The name Jaisalmer evokes a vivid picture of sheer magic
and brilliance of the desert. The exotic, remote and
beautiful, 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 Rajasthan's best-loved tourist destinations.
Local colour and warmth prevail over the inhospitable
and forbidding terrain, imbuing the medieval town with a
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.
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.
Prime Attractions of Jaisalmer
The golden - yellow sandstone of Jaisalmer Fort, over
800 years old, crowns the Trikuta Hill. Within its
walls, defended by 99 turrets, lies the old city, nearly
a quarter of modern Jaisalmer.
Held in the months of January-February, the Desert
Festival exudes a delightful spirit. For three days, the
otherwise barren land of Jaisalmer comes to life and is
clustered with hordes of colourfully dressed people.
This group of fine Jain temples were built in the 12th
to 15th century within the Jaisalmer Fort. They are
beautifully carved and dedicated to Rishabdevji and
The beautiful mansions built by Jaisalmer's wealthy
merchants are known as 'havelis' and several of these
fine sandstone buildings are still in beautiful
condition. Patwon ki Haveli is the most elaborate and
magnificent of all the Jaisalmer havelis.
Gadsisar Lake in Jaisalmer, the rainwater fed reservoir,
was built in 1156 AD and rebuilt in 1367AD by Maharwal
Govt Museum - Jaisalmer
The Government Museum in Jaisalmer is situated on Police
Line Road near Moomal Hotel. It was opened in 1984. The
large collection of wood and marine fossils in the
museum gives an insight into the geological past of the
Outside the fort is the main market place called Manak
Chowk, which is the centre of local activity. From Manak
Chowk, one can walk into the lanes where the famous
carved havelis are to be found. Each haveli's facade
differs from other. Built mainly during the 18th and
19th centuries, the carving in the havelis of Jaisalmer
is of a very superior quality.
These are conducted on many routes.
For anyone interested in seeing the culture of Jaisalmer
on display through the ages, the Lok Sanskritik
Sangrahalaya or the Museum of Folk Culture situated on
the bank of Gadsisar Lake in Mehar Bagh Garden is a
Gadsisar Sagar Tank
Gadsisar Sagar is a scenic rain water lake with numerous
beautiful shrines around. The lake is an idyllic spot
for outings and picniking.
Gyan Bhandar or Library
Some of the oldest manuscripts of India are found in
this library established as a part of Jain temples.
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page Located 11 kms off the Jaisalmer Road, Kailana Lake
is a picturesque lake. One can witness the spectacular
sunsets and cherish the beauty of the place.
The ancient capital of Jaisalmer, some vestiges of
former glory remain.