in the Golden City
Online Hotel Reservations in Jaisalmer
golden city of Jaisalmer, which lies courageously as the western
sentinel of India, is a place worth visiting. The golden ray of
the setting sun draws a heavenly picture on the sands of Jaisalmer.
The magnificent wood- and stone-carved mansions and buildings display
the love of the Rajputs towards the fine arts.
Jaisalmer is a border district of India located in the state of Rajasthan and
touching Pakistan. Most of the district is part of Thar Desert and offers excellent
camel safari options. Jaisalmer is connected to other cities in the state as
well as in Gujarat and some other places in India with National Highway No 15.
At an altitude of 793 meters, maximum temperature is 46 degrees Celsius and
minimum 35 degrees Celsius. In winter the highest is 14 and lowest is 1 degree
Best season to visit Jaisalmer is between October and March.
Jaisalmer was founded by the Bhatti Rajput chieftain Rawal Jaisal in 1156.
According to the local legends, seeking a more secure capital, the usurper was
advised by a saint to build a castle on the Trikuta hill. It was in fulfillment
of Lord Krishna's prophecy that a distant scion of his Yadav clan would build
a kingdom here. There was water on the hill, a miracle performed by Krishna
to quench the thirst of Arjuna. The hilltop offered the safest fort location,
dominating and surveying the desert for miles.
fort is the second oldest in Rajasthan after Chittor and commands
the desertscape from its 250 feet high perch on the hill. Three
strong walls protect the citadel. Sharp turns on the road topped
by high defense gateways made it invincible. At the highest point
of the place can be seen an umbrella-Meghadamber symbolic of Krishna.
Palaces Inside the Jaisalmer Fort
The fort has five palaces called Sarvottam Vilas, Akhai Vilas, Gaj
Mahal, Rang Mahal and Moti Mahal-all interconnected behind the seven-storied
façade. Small stairs take you from one court to another with
superb jail screens shading interiors from the fierce heat and desert
wind. The Rang Mahal built by Mool Raj II has some exquisite murals
painted on arches and spandrels. From the balconies you get a terrific
view of the mammoth ramparts below guarding the small city. Balconies
at the Gaj Mahal are also breathtakingly beautiful. The fort contains
one third of the city's population within the small houses on the
Within the fort are the three most exquisitely sculptured Jain temples
dedicated to Rishabhdevji, Sambhavanathji and the Ashthapadi temple.
Their ornamentation done in the style of the Dilwara temples at
Mt. Abu is simply marvelous. The emerald icon of Mahavira is an
Havelis of Jaisalmer
Salem Singh Haveli
It is at an unhurried pace that the havelis (houses of rich merchants)
should be seen and admired. These havelis are the pride of Jaisalmer
architecture, a part of the national heritage. Salem Singh haveli,
at the eastern end of the city is an Arabian Nights structure, which
like a wild flower blossoms at the top.
Patwon ki Haveli
Near the city center is the Patwon ki Haveli, built by Guman Chand Patwa and
his five sons. The five suites built between 1800 and 1860 are virtually the
showpiece of Jaisalmer's legendary architectural wealth. The carving on stone
far surpasses in beauty the work on brocade and gold. The balconies are so delicately
chiseled you would stand mesmerized by the splendor of it all, particularly
when viewed early in the morning or in late afternoon. Oblique sunrays create
enchanting and dramatic shadows, highlighting the carving and infusing a new
life of its own. It is the grandest mansion in Jaisalmer, a veritable museum
piece in the open.
The third haveli belongs to Nathmal, a later day prime minister who gifted it
to the Rawal and was allowed to retain it. Built by two brothers in 1885, this
haveli has two identical looking portions, which are in fact two different parts
united by a common façade. Look for the projected balconies which seem
to emerge from books of poetry. So ethereal, so charming. The carving never
looked better. A perfect example of jeweler's art applied to stone carving.
The Muslim silavats (artisans) did a wonderful job here and left a marvelous
legacy of craftsmanship excellent in detail and flawless in conception. If only
for viewing these havelis a trip to Jaisalmer is more than amply rewarded.
FAIRS AND FESTIVALS
The most famous of the local festivals is the camel fair that is held during
the winter season of the year. Camel dances, camel races, folk dance, and music
are some of the major attractions of this place. It is also known as the desert
Jaisalmer is famous for its embroidery,
Rajasthani mirror work, rugs, blankets and the finely cut antiques.
The market in and outside the fort is famous for the bargain of
local products. There is another famous marketplace for crystals
and rare minerals outside the Jain temple.
HOW TO REACH
Flights are not the best way to reach Jaisalmer. Jodhpur is the nearest
airport at a distance of 500 km. Indian Airlines has a twice-weekly service
to Jodhpur from Delhi.
From Jodhpur there is a direct train to Jaisalmer for overnight journey, except
on Wednesday. The journey takes approximately ten hours. The Palace on Wheels
is the most luxurious way to travel to Jaisalmer, recreating within the coaches
the ambience of the legendary palace comforts. Advance reservation required.
Jaisalmer is 897 kilometers from Delhi; 638 kilometers from Jaipur; 285 kilometers
from Jodhpur; 500 kilometers from Ajmer, and 330 kilometers from Bikaner. Most
of these places are connected to Jaisalmer by National Highway No 15.