: 285-km From Jodhpur, Rajasthan
Tourist Attractions: Jaisalmer Fort, Manak Chowk &
Festive Attraction: Desert Festival
Best Time To Visit: October To Februay
Jaisalmer 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
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 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.
The Diana 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'.
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 and
Akal (16 kms from Jaisalmer) : It looks like a army frozen
in its tracks, standing petrified in the forest of Aakal, 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.
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.
HOW TO GET THERE
Rail: 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 line.
Road: A good network of roads joins Jaisalmer with Jodhpur and
many other destinations in and around Rajasthan.