In the wake of dawn, the Sun offers its first greetings to Jaisalmer!
Be it the gilded glory of this City. Be it the sonorous soulfulness of the folk sounds. Be it the cultural charisma Jaisalmer Fort belches.
Imagine waking up in a real-life period film setting here at the Golden Fort!
OK, but why ‘Golden’ Fort?
The Jaisalmer Fort is also referred to as "Golden Fort". Carved out of colossal yellow sandstone, the walls of the Fort are a tawny lion color during the day. As the Sun sets, it fades to honey-gold, camouflaging the Fort in the yellow Thar.
1. History of Jaisalmer Fort.
2. Present Scenario of the Fort.
3. Architectural Design of Jaisalmer Fort.
4. What is inside the Fort?
Maharwal Palace (King's Palace).
Rani ka Mahal (Queen's Palace).
Alleyways inside the Fort.
5. Things to do inside the Fort of Jaisalmer.
6. Ways to reach Jaisalmer Fort
7. Attractions near the Fort-
Government Museum and War Museum.
Patwon Ki Haveli.
8. For Your Information (FYI).
9. Did you know?
10. The End.
Talk of the Past…
Jaisalmer Fort of Rajasthan is a World Heritage Site declared UNESCO in 2013.
Aging back to 1156 AD, the Fort was built by the Rajput ruler Rawal Jaisal, from whom it derives the name. Perched atop Trikuta Hill amidst the sandy expanse of the great Thar Desert, it has witnessed one too many historic battles.
At one point, the Golden Fort served as a residence of the entire population of Jaisalmer. It was an important trade and business stop in medieval times until the British invasion. Post-independence, Jaisalmer joined the Union of India and became a pristine part.
Talk of the Present…
The Fort of Jaisalmer, the only living Fort in India, is still inhabited by manifold descendants of Rajput and Brahmin families. Although the Fort is no longer at the pinnacle of a military post or trade center, it has become a hotspot for tourists coming from all around the globe to Rajasthan .
Why not through?
If not the enchanting beauty, the exotic location, or the hidden passageways, the starry night, and the Rajasthani architecture do the appeal!
Speaking of its bewitching architecture-
Let us take a look at the
Architectural Design of the Jaisalmer Fort!
Rajasthan's Golden Fort embodies the architectural aesthetics of the Mughal and Rajput combined. The Jaisalmer Fort is an architectural marvel that takes your breath away in a single vista!
This 1500-feet long and 750-feet wide Fort has many palaces, houses, temples, well, havelis, and other structures inside and around it, all fabricated out of yellow sandstone.
But what is more magical about it, you ponder?
During the daytime, it shimmers in the sunlight in a sheen golden shine, whereas at sundown, it bathes in a honey-yellow shade.
A sight to behold at any point of the day!
Some say Jaisalmer Fort is like a piece of art that mesmerizes you but leaves you bewildered- We couldn't have agreed more!
There are 4 royal entrances to the fortress- Hawa Pole, Akshay Pole, Suraj Pole, and Ganesha Pole. It also cradles a few other pieces of architecture, such as the Moti Mahal, Gaj Mahal, Rang Mahal, Sarvotta Vilas, and Akhai Vilas.
On the windows, doors, balconies, and archways are manifold intricate carvings and picturesque designs to catch the fancy of the eyeballs!
Attracting pilgrims from all around, the Fort homes Jain and Hindu temples that exhibit Dilwara temple style of architecture embellished with multiple mirrors, carvings, and paintings. The Rajasthani style, Mughal patterns, and a tad tinge of Bengali art make for an awe-inspiring scene.
You must've comprehended by now that every segment of the Fort offers something unique and wonderful-
What's inside the Fortress?
Let's shed light on some noteworthy and rest we leave for you to discover! Fair deal?
1. Jain Temples- Inside the Fort, you shall see 7 different Jain temples, but 3 are noteworthy. The small alleyways navigate you right before the Raj Mahal to these 3 temples. These are dedicated to manifold Jain Teerthaankars; the most popular one is dedicated to Parshwanath Bhagwan.
