Jaisalmer is a bit of a paradox. So far west that it is in the heart of the desert, one would expect barren near-desolation. Yet this frontier town is today one of Rajasthan's best-loved tourist destinations. Local colour and warmth prevail over the inhospitable and forbidding terrain, imbuing the medieval town with a special magic. Rawal Jaisal, a descendent of the Yadav Clan and a Bhati Rajput, laid the foundation of this city in 1156 AD. Trikuta was the hill chosen and Jaisal abandoned his old fort at Lodurva and established his new capital here.
The Bhati Rajputs of Jaisalmer were feudal chiefs who lived on the forced levy on the caravans that crossed their territory en-route Delhi. These caravans, laden with precious cargos of spices and silk brought great wealth to this town. Because of its remote location, Jaisalmer for years remained untouched by outside influences and during the British Raj, the rulers of Jaisalmer were the last to sign the instrument of agreement with the British.
The perfect time to visit the golden city is during the Desert Festival 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, Mr.Desert contest and camel races enlighten the festivities. Jaisalmer is a marvel of beautiful culture and harsh climatic conditions, together amounting to a memorable experience.
FORTS AND PALACES
THE JAISALMER FORT
The golden - hued Jaisalmer Fort 'Sonar Kila' can be seen miles away before reaching the town.
MANAK CHOWK AND HAVELIS
A main marketplace outside the fort leads to the narrow lanes dotted with famous 'havelis'.
GADSISAR SAGAR TANK
A scenic rain water lake with numerous beautiful shrines around. The lake is an idyllic spot for outings.
The fort has three exquisitely carved Jain Temples dedicated to the Jain Tirthankar - Rishabhdev and Sambhavnath.
EXCURSIONS FROM JAISALMER
BARMER (153 kms from Jaisalmer )
It is famous for wood carvings, embroidered fabrics and block printed textiles.
LODURVA (17 kms from Jaisalmer)
The ancient capital of Jaisalmer, some vestiges of former glory remain.
SAM SAND DUNES (42-km from Jaisalmer)
It is the closest point to witness the total sandy desert. Sam (pronounced 'sum') has a truly magnificent stretch of sweeping dunes, with little or no vegetation. The best way to see this and other sights around Jaisalmer is to take a came safari. The standard trip lasts 4 days and three nights, and offers the opportunity to explore the area in authentic and leisurely fashion, with entertainment by folk performers, visits to villages, and chatter from colourful guides thrown in.