Renowned as the “Golden City,” Jaisalmer stands as a captivating destination in the Thar Desert of Rajasthan, India. With its grand fort, expansive sand dunes, and profound cultural heritage, Jaisalmer is an enchanting choice for travelers in search of an authentic desert encounter.
Best Places to visit in Jaialsmer
Jaisalmer Fort, also known as the Golden Fort, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a must-visit destination for anyone seeking to immerse themselves in the grandeur of India’s past. Its towering golden sandstone walls, adorned with intricate carvings and crowned with imposing bastions, stand as a proud symbol of India’s rich history and architectural brilliance. The fort’s construction dates back to 1156 AD, when Rawal Jaisal, the ruler of Jaisalmer, laid its foundation atop Trikuta Hill. Over the centuries, the fort has undergone numerous expansions and modifications, reflecting the changing fortunes of Jaisalmer’s ruling dynasties. Its strategic location at the crossroads of ancient trade routes, including the Silk Road, made it a vital hub of commerce and a focal point of military conflicts.
Jaisalmer Fort is a testament to the architectural prowess of the Rajput rulers. Its massive sandstone walls, meticulously carved with intricate designs, rise majestically from the desert sands. The fort’s layout is designed for defense, with strategically placed bastions and a labyrinthine network of narrow lanes and hidden passages. Unlike many other forts in India, Jaisalmer Fort is not just a historical monument; it is a vibrant community within itself. Around one-fourth of the city’s population still resides within the fort, giving it the unique distinction of being a “living fort.” Visitors can explore the fort’s narrow lanes, lined with traditional houses and shops, and experience the bustling atmosphere of this ancient city.
Camel riding in sam sand dunes embark on an unforgettable journey through the golden sands of Sam Sand Dunes, where the vast expanse of desert landscapes unfolds before you. A camel safari will transport you through the serene beauty of this arid wonderland, while dune bashing will ignite your adventurous spirit as you conquer the towering dunes. As the sun dips below the horizon, witness a mesmerizing sunset, painting the sky with hues of orange, pink, and purple. Gather around a crackling bonfire under the twinkling stars, enjoying a hearty Rajasthani dinner accompanied by traditional folk music. The Sam Sand Dunes experience is a captivating blend of nature’s wonders, warm hospitality, and authentic flavors, leaving you forever enamored with the Thar Desert’s allure.
Patwon Ki Haveli
Patwon Ki Haveli, JaisalmerPatwon Ki Haveli is a cluster of five havelis (traditional mansions) located in Jaisalmer, India. It is named after the Patwa family, who were wealthy merchants. The havelis were built in the 19th century and are known for their intricate carvings and jharokhas (oriel windows). Patwon Ki Haveli is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Jaisalmer. The havelis are made of yellow sandstone and are decorated with carvings of animals, flowers, and geometric patterns. The jharokhas are small windows that project out from the walls of the haveli. They were used by women to watch the world go by without being seen.
Patwon Ki Haveli is a beautiful example of Rajput architecture and is a must-see for anyone visiting Jaisalmer.
Gadisar Lake is an artificial lake located in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India. It was built by the founder of Jaisalmer, King Rawal Jaisal, in 1156 AD and later rebuilt by Gadsi Singh Bhati around 1367 AD. The lake is located about 1.5 km (0.93 mi) from Jaisalmer Fort. It is said that this lake once provided water to the entire city. Presently, the water comes in the Gadisar Lake from Indira Gandhi Canal, so it never dries.
The lake is a popular tourist destination, and visitors can enjoy boating, fishing, and bird watching. The lake is also home to a number of temples and shrines. Gadisar Lake is a beautiful and tranquil oasis in the heart of the Thar Desert. It is a must-visit for anyone visiting Jaisalmer.
Bada Bagh, also known as the “Big Garden,” is a complex of cenotaphs and temples located in the outskirts of Jaisalmer, India. It was built by Maharawal Jai Singh II in the mid-17th century and is dedicated to the Maharajas of Jaisalmer. Bada Bagh is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Jaisalmer.
The cenotaphs are made of white marble and are intricately carved with scenes from Hindu mythology. The temples are dedicated to various Hindu deities. Bada Bagh is a serene and peaceful place, and it is a must-visit for anyone visiting Jaisalmer.
Camel Safari & Cultural Evening
Camel Safari and Cultural Evening in Jaisalmer is a unique and memorable experience that combines the thrill of camel riding with the enchantment of Rajasthani culture. Embark on a camel safari through the undulating Thar Desert, witnessing the mesmerizing beauty of the golden sands as the sun casts its warm glow over the landscape. As the day approaches its end, witness a breathtaking sunset, where the sky transforms into a canvas of vibrant colors, painting the horizon with shades of orange, pink, and purple.
After the sun dips below the horizon, immerse yourself in the vibrant cultural evening under the starlit sky. Gather around a crackling bonfire, where the warmth of the flames and the traditional sounds of Rajasthani folk music create an unforgettable ambiance. Savor a hearty Rajasthani dinner, prepared with fresh, local ingredients, as the desert air fills with the tantalizing aromas of spices and herbs.
