The western part of the desert state Rajasthan India is famous for the city of Jaisalmer. One of the areas receiving minimal rainfall and the huge sand dunes this city is famous for its marvelous period buildings, the ruling clan of the Rajputs, the food habits of the local people and the amazing stories associated with the area.
MaharavalJaisal, the famous king of the BhatiRajputs made the “Sonar Qila”, the golden fort amidst the desert, Jaisalmer lies on the famous trade route of the bygone times. The kingdom flourished collecting taxes from the caravans passing through this area which connected with today’s Pakistan further up to Iran and central Asia. The golden hue sand stone rock was used to make all the monuments in Jaisalmer. The city is not very crowded and displays an affinity for the travelers, the travelers live here for days roaming around the city and enjoying the dunes of the desert. The Bhatirajputs believed to be descendants of Lord Krishna and his wife Rukmini, the king MaharavalJaisal made Jaisalmer his capital shifting the same from ludarwa. Entire city comprising of fort, havelis, and markets developed under the rule of the Bhati rulers.
Fort of Jaisalmer : - Perched atop the trikuta hills the fort of Jaisalmer also known as the Sonar Qila was constructed from the yellow sand stones. This fort is called as a living fort as the fort still houses the residential colony of the local residents. The fort stands a mute testimony to many seizes and the heroic Jauhar (self immolation by the Rajput women) and Saka (last pitch battle) by the rulers of Jaisalmer, the architecture of Jaisalmer Fort is little different from other Forts of Rajasthan, the outer walls are not very straight they are in shape of multitude of round bastions, the fort is a massive structure spanning 460 m long and 230 m wide. The walls have around 99 bastions. The fort is almost 800 years old and was accorded the status of a world heritage site in year 2013. There are four major gates; passing through you will land in the insides of the fort. There are numerous small hotels in the winding alleys of the fort. The palace of the Maharaja known as the Raj Mahal Palace. Seven exotically carved ornate Jain temples can be seen inside the Fort; hundreds of fine crafted idols adorn these Jain temples. The tourists are awe struck looking at the fine workmanship of these Jain temples. The fort has a well engineered extensive drainage system but the seepage is still a bigconcern for the safety and the integrity of the fort. The fort of Jaisalmer entices thousands of foreign tourists, the local restaurants in the fort area serve the Italian cuisine, French cuisines, Spanish cuisine etc these restaurants are wellrecommended by the famous travel books such as lonely planet, fodder’s guide book etc.
Gadhisar lake Jaisalmer : - The golden city is in the midst of the Thar desert you will be amazed to visit a lake in this rain deprived region, this lake was dug by the human. Rao Jaisal built this lake in 1156 ACE later it was rebuilt by Maharaja Gadsi Singh, the lake is situated just 1.5 kms from the city of Jaisalmer. The stepped ghats of the lake with numerous chattris (canopies) and the temples dedicated to the Hindu Gods and Godesses. The place is very peaceful locals come for a morning walk there are plenty brown macaques(monkeys). Now this lake is fed by the famous Indira Gandhi canal coming all the way from Punjab.
Havelies of Jaislamer : - The haveli architecture has been a very famous aspect of architecture in India and Pakistan. The havelies were made usually by the wealthy merchants and the nobles and displayed notable architectural features. Usual haveli architecture revolved around a large courtyard surrounded by series of living rooms, these havelies were multistoried having grand gate of entrance and the Jharokas (fine crafted windows) opening outwards. The Jaisalmer havelis are famous for their intricate carvings in yellow sand stone which looks like a craft work on wood. As Jaisalmer has very less rainfall these havelis are preserved in pristine condition the effect of age is not much. Patwon ki haveli, Salem Singh kihaveli a noted noble of Jaisalmer, Nathmal ki haveli are some very famous havelis of Jaislamer. Apart from display of wealth the havelis were made to safeguard the wealth of the wealthy merchants so not much is visible from outside and the havelis are situated in very narrow alleys. The Patwon ki haveli is a complex of five havelis in a narrow alley of Jaisalmer city. There are havelis in the fort of Jaisalmer too. The havelis in Jaisalmer display the exquisite art of carving while the havelis in the mandawa area are famous for the frescoes and the gold hued paintings. The central courtyard usually had a Tulsi planted in the midst and this space was used for the ostentatious celebration of Hindu festivals and other family occasions.
SAM Sand Dunes : – Jaisalmer is a desert town, just 40 kms from Jaisalmer is the desert called SAM, this place is famous for golden coloured huge sand dunes, you can simply idle at this place enjoying the sunset across the picturesque sand dunes of SAM, you can stay at the various camps of the SAM and be enthralled by the local kalbeliya dancers dancing in the dim lights of a camp fire. The night sky light up with stars so bright that you won’t believe you will get to see the awe inspiring view of the Milky Way at the night. In the day time you can get engrossed in various activities such as camel ride, jeep safari, para sailing, para gliding and the para motoring. These camps at the SAM only operate in the season time which ends in the month of March; the season starts in October every year. The winters are the best time to enjoy the dunes of SAM. A desert festival is organized every year in the month of February known as SAM desert festival.
Kuldhara the Haunted village : - As you approach the SAM on the way in a total desolate area is the famous village of Kuldhara. The village is just few meters away from the main road and is a preserved site. Not many tourists arrive here and the village is a ransacked dilapidated series of houses which belonged to the Paliwal brahmins, These people around 300 years ago abandoned this village and never returned, today many stories abound about the place being haunted. There is a stepwell and a temple still in comparatively better condition. The gates of the village close at the sunset and no one is allowed to stay in the village at night. This village is 17 kms from Jaisalmer city. If you are interested in Paranormal and the famous stories of ghosts at Kuldhara then you should certainly visit this village.