Jaisalmer City


Jaisalmer is the most magical and vibrant of the desert cities of Rajasthan. ‘The Golden City’ and World Heritage Site was once known as the Jaisalmer state. The yellowish sandstone is crowned by a fort that contains the palace and several ornate Jain temples. Jaisalmer’s origin can be traced back to the Rajput chieftain, Rawal Jaisal, who set the foundations of the fort in this strategic but formidable part of the desert. From the 17th century onwards, the city prospered. It became a coveted stronghold on the great Spice Route from Persia and Afghanistan. Today, Jaisalmer is a lively hub, indeed an entry point to the Thar – the mysterious yet serene Great Indian Desert.

The origins of Jaisalmer can be traced back to the golden-yellow fort that is more than 800 years old. The fort sits atop the Trikuta Hill, defended by 99 turrets. The old city lies within the fort and is home to nearly a quarter of modern Jaisalmer.
One of the most exquisite of its kind with a remarkably intricate latticed façade. It stands in a narrow lane and one of its apartments is painted with beautiful murals. A group of five havelis it was built by a rich gold merchant at that time. The opulence of the carvings is a testament to the wealth of the patron.One of the largest havelis in Rajasthan, Patwon ki Haveli is a cluster of five small havelis. Started by Guman Chand Patwa, a wealthy banker, Patwon ki Haveli took almost 55 years to be built and was completed by his sons. The haveli is dipped in an enchanting shade of gold and instantly draws your attention to the intricacy of its architecture. It is most famous for its fine wall paintings, beautiful jharokhas (balconies), archways and gateways. A walk through the haveli should not take more than an hour, and this can easily be covered in a city tour.
Once the residence of Diwan Mohata Nathmal, who was the Prime Minister of Jaisalmer, this grand haveli has an interesting story behind it. It is said that the construction of this structure began from two sides at the same time. With huge life-size elephants carved out of yellow stone and intricately carved exteriors and interiors, this haveli is one you just can’t afford to miss.Two architect brothers built this haveli, each commissioned to concentrate on one side of the building. Although the motif used in one is not similar to the other, they are in harmony. The excellent craftsmanship of the stone carver is illustrated in the gossamer quality of the screened windows.
Salim Singh-ki-Haveli is nearly two centuries old; people still live here. Salim Singh was the much-feared prime minister when Jaisalmer was the capital of a princely state. His mansion built in 1825 has a beautifully arched roof with superb carved brackets in the form of peacocks.Salim Singh ki Haveli was built by Salim Singh, who was the formidable prime minister of Jaisalmer when it was the capital of the princely state. Almost 300 years old, the haveli adorns a beautiful, arched roof in the shape of a peacock. A part of the haveli is still occupied. Salim Singh ki Haveli is a must-visit, when in Jaisalmer.
Bada Bagh houses the royal cenotaphs of the premier family of Jaisalmer. These chattris or mausoleums display haunting yet beautifully carved ceilings and equestrian statues of former rulers.Bada Bagh is a popular attraction that is frequented by tourists who come to visit the various chattris or royal cenotaphs which exist here. The Jait Sar Tank and the Jait Bandh are also popular attractions to check out while visiting Bada Bagh.
A scenic rainwater lake, the Gadsisar Sagar Tank has numerous beautiful shrines around it and was once the water supply of the city. A variety of water birds flock here every winter.Gadi Sagar Tank, now known as Gadsisar Lake, is an important tourist attraction in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India. Gadsisar Lake is a man made reservoir which was first built by King Jaisal in 1156 AD and later reconstructed by Maharaja Garsi Singh in 1367 AD. The illuminated Gadi Sagar Tank during the annual Gangaur Festival is visited by thousands of people from all over Rajasthan.
Legend has it that the Maharawals of Jaisalmer moved their residence down from the fort to Mandir Palace. A curse had prophesied that no son would be born to the family if they resided in the fort. Once the family moved to Mandir Palace, a son was born after seven generations to Maharawal Jawahar Singh.A prominent landmark in this spectacular heritage city is Mandir Palace, which had been the residence of the rulers of Jaisalmer for more than two centuries.Mandir Palace is an exquisitely carved architectural marvel of ornate balconies, canopies and delicately carved screens that represent a high point of local craftsmanship in its finest and purest form.
Wandering through the narrow alleys and bazaars of Jaisalmer, you are transported back to a time when this was the place where the products of India and China were exchanged for those of Persia, Arabia, Africa and Europe. The bazaars are living history, harking back to the Silk Route.Pansari Bazaar is Jaisalmer’s oldest market, and it goes without saying that why it is one of the best places to explore the Rajasthani culture as it introduces you to the colourful knick-knacks and other ethnic items.