These Dilwara-fashioned temples give neck-to-neck competition to Jodhpur's Ranakpur Jain Temples.
The intricate carvings exhibit sterling imagery of Hermits, Gods-Goddesses, and Mother Earth in all Her forms!
They are also believed to hoard holy, historic, and rare Jain murals and scripts in the Gyan Bhandar library.
So, are you a fellow spiritualist?
Bask in the spiritual aura echoing in these pilgrims, or capture it all with your shutters-
Whatever floats your boat!
2. Maharwal Palace (Raj Mahal)- The Raj Mahal is located on the epicenter of the Sonar Quila. As the Maharwals of Jaisalmer resided here, it derived the name so. It's complex yet magical in reminding you of Mehrangarh Fort and other magnificent mansions. Upon entering, you can see the saffron-orange handprints made of women of the Fort before they committed Jauhar.
The Maharwal Mansion is multi-storeyed, including myriad balconies, small courtyards, and chambers. However, most of the Mahal now hosts a museum displaying royal family portraits, weapons, dresses, ornaments, and other articles of stark history.
Once you leave the museum, you stumble upon the Diwan-e-Khas, where the palace guests are received with honor and nobility. The floral carving on the sandstone in the King's personal space speaks of the prolific taste of the majesty back then.
This part is particularly called Gaj Mahal.
Further on, there is an open courtyard that connects to the Queen's Palace.
Special Mention: Head-to-head to the Maharwal Palace is the five-storeyed Tazia Tower, a whimsical replica of the mausoleums of varied Imams. It was constructed by Muslim artisans and is made with decorative Bengali-styled roofs.
3. Rani Ka Mahal (Queen's Palace)- Another quarter of Maharwal Palace is the Queen's Palace.
It has small, detailed carvings, opulent balconies, and jharokhas (windows) made of sandstone. The Queen Matriarch of Jaisalmer used to reside there with her female helps.
Also, a special mention to the temple of Goddess Gauri, where the Queen used to celebrate the Gangaur festival.
4. Lakshminath Temple- Built by Rao Lunkaran in the 19th Century, the Lakshminath temple is situated beside the Jain temples. It is dedicated to the Hindu deities Lakshmi and Vishnu is also a must-visit!
5. Alleyways inside the Fort- The alleyways of Jaisalmer Fort are magical! These beauteous streets have witnessed a fair share of war, festivals, and mixed emotions.
Together let us stroll down these alleys and unravel the much-treasured tales!
Enveloped by ginormous monuments, local stores, and guesthouses, these narrow lanes are to remind you of those in Varanasi or Santorini.
To explore a place by walking is to ensure a first-hand immersive experience of the diurnal lifestyle prevailing on Jaisalmer's soil.
6. Canon View- Just when you guessed, that is all. We saved the best for the last! Canon Point in the Jaisalmer Fort is one of the best spots to cater to your visual demands. This is a veritable paradise for photographers and nature lovers!
Enjoy the panoramic view of the Jaisalmer city at sunset! With the soulful echoes of the chirping birds and the evening Azaan, the beauty of the Sun bidding farewell to the Golden City is unparalleled! If only the English romantic poet John Keats had seen it!
This tranquil spot, known to a few thus unspoiled, invites you for a little soul-searching while overlooking the quaint landscape.
The Cannon Viewpoint offers a golden opportunity for you fellow photographers to snap raw, unadulterated shots that are no less of Natural Geographic level!
Did you know you can stay as many nights as you wish inside the Fort? How?
In this segment, we talk about
Things to Do inside the Fort of Jaisalmer
1. Spend a night or two in one of many guesthouses and homestays inside the Sonar Quila. After all, Jaisalmer is known for its hospitality and how people believe in "Atithi Devo Bhava."
Are you a morning person? We bet you will be!
No wonder this one-of-a-kind ethereal fortress reverberates the warm spirit of Marwar!
2. Savor the flavors of the City! Tap into the legendary Marwari culinary culture, and explore the many cafes, upscale restaurants, home-like kitchenettes, and street food stalls. If you are seeking familiarity in this new country, worry not! Besides Rajasthani cuisine, Jaisalmer offers Italian, Continental, and other cuisines too.
