Location 285-km From Jodhpur, Rajasthan
Tourist Attractions: Jaisalmer Fort, Manak Chowk & Havelis
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 Rajasthan's 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.
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.
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 for outings.
Jain Temples: - The fort has three exquisitely carved Jain Temples
dedicated to the Jain Tirthankaras - Rishabhdevji and Sambhavnathji.
Gyan Bhandar or Library: Some of the oldest manuscripts of India are
found in this library established as a part of Jain temples.
RAJASTHAN TRAIN TRAVEL
PALACE ON WHEELS
Ever wondered what luxury in the royal times was all about! Welcome to
Palace On Wheels, a luxury train that carries with it an ambience of the
Rajputana era and an exciting fairytale journey, which takes the visitor
to the imperial cities of Rajasthan every single day. The coaches also
carry out an image of the Rajput states with beautiful interiors. Last
but not the least the "Royal Treat" for the passengers on board include
saloons, bar lounges & libraries in every coach as well as restaurant
and organized shopping facilites.
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.
Desert National Park (40-km from Jaisalmer) : It preserves the
eco-system of the desert within its confines. The Monitor lizards,
desert foxes, porcupines, occasional wolves and black bucks, and the
Great Indian Bustard (a protected bird ) are found here, forming an
ecological chain revolving around cactii and other hardy desert plants.
Bada Bagh (6-km from Jaisalmer) : A fertile oasis on the bank of an
artificial lake. Much of the city's fruits and vegetables are grown
here. Surrounded by dense trees are the royal cenotaphs with beautifully
carved ceilings and equestrian statues of the former rulers.
Camel Safaris : These are conducted on many routes.
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.
PLACES TO STAY
Being one of the major cities of Rajasthan, Jaisalmer is well equipped
with standard and luxurious hotels as well as budget accommodations.
FAIRS & FESTIVALS
The Desert Festival takes place in January-February of each Year. Camel
races and dances, folk music, desert ballads, puppeteers - they're all
part of the activity. At the full moon night, a sound and light drama is
performed at Sam.
Jaisalmer is famous for mirror work, embroidered articles, woollen pattu
and other items made of good quality, locally produced wood, wooden
boxes, trinklets, silver jewellery and curios.
The main shopping areas are Sadar Bazaar and Sonaron Ka Bas, Manak Chowk,
Pansari Bazaar and also Rajasthali - Government shop for handicrafts and
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
Road: A good network of roads joins Jaisalmer with Jodhpur and many
other destinations in and around Rajasthan.
Jaisalmer has got extreme climate. Best time to visit from October to