Rising from the heart of the Thar Desert, like a golden mirage, is the magical city of Jaisalmer. A commanding fort etched in yellow sandstone, stands with all its awesome splendour, dominating the amber - hued city. With the crenellated golden sandstone town walls and narrow, streets, lined with exquisitely carved buildings, through which camel carts trundle leisurely, it has an extraordinarily medieval feel and an incredible atmosphere. The fort inside, perched on its hilltop, contains some gems of Jain temple building, while beautifully decorated merchants havelis, are scattered through the town. Jaisalmer gives convenient access to the surrounding desert wilderness, sand dunes and oasis villages, ideal for camel rides and safaris.
Unlike any other city, this desert fortress is one of Rajasthan's most exotic and unusual towns. Jaisalmer, an important ancient trading centre because of its strategic location on the camel trade routes, is often described as the 'golden city'. The havelis, built by merchants of the 19th century, are exquisitely carved from golden-yellow sandstone and are still in a beautiful condition.
The fort built by Rawal Jaisal in the 12th century, stands on the 80 metre high Trikuta hill, with beautifully carved Jain temples. The annual desert festival take place in January and February each year and is a riot of colour and activity. Jaisalmer is also famous for its embroidery, Rajasthani mirror work, rugs, blankets, antique, stonework and camel safaris into the barren sand-duned desert.
The arts and crafts of the state are amazing. You'll find elaborately fashioned jewellery, the multi-coloured 'bandhini' fabrics, richly decorated handlooms, and other trinkets at the colourful bazaars of Jaipur. These bazaars are a lot of fun not just what's available, but also for the cheerful people in their traditional costumes..
For the first-time visitor, it is an intriguing and unforgettable experience.
History of Jaisalmer
An interesting legend associates this city. Lord Krishna foretold Arjuna, that a remote descendent of the Yadav Clan, would build his kingdom atop the Trikuta Hill. His prophecy came true in 1156 AD, when Rawal Jaisal, a descendent of the Yadav Clan and a Bhatti Rajput, abandoned his fort at Lodurva and founded a new capital - Jaisalmer, perched on the Trikuta Hill. These Rajputs lived off the forced levy on the caravans laden with precious silk and spices, that crossed the territory enroute to Delhi or Sind, earning the town great wealth. As a major staging post on the trade route, the merchants prospered and invested in building beautiful houses and temple. But maritime trade between India and the West, came to a decline and ceased altogether in 1947.
The life within the citadel, conjures up images of medieval majesty visible in its narrow lanes, strewn with magnificent palaces, havelis, temples and of course skilled artisans and ubiquitous camels. Folk dances, exciting competitions, turban-tying contest, Mr. Desert contest and camel races enliven the festivities during the Desert festival. Colourful craft bazaars and a sound and light spectacle, is oraganised with folk artistes performing against the splendid backdrop of the famous Sam sand dunes on the full moon night.
Climate & Geogaphical Location
Jaisalmer is very hot and dry in summer and extremely cold in winter. It is situated deep in the heart of the Thar desert, at an altitude of 225 metres.
How to Reach
By Air - Jodhpur at 285 km is the convenient airport and is well connected to Mumbai, Delhi, Rajkot, Aurangabad, Jaipur, Udaipur and Ahmedabad.
By Rail - The nearest railhead is Jodhpur and is connected to Delhi, Mumbai, Jaipur, Jaisalmer, Kota, Bikaner, Ahmedabad and all other major cities in the country. The Palace on Wheels, also visits this city of Royal splendour.
By Road - A good network of roads joins Jaisalmer with many destinations in and around Rajasthan.