Today a remote outpost in the Thar Desert, Jaisalmer was founded in the 12th century by Maharawal Jaisal of the Bhatti Rajput clan. It was once a flourishing trade centre, strategically located on the busy caravan trade route to Afghanistan and Central Asia. Its earlier rulers grew rich by looting gems, silk and opium from the caravans, but by the 16th century Jaisalmer had become a peaceful town, whose wealthy traders and rulers vied with each other to beautify their austere desert surroundings with splendid palaces and havelis. Made of the local golden-yellow sandstone, they are the most spectacular examples of the Rajasthani stonemason's art. In the 18th century, with the growth of sea ports at Surat and Bombay (Mumbai), Jaisalmer importance dwindled. But the buildings from its golden age still stand, clustered around a magnificent fort.
Jaisalmer Quick facts
Jaisalmer Geography and Climate
Climate: Jaisalmer is a place with a typical desert climate. Summers are very hot while winters are cool and pleasant. Rainfall is scarce and dust storms may be the norm during daytime in summers. It is normal for the temperature to climb past 45 degrees during summer.
Best time to visit Jaisalmer
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 tying contest. Best time to visit this place is around : November-February.
Jaisalmer is a town in the Indian state of Rajasthan. It remains a mystery for all those who haven't visited the desert town as to how a place in the midst of the desert could attract tourists in such great numbers. Once a sleepy desert city, Jaisalmer has transformed itself into a major tourist destination of India. The sands of Jaisalmer come alive when the rays of the setting sun caress the sand and draw a heavenly picture. Equally beautiful are the wood- and stone-carved mansions and buildings that the Rajput rulers built and gave an altogether new character to this place in the midst of the desert. Jaisalmer has also become a popular destination for desert safaris in present times.
Jaisalmer Near Getaways
Sam Sand Dunes: Situated at the edge of the Thar Desert, Sam Sand Dunes are major tourist attractions near Jaisalmer. Enjoying Camel safaris on the sand dunes are truly an unforgettable experience. Sam Sand Dunes is also famous for its breathtakingly beautiful sunset.
District : Jaisalmer, West Rajasthan Distance : 563 kms from Jaipur city Jaisalmer is situated on the border of India and Pakistan in West Rajasthan. The area of Jaisalmer is 5.1 kms.
How to reach Jaisalmer by Road
Regular deluxe bus services are available to Jaisalmer from Jodhpur. Buses
How to reach Jaisalmer by Rail
Although railways in Jaisalmer is not well developed, there is direct metre gauge service between Jodhpur and Jaisalmer. Jaisalmer also figures in the route of luxury trains-The Palace on Wheels and Royal Orient Express. There are daily trains to Jaisalmer from Jodhpur, which is well connected to all the major cities by the network of trains such as Agra, Jaipur, New Delhi, Mumbai and many more. The Jaisalmer Railway Station is just a 10-minute drive from Gadi Sagar Pol.
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How to reach Jaisalmer by Air
Jaisalmer has its own airport, 10km from the city proper with connections to Delhi and Mumbai; other important cities in India are connected via Jodhpur (275km).
Jaisalmer Festivals and culture
In February, you can witness the city coming alive with the Desert Festival where camel races, folk dances and turban tying competitions are very common.
The Jaisalmer city is a prominent educational as well as cultural hub in the region and regularly showcases the vivid cultural aspects of Rajasthan. Among others, it includes folk dances as well as semi classical and folk music. A visit to the 'Desert Culture Center and Museum' would give tourists a good idea of the history and culture of Rajasthan.
Jaisalmer Religious Places
Bhatiyani Rani Temple: Just 2 Km from the town of Jaisalmer is a famous Hindu shrine built in honour of the 19th century Bhatti princess, who became sati on her brother-in-law's pyre. The shrine is taken care by Muslim musicians or the Manganiyars who engage in soulful ballads narrating the incident and the history of Jaisalmer.
Jaisalmer Fort: Jaisalmer Fort is considered as the second oldest fort in the state of Rajasthan, the oldest being the Chittorgarh Fort. Jaisalmer Fort rises like a fabulous mirage out of the sands of the Thar Desert, the awesome contours of its 99 bastions softened by the golden hue of the stone. Built in 1156 by Maharawal Jaisal, and added to his successors, this citadel stands on the peak of the 80-m(263-ft) high Trikuta Hill. In medieval times, Jaisalmer's entire population lived within the fort and even now, thousands of people reside here, making it India's only living fort. Royal palaces, a cluster of Jain temples, mansions and shops are all contained within its walls.
