ghats and temples, it comes alive during the Gangaur festival when the maharawal leads a procession here. The beautiful gateway leading to the tank was built by a royal courtesan, Telia, whose audacity so enraged the queens that they demanded its instant demolition. The quick-witted Telia immediately had a statue of Krishna installed on top, thereby ensuring not only that the gateway would stand, but that everyone would bow before passing through it.

Manik Chowk
Located at the entrance to the fort, this is the main market-place, where caravans used to halt in the past. The tiny shops sell camel hair blankets and gorgeous embroidered textiles. Desert nomads and their camels add to the bazaars' color.

How to reach Jaisalmer

By Air
The airport is situated 5 km from the heart of the city and is well connected by air with New Delhi, Jaipur and Jodhpur, though it is run by the Indian Air Force and works only from September to March. So Jodhpur airport at a distance of approximately 285 km is the better choice.

By Rail
Well linked by rail with Jodhpur as well as other chief towns of India including Agra, Jaipur, New Delhi and Mumbai.

By Bus
Has a good system of roads and is well linked with other towns of Rajasthan including Jaipur, Jodhpur and Bikaner and chief towns of India.

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