Jaisalmelr - The Living Fort

Jaisalmelr Rajasthan

Jaisalmer is spectacular. The drive from Jodhpur is rarely dull. Approaching it from the desert, it seems suddenly to rise out of the desert haze, a magnificent stretch of massive yellow sandstone walls and bastions bathed golden in the afternoon sun.

Rawal Jaisal laid the foundation of this. city in 1156. Trikuta was the hill chosen and Jaisal abandoned his old fort at Lodurva and established this new capital. 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 cargoes 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 glory of Jaisalmer faded when sea trade replaced the old land routes. But there is still an 'Arabian Nights' quality about the town. The narrow streets in the walled city preserve a tradtional way of life the craftsmen still work at the ancient crafts of weaving and stone carving, the making of silver jewellery and embroidery. And the stately, nonchalant camel is everywhere. Just a walk through Jaisalmer, savouring the medieval glory of old Rajasthan, is a marvelously rewarding travel experience. Winter is the perfect time for Jaisalmer. Jaisalmer's Desert Festival, celebrated in January/February, is a must on any itinerary. The desert seems to bloom in a thousand colours. There are camel races and folk dances. Craft bazaar and traditional balled singing. A sound and light spectacle on the sand-dunes, of Sam on the full moon night of purnima. And all the colour and excitement of the best in Rajasthan.

What to see

The Fort

The golden-hued Jaisalmer Fort 'Sonar Kila' can be seen miles away before reaching the town. The Fort stands almost 30 metres over the city and houses an entire living area within huge ramparts. Walking through the narrow lanes is an experience worth savouring.
It is approached through Ganesh Pol, Suraj Pol, Bhoota Pol and Hava Pol. Also within it are many beautiful havelies and a group of Jain temples dating from the 12th to the 15th centuries.

Manak Chowk and Havelis

Outside the fort is the main market place called Manak Chowk which is the centre of local activity. From Manak Chowk, one can walk into the lanes where the famous carved havelies are to be found. Each haveli's facade differs from other. Built mainly during the 18th and 19th centuries, the carving in the havelies of Jaisalmer is of a very superior quality. Patwon-ki-Haveli is one of the most exquisite havelis with a beautiful latticed facade. Salim Singh-ki-Haveli is just three centuries old, and is still lived in. Its arched roof is held up by well excluded brackets in the form of peacocks. Nathmal;iki-Haveli was built by two architect brothers, each concentrating on opposite sides. Yellow sandstone tuskers guard the haveli.

Gyan Bhandar

Gyan Bhandar has a wealth of historical treasures, including some very rare manuscripts.

Mool Sagar

Mool Sagar is a lush grove set in the desert.


Garhsisar has a small tank surrounded by shrines.



16 km from Jaisalmer. It is a 'fossil park where 180 millions years ago stood a forest. The fossil trunks lie scattered in this part.


153 km. It 'is famous for wood carvings, embroidered fabrics and block printed textiles.


17 km. The ancient capital of Jaisalmer, some vestiges of former glory remain.

Sam Sand Dunes

42 km. A delight for photographers. Safaris are conducted here.

Wood Fossil Park

17 km. It has fossils dating to 180 million years ago.

Desert National park

40 km. It preserves the eco-system of the desert within its confines.

Camel Safaris

These are conducted on many routes.

General Information
Area : 5.1 sq km
Altitude : 225 metres
Climate Winter : Chilly Mm. 1°C
Climate Summer : Dry and hot Max. 46°C
Best Season : October-February
Clothing Summer : Light Tropical
Clothing Winter : Heavy Woollen
Languages : English, Hindi
Local Transport : Un-metered taxis, auto-rickshaws, jeeps and tongas

Travel Information

How to get there

Air :Jodhpur 285 km is the convenient airport.

Rail :Rail connection with major cities of the country.

Road :A good network of roads joins Jaisalmer with Jodhpur and many other destinations in.and around Rajasthan.


Mirror work embroidered articles, Woollen pattu and other items made of good quality locally produced wood, wooden boxes, trinkets, silver jewellery and curios. The main shopping areas are Sadar Bazar and Sonaron ka Bas, Manak Chowk, Pansari Bazar. Also RajasthaliGovt. shop for handicrafts and Khadi Gramodyog.