else in India is remotely similar to Jaisalmer. Its
desert fort, which resembles a gigantic sandcastle,
is straight out of 'The Thousand and One Nights'.
There are many havelis which can be found elsewhere
in Rajasthan, but nowhere are they quite as exquisite
as in Jaisalmer. Even the humblest shops and houses
display something of the Rajput love of the decorative
arts. There is a down side to Jaisalmer becoming one
of Rajasthan's most popular tourist destinations.
Jaisalmer is a great place to simply wander. The old
city was once completely surrounded by an extensive
wall, much of which has sadly been ripped away in
recent times for building material. Some of it remains,
however, including the city gates and, inside them,
the massive fort which rises above the city and is
the essence of Jaisalmer. The main market area is
directly below the hill, while the banks, the new
palace and several other shops and offices are near
the Amar Sagar Gate to the west.
Dinner at the
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.
Jain Temples: 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.
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.
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.
is one of the largest and most elaborate houses in
Jaisalmer. It is five storeys high, extensively carved.
It is divided into six apartments, two owned by the
Archaeological Survey of India, Two by families who
operate craft shops here, and two private homes.
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.
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 1JPJ and Jodhpur express which operates
daily from Jaisalmer to Jodhpur.