Amongst all the places to see in Jaisalmer, the Jaisalmer Fort is the largest. It is in fact, one of the largest forts around the world. Located on the Tirukuta Hill, this fort was built by Rao Jaisal, one of the mightiest rulers of Jaislamer. Due to its location at the golden stretches of the Thar Desert, this fort is also known as the ‘Sonar Quila’ or the ‘Golden Fort’.
Over the past few centuries, this fort has witnessed several battles and has successfully endured its pride and glory of being one of the magnificent forts in Rajasthan. However, kings and battles are no more persistent and can be found on the pages of history books, leaving behind their immortal legacy and bonding with this fort.
The walls of this 250 feet tall fort are made of crenelated sandstone and they soar 30 feet high from the ground. The golden yellow reflections of these walls, which can be seen from a distance, have gained it the title ‘Golden Fort’. Masking the fort in a yellowish fog, the fort’s main entrance is a sight to behold. Elevated to about sixty feet, the entrance is made from the finest quality rosewood. Inside the fort, there are stables and fortresses of erstwhile kings of the Rajputana pride.
Sam sand dunes are indeed one of the most authentic desert dune sites in whole India and truly deserves to be on your list of things to do in Jaisalmer. Here, you find 30 to 60-meter tall sand dunes and many travellers enjoy Desert Safari on camels or jeep. Sam is 45 kilometres west of Jaisalmer city where you can reach by hiring a vehicle. You may further choose to stay in one of many desert camps that are mostly built in 2 to 3 km radius of sand dunes.
The best time to reach Sam sand dunes is around evening to enjoy the desert sunset at around 4 to 7 PM or early morning, during the sunrise time of 4 to 6 am. You can book a camel or jeep well in advance or on the spot as they are also available at desert camps. The best time to visit Sam or even Jaisalmer is from the months of October to March as during the renaming months, all the camps are closed and only few camel riders are made available. Moreover, the evening musical program at Sam at the desert camps are not available in summer and monsoon months and makes it as one of the best places to visit in Jaisalmer.
Maharwal Gadsi Singh, the then Maharaja of Jaisalmer constructed this lake in 1400 AD. The lake was originally built as a conservation reservoir for rainwater harvesting; during the ancient times, and it happened to be one of the major water sources for the entire city.
Named after the Maharaja, this reservoir has now earned the fame of being the most popular places to visit in Jaisalmer, and is visited by people from various corners of the world. Located on the outskirts of Jaisalmer, it is an idyllic getaway to seek peace and tranquillity of mind, away from the bustling and chaotic city life.
Fringed with several temples and shrines, the lake also serves as an ideal place for the birdwatchers. During the winters, it is flocked by different species of exotic and migratory birds and thus it attracts a number of birdwatchers and nature photographers. Shallow ghats, intricately carved cenotaphs and delightful gardens around this reservoir add to its splendid beauty, and are also one of the main reasons; the lakeside has become one of the popular picnic spots in Jaisalmer.
An architectural marvel in the streets of the city and marked by intricate carving and murals is what Patwon ki Haveli is. Built in the 19th century, this Patwon ki Haveli is a combination of 5 different havelis in one single premise. It consists of a museum having rare artifacts, furniture work, miniatures, mirror-work and a large collection of paintings and interestingly, used to be a hotspot for travelers all around the world.
The haveli is also known for residences of merchants who sold gold and silver items, amongst which some threads were used in ornamental dresses. It houses the office of Archaeological Survey of India today, managed by the government as a whole & makes it as one of the best places to visit in Jaisalmer.
This haveli is one of the popular tourist attractions in Jaisalmer. Salim Singh-ki Haveli is built on an older structure. This building was constructed during the early part of the eighteenth century. It was the residence of the Mehta family, one of the influential families in Jaisalmer during the early 18th century. Salim Singh, the then Prime Minister of Jaisalmer commissioned the building of this haveli.
Having a unique architectural identity, the haveli’s roof is based on the peacock’s physical form and it lies within the vicinity of the Jaisalmer fort. In the background you can see high hills overlooking the mansion.
It is believed that two extra floors were built in this building, but was apparently disapproved by the Maharaja and were eventually eradicated down. But there seems to be no indication that these floors existed. The gateways of this building are flanked by a pair of tuskers. Even though the tuskers are made of sandstone, the perfection of their size, shape and carving can make you believe them to be real!
Established in AD 847, the highly revered Tanot Mata Temple is believed to be Goddess Hinglaj Mata’s incarnation. This is a miraculous temple located in the proximity of Longewala that used to be a battle site during the 165-71 Indo-Pak war.
Jawans posted near the temple share magical stories associated with this temple. For instance, the way the temple remained untainted and the soldiers alive even though Pakistan dropped over 3000 bombs, is a very enrapturing tale.
People visit this magnificent location because of the beautiful landscapes surrounding it, the golden dunes, and the incredulous road that connects Jaisalmer with the temple. Tourists flock this temple in large numbers also because it is close to other beautiful locations like the Thar desert, Jaisalmer Fort, Gadisar Lake, and Kuldhara.
The Indian Army has set up a historical war museum in Jaisalmer. This war museum which is the first-of-its-kind on the western front traces the evolution of the Indian Army and covers in detail its inspiring contribution in mainly 1965 Indo-Pak War and 1971 Longewala battle including all combat operations and other nation building activities.
'Jaisalmer War Museum' has been established in the military station of Jaisalmer to showcase the bravery of the Indian Army and also to commemorate the sacrifice of its heroes displaying valour and courage of exceptional order during India's wars.
The museum boasts 106 mm Recoilless Gun employed to destroy a number of Pakistani tanks, occupy a place of pride in the memorial. The memorial also has a state-of-the-art audiovisual theater for screening the movie on the battle of Longewala.
This museum and culture centre is the place to visit to know more about the culture of Jaisalmer and its rich heritage. On display in the Desert Culture Centre and Museum are artefacts relating to the ancient customs of Jaisalmer. A visit to this place reveals a lot about the people and cultures of this region. Abundant with artefacts and items of cultural interest, the museum also displays rare coins; some of the coins date back to the medieval period.
The museum displays rare Rajasthani textiles, utensils, and weapons. There is also a collection of musical instruments which are rarely seen today. ‘Karal’, an opium mixing box is one of the most popular attractions among the tourists. It is believed that the use of opium was common several centuries ago in Rajasthan where it was used as a substance to relax and rejuvenate. The museum also has some of the ancient scriptures written by ancient poets and litterateurs