3. Rajasthan and its vibrant culture scintillate every inch of the Golden City. Bazaars inside the Jaisalmer Fort are a colorful sojourn!
From the entrance, local shops and government emporiums sell linen, handmade dress fabric, junk jewelry, furnishings, and handmade décor items for your homes. The vivid range of colors, patterns, and materials will take you aback!
Umpteen options are to spoil you- Don't forget to carry home your memories of the Fort by taking a memento or two. However distinctive your tastes might be, they have something for all!
How do you reach Jaisalmer Fort?
Road, flight, or rail are three ways to reach Jaisalmer Fort.
Jaisalmer by Air:
From the heart of the City, just 12.5km away, is the Jaisalmer airport. Since not many domestic flights go to the airport, travelers are advised to opt for Jodhpur Airport.
Jodhpur Airport is about 284.6 km away from Jaisalmer. It's the nearest airport and well-connected with all the major Indian cities. Post-arrival, you can board a cab or private taxi to reach Jaisalmer.
Jaisalmer by Road:
Jaisalmer has a well-connected network of roads. Anyone can opt for a deluxe or ordinary bus on Rajasthan roadways and easily reach Jaisalmer. Also, the Golden City is well-connected with Jaipur, Jodhpur , Bikaner, Barmer, Mount Abu, Ahmedabad, and many others.
Jaisalmer by Rail:
To reach Jaisalmer, anyone can board direct trains from Delhi, Jaipur, and Jodhpur.
Add that cherry on the cake by opting the train "Palace on Wheels" to reach Jaisalmer.
Wonder what is the best time to visit?
The pride of Marwar, the Fort of Jaisalmer, is situated right in the middle of the desert. The best time to visit would be the colder months of November to March to avoid the scorching heat. The famous Desert Festival is held in winter, making it an ideal time to visit. But it depends on what you want to do on your trip to Jaisalmer.
The Golden Fort is not all that Jaisalmer has to offer. Let's look at some nearby wonders.
Attractions near Jaisalmer Fort
1. Gadisar Lake- Being one of Rajasthan's most aesthetically pleasing lakes, Gadisar Lake banks manifold temples, holy shrines, and chattris.
2. Government Museum and War Museum- An excursion to these museums is the best way to learn the history and valor of Jaisalmer.
3. Patwon Ki Haveli- The first ever built Haveli in Jaisalmer, Patwon Ki Haveli is a desired respite for architecture buffs!
4. Tazia Tower- As discussed before, Tazia Tower fascinates you with evidence of its architectural prowess and aesthetic splendor.
5. Kuldhara village- An integral part of India's collective treasure of folklores, this abandoned Rajasthani hermit is an intriguing attraction for those fond of discovering remnants of ancient forts and villages.
For Your Information (FYI):
Although there is No Entry Fee to the Jaisalmer Fort, an Entry Fee of Rs. 50/- Per Person (Camera Fee Rs. 50/- and Video Camera Rs. 100/-) is charged for the privately owned Palace Museum.
Did you know?
Following are a handful of lesser-known facts about the Fort-
1. The Fort was constructed with 3 layers of walls for better defense against enemies. The outermost layer was made out of stone.
2. The Golden Fort houses around 1/4th of the town's population.
3. Fort of Jaisalmer has 99 bastions, 92 of which were built from 1633-1647.
4. The wells in Jaisalmer Fort still provide water regularly.
5. A big fair is organized here during Dussehra and is attended by the King.
Well, fellow reader, you are in for a treat!
Withstanding legendary battles and pivotal invasions, it stands stronger than ever, enthralling tourists from far and wide.
Jaisalmer Fort brilliantly treasures the bygone and gives us a glimpse into the erstwhile era, its culture, legacy, and artistry of the then princely state of Rajasthan.
So, get on board, and let's get going! Plan our perfect trip now!
Our getaway caravan is here to take you through The Grand Indian Route and drop you off at the Golden Fort of Jaisalmer, the pride, the crown of the great Thar desert.
Padharo Sa!... Welcome!