|The Golden City (View from The Jaisalmer fort)|
Jaisalmer is the largest district of Rajasthan and third largest in the country in area. It lies in the Thar Desert, which straddles the border of India and Pakistan. It is bounded on the northeast by Bikaner District, on the east by Jodhpur District, on the south by Barmer District, and on the west and north by Pakistan.
Jaisalmer is named after its founder Maharawal Jaisal Singh, a Rajput king in 1156 AD."Jaisalmer" means "the Hill Fort of Jaisal". Jaisalmer is sometimes called the "Golden City of India" because the yellow sand and the yellow sandstone used in every architecture of the city gives a yellowish-golden tinge to the city and its surrounding area.
While Jaisalmer may always have been remote, it is filled with many artistic structures and monuments of local historical importance. Jaisalmer's medieval mud fortress and walled township make it a popular tourist destination. The surrounding desolate landscape evidences a stark, austere beauty. Camel safaris through the nearby desert dunes are popular with tourists; competition for business is fierce. A few quiet days spent wandering around the town and the surrounding desert can be a wonderful way of unwinding from the chaos of larger Indian cities.
Jaisalmer Fort is one of the largest forts in the world. It is situated in Jaisalmer city Jaisalmer and built in 1156 by the Bhati Rajput ruler Jaisal, It is situated on Meru Hill and Named as Trikoot Garh had seen the scene of many battles. Its massive sandstone walls are a tawny lion colour during the day, turning to a magical honey-gold as the sun sets. This is a living fort and about a quarter of city's populations still live inside the fort. The main attractions inside the fort are: Raj Mahal (Royal palace, Jain temples and the Laxminath temple.
The famous Indian film director Satyajit Ray wrote a detective novel and later turned it into a film – Sonar Kella (The Golden Fortress) which was based on this fort.
Tazia Tower was constructed in the form of Tazia that are usually part of Muslim religious festivities. Representing the secular identity of the region, the Muslim craftsmen had constructed the beautiful architectural master piece as gift for the imperial Hindu king of Maharawal Berisal Singh.
An integral part of the unique art and craft of Jaisalmer, the Tazia Tower represents the enriched architectural zeal and imagination of the local craftsman of the ancient period. The tourists are absolutely thrilled with the awesome architecture of the five storeyed Tower.
Jain Temples situated in the Jaisalmer Fort are a must visit site in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan. You will find these temples to be very old and high pilgrimage as well as archeological value attached to them. These are a group of Jain temples dating back 12th and 15th centuries and are dedicated to various Jain Tirthankars (Hermits). On the walls of the temples, you can find animal & human figures, carved in famous Dilwara style.
These temples are built in the Dilwara style that is famous all over the world for its architecture. The style got its name from the famous 'Dilwara Temples' situated on Mount Abu, a famous Hill station and pilgrimage destination in Rajasthan. The Jain temples in the Jaisalmer Fort are dedicated to Rikhabdevji and Shambhavdev Ji, the famous Jain hermits known as 'Tirthankars'. Like all other structures in Jaisalmer, these temples are craved of yellow sandstones. The beautifully carves decorations on the wall will give you divine peace. The Astapadhi Temples that are situated in the same complex are a must visit too.
Nathmal Ji ki haveli
Nathmal Ji ki haveli was commissioned to serve as the residence of Diwan Mohata Nathmal, the then Prime Minister of Jaisalmer. Maharawal Beri Sal commissioned the construction of this Haveli. The architects of this haveli were Hathi and Lulu who happened to be brothers. There is a very interesting story regarding its construction. It is said that the two brothers started building different facets of haveli simultaneously. In those days there were no such instruments, which could keep a track on continuity and thus when this building came up finally it had irregular shape.
Barring that, this haveli is still considered the best in Jaisalmer in terms of grandeur. There are other minute details worth appreciation. For example there are two Elephants made of yellow stone. These life-size replicas have been put in front of the main entrance so that it looks as if they are guarding the Haveli. Other than these, there are pictures engraved on pillars and walls. These consist of Horses, Cattle, and depiction of Flora among other things. But the most interesting aspect of this haveli is the drawing of modern amenities such as cars, fans etc. It is said and believed that the Architect brothers dint see these things ever in their life and engraved it with mere help of their descriptions given by people who had seen it.
Salim Singh ki haveli
Like other havelis in Jaisalmer, this too has tuskers guarding the gateways. These are made of sand stones and look very close to the original in appearance. The haveli consists of as many as 38 balconies and they all have distinct designs for themselves. The front facet of the haveli resembles ship stern and thus this haveli is also sometimes referred as Jahaz (ship) Mahal.
Gadisar Lake is one of the most important tourist attractions in Jaisalmer. Its charm lies in the fact that it was the only source of water for the Jaisalmer city in the olden days. A manmade reservoir, the Gadisar Lake in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan was constructed by Raja Rawal Jaisal, the first ruler of Jaisalmer. In the later years Maharaja Garisisar Singh rebuilt and revamped the lake.
Artistically carved Chattris, Temples, Shrines and Ghats surround the banks of Gadisar Lake. Located towards the south of Jaisalmer city the entrance to the Gadisar Lake or Garsisar Tank is through a magnificent and artistically carved yellow sandstone archway that is known as the Tilon-Ki-Pol.
The view of the Jaisalmer Fort from the Gadisar Lake is breathtaking.
Sam Sand Dunes
Enjoy the romance of solitude as your camel takes you deep in the hearts of the Thar Desert. Viewing the sun set behind the horizon from here is an unforgettable experience.