The city of Jaisalmer represents the magic and vibrancy of the great Thar Desert. Along with the vast desert, the beautiful havelis and daunting Jaisalmer Fort draws thousands of tourists all year round. According to legends, the city is named Rajput king Rawal Jaisal, who lay the founding stone of this place in the year 1156. Reflecting on the beauty and extravagance of the city, other Rajput clans nicknamed it “Golden City”.
There are many things about Jaisalmer that draw the attention of tourists worldwide. Let’s have a look at some of them.
Locally known as “Sonar Quila”, the golden fortress was built by Rawal Jaisal and is located in the midst of Trikuta Hills. This spectacular fort witnessed many battles of historic importance as it acted as a protective cover for the Rajput Kings from the attack of foreign invaders. Interestingly, the sandstone in this colossal structure serves a distinct function, from where the fort derives its name of Golden Fortress – as the sun rises, the walls appear regal in hues of yellow-brown. With the setting sun, however, they mellow down to a honey-gold color.
Inside the fort are Jain temples, a serene Laxminath temple and a royal palace. The ancient architectural beauty and the eye pleasing view of the fort walls attract many tourists to this amazing place.
Desert Culture Centre and Museum
The Desert Culture Centre and Museum is a one stop destination to gain insight into the rich cultural heritage of Jaisalmer and experience the craftsmanship and artistic talents of this historic place.
The museum has an invaluable collection of ages old fossils mined locally, eye catching textiles, traditional instruments and coins that have been used over here in the past. Also many kinds of utensils and other artifacts are kept for display in this museum.
The museum being a treasure box of Rajathani customs and traditions is a favorite destination for many researchers. One of the highlights of the museum which attracts many foreign tourists is a unique opium mixing utensil called “Karal”.
A trip to Jaisalmer is incomplete without browsing through the local markets for some exquisite handicrafts. Jaisalmer is well known for mirror work embroidery, traditional rugs and blankets, antiques and unique stone work. The government owned shop like Khadi Gramuddyog Bhawan has a good collection of Tie-dye and other fabrics. The puppets from Jaisalmer serve as an excellent memento. Some of the most renowned shopping destinations are Manak Chowk, Pansari Bazaar, Sadar Bazaar, Gandhi Darshan and Sonaron Ka Bas.
The Desert National Park and Wood Fossil Park of Jaislamer are worth visiting. Colorful festivals and fairs too are a significant part of Jaisalmer culture and heritage, which one should definitely experience. A camel safari across the yellow desert is an adventure the tourists should indulge in.
How to reach
By Air- Nearest is Jodhpur Airport, at a distance 285 kms from Jaisalmer, which is well connected to major international airports of India.
By Train-Jaisalmer railway station is well connected to Jodhpur and other important railway stations of India. One can also board the famous luxury train named “Palace on Wheels” which operates from Delhi and takes a 7 day tour of Rajasthan, including Jaisalmer and nearby places.
By Road- Cab and bus services are available from Jodhpur at regular intervals.