Jaisalmer Travel Guide
The 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.
The city has an interesting legend associated with it, according to which, lord Krishna- the head of Yadav clan foretold Arjuna that a remote descendent of the Yadav clan would build his kingdom atop the Trikuta Hill, His prophecy was fulfilled in 1156AD. When Rawal Jaisal, a Bhatti Rajput abandoned his fort at Lodurva and founded a new capital Jaisalmer, perched on the Trikuta Hill Bhatti Rajputs of Jaisalmer were fedual chief who lived off the forced levy on the caravans laden with precious silks and spices that crossed the territory enroute Delhi-or Sind. These seems to be straight out of the "Tales of the Arabian Night ' still enchants.
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. the setting turn Jaisalmer into a beautiful golden brown is a spectacular sight.
The perfect time to visit the golden city is during the Desert Festival held in Jan/Feb. every year, when the city reverberates to the sound of melodious tunes and rhythms. Folk dances, exciting competitions and contest, especially the turban raying contest.
History Of Jaisalmer
The city Jaisalmer was founded by Bhatti Rajput Rawal Jaisal in 1156. The history of Jaisalmer also reveals the courage and determination of the Rajputs. The city used to be a major trade center as it was the trade route of the western countries to India.
Location ( Jaisalmer)
Jaisalmer is situated in the westernmost part of the state of Rajasthan, the heart of the great Thar Desert. It has neighboring Pakistan on its western side. On its south, there is the beautiful city of Bikaner. The eastern part of the place is bordered by Jodhpur, another city of color and tradition. The climate of this city is of typical desert character. Population of this city is quite low compared to the other parts of the state. The best time to visit this desert city is the winter season (November to February) when the heat becomes comparatively low. The desert festival held during the last winter months of January and February is the most opportune time for the people to visit Jaisalmer.
Attraction ( Jaisalmer)
The Jaisalmer Fort
Jaisalmer Fort is the most alive of any museum, fort or palace that you are likely to visit in India. It was built in 1156 by the Rajput ruler Jaisala. About a quarter of the old city's population resides within the fort walls. The fort is entered through a forbidding series of massive gates leading to a large courtyard.
The delicate pagoda like Tazia Tower rises from Badal Mahal (Cloud Palace). Rising in its five tiered splendour, with each storey graced by a delicately carved balcony, the tower is of historical significance.
A scenic rain water lake with numerous beautiful shrines around. The lake is an idyllic spot for outings.
Within the fort walls are a group of beautifully carved Jain temples built between the 12th and 15th centuries. They are dedicated to Rikhabdev and Sambhavanth. Gyan Bhandar or Library : Some of the oldest manuscripts of India are found in this library established as a part of Jain temples.
The impressive mansions built by the wealthy merchants of Jaisalmer are known as havelis, and several of these fine sandstone buildings are still in good condition.
This haveli was built about 300 years ago and part of it is still occupied. Salim Singh was the prime minister when Jaisalmer was the capital of a princely state, and his mansion has a beautifully arched roof with superb carved brackets in the form of peacocks. The mansion is just below the hill and it is said, once had two additional wooden storeys in an attempt to make it as high as the Maharaja's palace, but the maharaja had the upper storeys torn down.
It is one of the largest and most elaborate houses in Jaisalmer. It is five storeys high, extinsively carved. It is divided into six apartments, two owned by the Archaeological Survey of India, Two by families who operate craftshops here, and two private homes.
This late 19th century haveli was also a prime minister's house. This haveli was carved by two brothers, one working on the right side and the other on the left. Yellow sandstone elephants guard the building, and even the front door is a work of art.
Nearby Places ( Jaisalmer)
This is an ancient capital of Jaisalmer. Northwest of Jaisalmer, Lodurva is an important centre of Jain pilgrimage. The Jain temples, rebuilt in the late 1970s, are the only reminders of the city's former magnificence. The main temple has an image of Parasnath, the 23rd tirthankar.
Barmer (153 km from Jaisalmer)
Barmer is a small and lively desert town, known for its hand block printing industry, carved wooden furniture and colourful costumes worn by its friendly people. The best time to visit is during the gay Barmer festival held every year in the month of march.
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 camel safari. This is Jaisalmer's nearest real Sahara-like desert. This place has become a massive tourist attraction.
Desert National Park
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.
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.
Travel Information (Jaisalmer)
By Air : Indian Airlines operates flights to Jodhpur, Jaipur, Mumbai and Delhi from Jaisalmer.
By Bus : There are many deluxe buses operating daily from Jaisalmer to Jodhpur, Jaipur, Bikaner.
By Train : There are two trains IJPJ and Jodhpur express which operates daily from Jaisalmer to Jodhpur.