Jaisalmer Entertainment and Night Life
Camel Safari around Jaisalmer: The fascinating desertscape around Jaisalmer is best explored on a camel safari. A two-day excursion takes in historic sights and villages of sheep and camel herds. Overnight stay in tents offer magical dawns and sunsets amid the dunes. Cushions are provided, but riders are advised to carry an extra one, to help soften the effects of the camel's lurching gait.
Jaisalmer has nothing to offer in terms of night clubs and pubs. One can enjoy late night rooftop dinner with a splendid picturesque view of the Haveli's and illuminated Fort. The golden yellow sandstone that has been used in the construction of Jaisalmer fort gives it a unique outlook. It is because of this fact that the fort is sometimes called as Sonar Qila (meaning golden fort). This fort looks quite fascinating at night.
Kidding around Jaisalmer
Gadsisar Sagar Tank: Gadsisar Sagar Tank is one of the most beautiful tourist attractions in Jaisalmer. A famous picnic spot, the Tank attracts hundreds of migratory birds during the winter season.
Jaisalmer is famous for its mirror work garments and wall-hangings, rugs, blankets, antiques and old stonework. Try to shop for these items at the government-owned markets such as Khadi Gramodyog Bhavan or try a bit of haggling at Sonar Bazaar, Manik Chowk, Pansari Bazaar and Gandhi Darshan. Manik Chowk was once the hub for the caravans. The tiny shops here sell camel hair blankets, rich embroidered textiles and silver ornaments.
Famous To Eat at Jaisalmer
Famous places to eat: Ristorabte Italiano La Purezza a rooftop restaurant - Beer, Pizzas, Pastas,etc,. Trio - Indian and Western Cuisine. Rang Mahal Hotel - Traditional Rajasthani Cuisine.
Jaisalmer Museum and Hill Stations
Desert Culture Centre and Museum : The Desert Culture Centre and Museum has an impressive collection of traditional items of the state. These include old coins, different kinds of textiles and traditional Rajasthani instruments. Some fossils found in the desert have also been kept for display. A visit to the museum would give tourists a good idea of the history and culture of Rajasthan.
Gardens and Parks at Jaisalmer
Akal Fossil Park : 17 KM from Jaisalmer Extraordinary fossilized tree trunks, some of them 180 million years old, can be seen in this park. They bear witness to the fact that this arid area was once covered with dense forest.
Lake at Jaisalmer
Gadi sagar Lake; Near 'Tillon ki Gate' in Jaisalmer : It is not an oasis but a water conservation tank. This rainwater reservoir, built in 1367, by the then maharaja of Jaisalmer, Maharawal Ghdsi Singh was once the city's sole source of water. In winters, you might get to see a variety of migratory birds and this place is an ideal destination for picnics.
Climate of Jaisalmer :-
Jaisalmer Travel Tips
Visit to Sam dunes and watch the Sun set in the evening. Explore the desert on your own but always within the proximity of your tour. A visit to the 'Desert Culture Center and Museum' would give tourists a good idea of the history and culture of Rajasthan.
Jaisalmer Tourist Offices
The Rajasthan Government run RTDC has two tourist offices in Jaisalmer. The staff is friendly and helpful, speak English and will assist with reservations, tour bookings, camel safaris and other tourist information. Tourist Office Rajasthan Near TRC, Station Road, Gadi Sagar Pol Jaisalmer Telephone: 02992-52406 RTDC also has a Tourist Information Bureau, Tel :52392, at the RTDC run Moomal Tourist Bungalow, which will supply basic information, maps etc.
Must do at Jaisalmer
Jaisalmer Fort, Rajmahal, Parsvanath Jain Temple, Gadisar Lake, Salim Singh-ki-Haveli, Nathmal-ki-Haveli, etc,. are the must see places in and around Jaisalmer. Don't Miss the Boat Ride and Feeding of numerous Catfish in Gadisar Tank, Viewing Exquisite Paintings Patwon-ki-Haveli, Camel Safari on Sand Dunes.