Discover Jaisalmer the Gold City in RajasthanJaisalmer, the desert city, is also called the Golden city thanks to the color it gets from the yellow sandstone
Jaisalmer, the desert city, is also called the Golden city thanks to the color it gets from the yellow sandstone used for construction of the buildings.
Close to Pakistan border Jaisalmar is one the last big towns in Rajasthan and stands in the heart of the Thar Desert.
Centered on the important ancient camel-train route ran through India and Central Asia, over the centuries the fortunes of Jaisalmer have risen and fallen thanks to the geo-politics of the region and, of course, emergence of newer trading routes.
One of the largest fortifications on the planet, Jaisalmer Fort is the only living fort in Rajasthan. Home to some 3,000 people, Jaisalmer Fort has within its walls houses and businesses, homestays and cafes and temples galore. In 2013, Jaisalmer Fort was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its sandstone walls lend the fort a golden hue thus giving it the sobriquet, Sonar Quila or Golden Fort. Being a living fort makes Jaisalmer extremely unique and making it very easy to imagine what life inside the fort must have been all those centuries ago.
The fort’s center is Dussehra Chowk and towering over this square is the 11-storey palace that served as the private residence of the rulers. A part of the palace stands over Hawa Pol (Gate of Winds) and offers views of the square that was (and remains) the center of most activity within the fort. Quite like the buildings of its time in Rajasthan the windows of the zenana or the women’s chambers are designed such that they offer the person inside unrestricted views of the goings-on below without being spotted in return. Almost all the rooms have quite small doorways, built for the express purpose of forcing the entrant to bow and stoop as they enter.
The group of intricately carved temples within the walls of Jaisalmer Fort is yet another attraction of the city. These seven Jain temples were built between 12th and 15th centuries and are connected to each other by corridors and walkways. You will be required to take leave all your leather accessories (belts, purses, wallets) as well as your shoes before entering the temple. The first temple in this cluster (and possibly the most popular one) is the one dedicated to Chandraprabhu, the eighth tirthankar.
Patwa ki Haveli
Patwa ki Haveli or Patwon ki Haveli is not one but rather a cluster of five havelis. The havelis with their intricate carvings and views of the fort also offer an insight into just how rich the small town of Jaisalmer really was. If you are interested in history and culture, it is very easy to lose track of time in these havelis.
Nathmal ki Haveli
Perhaps the youngest of the havels in Jaisalmer is Nathmal ki Haveli. The haveli served as the residence of the prime minister of Jaisalmer has some exquisite carvings on the outside and some beautiful paintings on the inside.
Bada Bagh is a cenotaph garden is about six km away from Jaisalmer but one that has to be seen to be believed. The garden stands at the foot of a hill and the several chattris or cenotaphs stand in memory of the late rulers of Jaisalmer. Note that there are no bodies here and the tombs are empty.
Standing on the edge of the city, Vyas Chhatri is dedicated to Vyasa, the author of (and a character in) the epic Mahabharata. Vyas Chhatri has several cenotaphs dedicated to honor those who have passed away and serves as a cremation ground for the Pushkarana Brahmin community.
Thar Heritage Museum
Unlike most museums in the country, Thar Heritage Museum is privately owned and operated. The museum set up by a chap called LN Khatri who serves as a local historian and storyteller offers insights into the culture of the region.
Gadisar Lake or Gadsisar Lake is named after Gadsi Singh and is an artificial reservoir that, until 1965, was the only source of water supply to the city. The banks of Gadisar Lake are dotted by several small temples and shrines that make a visit to this place even more attractive. Take a boat ride in the lake and feed the several catfish or simply sit by the banks and watch the waterfowls that migrate here during the winters.
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