Jaisalmer War Museum
The Jaisalmer War Museum stands as a poignant reminder of the sacrifices made by brave soldiers during the Indo-Pakistani wars. Established in 1948, this museum showcases an array of military artifacts, including tanks, fighter aircraft, and weapons, providing a glimpse into the region’s military history. Through its exhibits, the museum honors the valor and resilience of those who fought to defend the nation. Visitors can delve into the intricacies of warfare strategies, understand the impact of technological advancements, and gain a deeper appreciation for the sacrifices made by soldiers in the line of duty. The Jaisalmer War Museum serves as a testament to the enduring spirit of the Indian Armed Forces and a beacon of remembrance for generations to come.
Jaisalmer War Museum is a poignant reminder of the sacrifices made by the soldiers and is a must-visit for anyone interested in Indian military history.
Tanot Mata Temple
Tanot Mata Temple is a revered Hindu temple dedicated to Goddess Tanot, a manifestation of Goddess Durga. It is located in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India, and was built in the 8th century AD. The temple is known for its miraculous survival during the India-Pakistan war of 1965, when it remained unscathed despite being bombarded by Pakistani shells.
The temple is a beautiful example of Rajput architecture and is made of yellow sandstone. The temple complex has a main shrine, a courtyard, and a number of other shrines and temples. The main shrine is dedicated to Goddess Tanot and has a large idol of the Goddess in its sanctum sanctorum.
Tanot Mata Temple is a popular pilgrimage site and is visited by thousands of devotees every year. It is a must-visit for anyone visiting Jaisalmer.
Kuldhara Abandoned Village
Kuldhara Abandoned Village at night, JaisalmerKuldhara Abandoned Village in Jaisalmer is an eerie and mysterious place that has been abandoned for over 170 years. The village was once home to a prosperous community of Paliwal Brahmins, but in 1825, all the villagers vanished overnight, leaving behind their homes and belongings. There are many legends and theories about why the villagers left Kuldhara, but the truth remains unknown. Some say that they were forced to leave by a cruel ruler, while others believe that they were cursed. Whatever the reason, Kuldhara is now a ghost town, and its ruins are a haunting reminder of a forgotten era. The village is located about 18 km from Jaisalmer and is a popular tourist destination. Visitors can explore the ruins of the village’s houses, temples, and shops, and try to imagine what life was like in Kuldhara centuries ago. Kuldhara Abandoned Village is a fascinating and mysterious place that is sure to leave a lasting impression on visitors.
Desert National Park
Desert National Park is a vast expanse of desert landscape located in the Thar Desert of Jaisalmer, India. It is one of the largest national parks in India, covering an area of 3,162 square kilometers. The park is home to a variety of wildlife, including the Great Indian Bustard, the Indian Wild Ass, and the Chinkara. It is also a popular destination for bird watching, with over 200 species of birds recorded in the park.
The park is divided into three zones: the core zone, the buffer zone, and the eco-sensitive zone. The core zone is the most protected area of the park and is home to the most wildlife. The buffer zone is less protected than the core zone, but it is still important for wildlife conservation. The eco-sensitive zone is the least protected area of the park, but it is still important for the conservation of the desert ecosystem.
Desert National Park is a must-visit for anyone interested in wildlife or desert landscapes. The park is open throughout the year, but the best time to visit is between October and March, when the weather is mild.
Distance from Jaisalmer to the Pakistan Border
The distance from Jaisalmer to the Pakistan border varies depending on the specific border crossing point. The nearest border crossing, Tanot, is approximately 66 kilometers (41 miles) from Jaisalmer. The Munabao border crossing, another significant entry point, is approximately 140 kilometers (87 miles) from Jaisalmer.
Considerations for Tourists Visiting the Border Area
While Jaisalmer offers a plethora of tourist attractions and cultural experiences, venturing close to the border area requires careful consideration. Due to security protocols, tourists are generally not permitted to enter the border zone without special permission. However, there are designated viewing points from where you can witness the border area from a safe distance.
Best Time to Visit Jaisalmer:
The best time to visit Jaisalmer is during the winter months, from October to March, when the weather is pleasant and sunny with temperatures ranging from 10°C to 25°C. During this time, the skies are clear, making it ideal for sightseeing and outdoor activities.
How to Reach Jaisalmer:
Jaisalmer is well-connected by road, rail, and air.
- By Road: Jaisalmer is well-connected to major cities in Rajasthan and nearby states by road. National Highway 11 connects Jaisalmer to Bikaner, Jodhpur, and Jaipur.
- By Rail: Jaisalmer has its own railway station, Jaisalmer Junction, which is connected to major cities in India. The Desert Express train offers a convenient and comfortable journey from Delhi to Jaisalmer.
- By Air: Jaisalmer Airport (JSA) is connected to Delhi, Jaipur, and Jodhpur by regular flights.
Additional Tips for Visiting Jaisalmer:
- Dress appropriately: Wear comfortable clothing and footwear suitable for walking on sand dunes. Carry a hat and sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun.
- Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated in the desert climate.
- Be respectful of local culture: Dress modestly and behave respectfully when visiting religious sites or interacting with locals.
- Bargain for souvenirs: Bargaining is common in local markets, so don’t hesitate to negotiate prices.
- Experience the local cuisine: Indulge in the flavorful Rajasthani cuisine, known for its spicy and aromatic dishes.