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In the middle of the desert, Jaisalmer in western Rajasthan is not an oasis in the true sense of the term, but provides succour to all by its beauty and charm. Jaisalmer remains a mystery for all those who haven't visited the desert town as to how a place in the midst of the desert could attract tourists in such great numbers. Called the golden city, the romantic sand dunes of the desert are enthralling. The sands of Jaisalmer come alive when the rays of the setting sun caress the sand and draw a heavenly picture. Equally beautiful are the wood- and stone-carved mansions and buildings that the Rajput rulers built and gave an altogether new character to this place in the midst of desert. Jaisalmer has also become a popular destination for desert safaris in present times.
Jaisalmer was founded way back in the year 1156 by Bhatti Rajput Rawal Jaisal. During the medieval period, Jaisalmer had emerged as a major trade route centre between India and the western countries. To the west of Jaisalmer is Pakistan and to its south is Bikaner, another beautiful Rajput heritage city. The isolated location of Jaisalmer also bestows to the city a very serene ambience. Jaisalmer is thinly populated compared to other cities of Rajasthan.
Jaisalmer is a place with a typical desert climate. Summers are very hot while winters are cool and pleasant. Rainfall is scarce and dust storms may be the norm during daytime in summers. It is normal for the temperature to climb past 45 degrees during summer.
Best Time to Visit
How to Reach
Air : Jodhpur is the nearest big airport from Jaisalmer at a distance of 285 kms.
Rail : Although railways in Jaisalmer is not well developed, there is direct metre gauge service between Jodhpur and Jaisalmer. Jaisalmer also figures in the route of luxury trains-The Palace on Wheels and Royal Orient Express.
Road : Regular deluxe bus services are available to Jaisalmer from Jodhpur. Buses also operate from national capital Delhi and other destinations of Rajasthan.
Where to stay
The accommodation facilities in Jaisalmer are sufficient to cater to the needs of tourists visiting the place. Some hotels in the star category are Fort Rajwada, Hotel Rowal Kot, Garbandh Palace and Dhola Maru. Most hotels slash their prices significantly during the lean season.
Attractions in Jaisalmer
Jaisalmer Fort : The fort of Jaisalmer is the second oldest fort of Rajasthan. The fort is located on Trikuta Hills and has a 250 feet high pedestal. There are five beautiful palaces inside the fort- Sarvottam Vilas, Akhai Vilas, Gaj Mahal, Rang Mahal and Moti Mahal. Very strong but beautiful looking jali or latticework screens have been put up to protect the interiors from the fierce heat and desert winds. Rang Mahal, the most popular of the palaces has some exquisite mural paintings.
Jain Temples: Another attraction of Jaisalmer is the Jain temples of the place. Three exquisitely sculptured Jain temples are dedicated to Rishabhdevji, Sambhavanathji and Ashthapadi. The ornamentation of the temples have been done in the style of the Dilwara temple at Mt. Abu and look fabulous. There is also an emerald icon of Mahavira inside the temple premises.
The Havelis of Jaisalmer : The Havelis of Jaisalmer, examples of the architectural brilliance of the Rajputs, are places worth taking a look. Some of the popular Havelis are Patwon-Ki-Haveli, Salim Sing ki-Haveli and Nathmalji-ki-Haveli. The elaborate designs in the walls and luxurious interiors give a splendid look to the Havelis.
Desert Culture Centre and Museum : The Desert Culture Centre and Museum has an impressive collection of traditional items of the state. These include old coins, different kinds of textiles and traditional Rajasthani instruments. Some fossils found in the desert have also been kept for display. A visit to the museum would give tourists a good idea of the history and culture of Rajasthan.
Excursion places near Jaisalmer
Lodurva : Lodurva, at a distance of 16 kms from Jaisalmer is a popular excursion spot. The place has ruins of many Jain temples and other monuments. It is also great to see a number of peacocks in the place. There is also a grand artificial reservoir called Amar Sagar in Lodurva.
Akal Wood Fossil Park : The Akal Wood Fossil Park takes tourists back to the pre-historic period. This is a 21-hectare park and has some priceless collections. There are fossilized logs of trees and innumerable trunks dating back to many thousand years. The park is located on the outskirts of Jaisalmer.
Sam : Sam, a place in the midst of the desert and easily accessible from Jaisalmer is also worth a visit. Here, one can see and even touch patterns carved out by winds on the sand. Camel rides on the sand dunes of Sam are sure to become a memorable experience for tourists.
Shopping in Jaisalmer
Jaisalmer is famous for a variety of products. They include embroidery works, Rajasthani mirror work, rugs, blankets and beautiful antique pieces. Tourists can also find silver jewellery and carpets made from camel hair in Jaiselmer.
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