Jaisalmer is known as the Golden City for its beautiful sun-soaked sand dunes, exuberant forts, and rich culture and traditions. The city is has got its name from Maharaja Jaisal Singh and it was founded in the 12th century and its rulers patronized the fine arts and were tolerant of other religions, especially Jainism. Jaisalmer’s glory reached new heights from the 16th to the 18th century. The city also hosts the annual Desert Festival in January-February and attracts travelers from across the globe to witness the magic of Rajasthani art forms. Here In every street, you will find a new ritual, in every face, you’ll see an acquaintance. Here are some places to visit in Jaisalmer:
Jaisalmer Fort is the second oldest fort in Rajasthan, built in 1156 AD by the Rajput Rawal (ruler) Jaisal from whom it derives its name and stood at the crossroads of important trade routes. It is located on the southern edge of the city and is popularly also known as ‘Sonar Qila’ or ‘Golden Fort’. This Fort was initially named ‘Trikut Garh’ since it was triangular in shape and was also built over the Trikuta Hills. The fort stands at an impressive height of 250 ft. and is surrounded by a 30 ft. tall walls. Owing to its altitude, it offers a stunning and panoramic view of Jaisalmer city draped in golden yellow.
Patwon ki Haveli
Patwon-Ki-Haveli is essentially a cluster of five havelis; it was constructed in the 1805s by the Patwa brothers who were the merchant of brocade and jewelry. This Haveli has intricately carved windows and balconies, while the interior contains a tiny museum, mirror work, and a few crackling paintings. There are about 60 balconies in the haveli. Amongst the five Havelis which form the entire complex, one has been converted into a museum which displays a vast collection of antique furniture and decorative goods. Besides this, the second or third Haveli, premises mansion also rich items that include traditional art and craft work of the local craftsmen. Two havelis are under the authorization of the Archaeological Survey of India and one serves as private accommodation.
Gadi Sagar Lake
The Gadi Sagar Lake was constructed by the first ruler of the land, Raja Rawal Jaisal and later reconstructed by Maharaja Gadsi Singh in 1367 AD to provide water to the old city. The emerald waters of this lake make it a perfect place to take a stroll and just unwind after the day’s sightseeing. The artistically carved entrance made of yellow sandstone offers breathing view. Peoples can go boating in the lake or simply enjoy a walk around the embankment. Whether you like to spend some quiet time by yourself or have fun with your family, Gadisar Lake has a handful of experiences to offer.
Salim Singh Ki Haveli
Salim Singh’s mansion was built in 1815 by Salim Singh when Jaisalmer was the capital. This mansion was not made with the help of cement and mortar, but these stones were connected to iron rods. This Haveli also holds another beautiful name – Jahaz Mahal because the front facet of the Haveli resembles a ship stern. This Haveli is known for its unique and eye-catching view. It has 38 balconies with yellow-blue cloaks and these all have different designs and styles, and peacock-shaped roofs. Salim Singh ki Haveli is constructed on the remains of the old Haveli which was built in the late 17th century. The Haveli also houses a beautiful Moti Mahal where dances were held to entertain the aristocrats and royal courtiers.
Nathmal ki Haveli
Nathmal ki Haveli is one of the few mansions that are still inhabited. The haveli is named after Mohata Nathmal, who was the Prime Minister of Jaisalmer at that time. This 19th-century haveli was constructed by two brothers, who decided to give their imagination free reign. The main reason to enter Nathmal ki Haveli is to explore the beautiful paintings on the first floor that made use of nearly 1.5kg of gold. 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.
Bada Bagh was commissioned in the 16th century by Maharaja Jai Singh II and completed after his death. Situated 6kms to the north of Jaisalmer and it includes a garden and is surrounded by a nearby dam and massive wind turbines. This adds to the beauty of the royal cenotaphs and equestrian statues here. It is actually located on a small hillock and the entrance to the cenotaphs is set at the bottom of the hill. The chhatris are the same color as the landscape around them, a dull brown of the sand, and hence, appear like a mirage in the desert.
Sam Sand Dunes
Sam Sand Dunes is the ideal location to set off for the Desert Safari and it lying around 40-42 kilometers from the Golden city ‘Jaisalmer’. You will surely love the safari on camelback that would take you along crests and trough and you could watch the picturesque sunset on the desert. Sam Sand Dunes are also perfect for camel safaris. In February, these dunes are home to the Jaisalmer Desert Festival. These dunes are perfect sunrise and sunset viewing points and you can even sign up for a night camp, spending the dark hours under the beautiful desert sky.