Fondly known as ‘the Golden City’, Jaisalmer is one of the largest cities in the state of Rajasthan. Beckoning thousands of travellers round the year from different parts of India and abroad, Jaisalmer holds a prominent position in the Indian tourism arena. In addition to its expansive desert, stunning palaces, forts, havelis and Jain temples; the rich culture of Jaisalmer
is sure to leave you mesmerised during your visit to this amazing destination. Keep reading to know what all you can explore here!
Iconic Forts, Palaces and Havelis
Although the city holds a bevy of historical edifices, the most astounding one is the 15th-century Jaisalmer Fort. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the fort is among the world’s largest fortified cities. It consists of the Raj Mahal, Laxminath Temple, four mighty gateways and several Jain temples. The architecture and sandstone carvings on its walls are sure to leave you flabbergasted. Besides, Pokhran Fort and Khaba Fort
are paragons of Mughal and Rajput architectural styles.
The impressive Tazia Tower, which is set atop the beautiful Badal Palace, is another piece of architectural excellence. The palace itself is famous for its detailed layout and ornate interiors.
The city is home to several havelis that manifests the glorious history of Jaisalmer
. Patwon Ki Haveli, Salim Singh ki Haveli and Nathmal ki Haveli are the most prominent ones that are admired for their architecture, intricate carvings and wall paintings.
Bada Bagh – a huge garden complex – is known for a set of chhatris or cenotaphs belonging to the erstwhile rulers of Jaisalmer. Dedicated to the ancient sage Vyas, Vyas Chhatri is another architectural gem in the city that is a sight to behold.
An interesting site near the city, Kuldhara has gradually acquired the status of being haunted. Earlier inhabited by Paliwal Brahmins, it is now an abandoned village that is a must visit for curious souls. Reminding the courage and sacrifices of Indian soldiers, the noted Longewala War Memorial also deserves a visit.
Museums & Art Galleries
Getting acquainted with the history and cultural heritage of the Golden City can be a wonderful experience. Numerous museums and art galleries in the city are great spots to learn about the same. The famous Desert Culture Centre & Museum houses numerous artefacts, scriptures and manuscripts that depict the development of the city through centuries, while the noted Jaisalmer War Museum portrays the bravery and eventful past of the Indian Army through an impressive collection of exhibits.
The popular Thar Heritage Museum is another good place to know about the customs and traditions of the city. The collection here includes musical instruments, turbans, kitchen equipment, fossils and historical art pieces. You can also consider visiting Folklore Museum near Gadisar Lake to peek into the folk culture of the city. Besides, Government Museum of Jaisalmer displays rare sculptures from the old towns of Kiradu and Lodurva as well as marine and wood fossils.
Scenic Lakes and Sand Dunes
The city is also home to the beautiful Amar Sagar Lake and Gadsisar Sagar Lake. The best time to visit these lakes is in the evening as then you can capture some amazing shots of sunset.
A day trip or overnight camping at Sam Sand Dunes or Khuri Dunes can be a wonderful experience too. In addition to jeep or camel safari, you can interact with villagers and enjoy traditional delicacies in dinner.
The city and the surrounding area boast several temples that are worth a visit. Devoted to various Jain hermits or Tirthankars, the Jain Temples inside the Jaisalmer Fort were built between the 12th and 15th centuries. Even being that old, the temples have not lost their charm and their architecture and interiors speak volumes about the craftsmanship of that time.
Besides, Kunthanath Temple and Rishabhadeva Temple are highly revered sites among the followers of Jainism.
You can also seek blessings at Tanot Mata Temple and Shri Ramdev Temple (also known as Samadhi Mandir).
A perfect example of the ecosystem of the Thar Desert, Desert National Park is home to an array of birds, such as harriers, buzzards, falcons, eagles and kestrel. This park is also home to the endangered great Indian bustard.
Another preferred place to witness the biodiversity of Jaisalmer is Akal Wood Fossil Park, which houses fossil remains of prehistoric Jurassic era. Fossilised tree trunks of varying sizes and sea shells are common sights inside this park, and the hot and humid climate here favours the preservation of the same.