Jaisalmer is a town located in  the Indian state of Rajestan. Jaisalmer is also nicknamed as “The Golden city”. Jaisalmer is located 575 kilometers  west of the state capital Jaipur.  The town stands on a ridge of yellowish sandstone, crowned by a fort, which contains the palace and several ornate Jain temples. Many of the houses and temples are finely sculptured. It lies in the heart of the the Indian Thar Desert

While Jaisalmer may always have been remote, it is filled with many artistic structures and monuments of local historical importance. Jaisalmer’s medieval mud fortress and walled township make it a popular tourist destination. The surrounding desolate landscape evidences a stark, austere beauty. Camel safaris through the nearby desert dunes are popular with tourists;

Major Holiday Attractions of  of Jaisalmer

  • Visit the Ghost town of  Kuldhara
  • Do not miss the sun raise and Sun set at Golden Fort Jaisalmer.
  • Do not miss the Jain heritage  and ruins of  Lodhruva near  Jaisalmer.
  • Enjoy the  Tranquility of Gadsisar Lake
  • Do not miss the migratory birds of Desert National Park
  • Enjoy the Camel Safaris at the Rajestan Desert

How to Enjoy your Holiday  – Booking your stay at Jaisalmer

By way of accommodation, Jaisalmer has a number of options, including old havelis converted into hotels, state tourism lodges, small hotels, within the fort and tented camps near the dunes outside the city and Suryagarh. For those who like the road less travelled, the sights beyond Jaisalmer are within easy driving distance of each other. you can book your hotel from the search box below

1. Visit the Ghost town of  Kuldhara

Not far from the breathtaking attractions of Jaisalmer lie the Ghost Village of Kuldhara make the visitors to soak in their mysterious past and enchanting beauty.

Kuldhara is an extremely intriguing village which has been abandoned since early 1800s and is believed to carry a curse of the residents who migrated elsewhere. there are many stories about this village, i have mentioned about two:

 

Ghost village of Kuldhara

Ghost village of Kuldhara

Story 1:

This is the story of Kuldhara, about 18 km south-west of Jaisalmer, once a prosperous settlement of Paliwal Brahmins who vanished one night in 1825, it is whispered. The Kuldhara exodus swelled in terms of sheer numbers as their brethren from 82 other villages also joined the mass migration. The community of prosperous farmers was fleeing the wrath of Salim Singh, the lascivious prime minister of Jaisalmer, who coveted the beauteous daughter of one of the chieftains and wanted her to enhance his harem. Or so the story goes.

Salim Singh threatened to levy heavier taxes if the Paliwals did not hand over the village belle to him within two days. The Paliwals were known for their ability to grow wheat in the arid desert and had become rich as a result. They had filled the coffers of the kings since the 13th century with the taxes that they paid. Rather than surrender to his intemperate demands, the villagers preferred to flee-across inhospitable terrain, unmindful of what the next day would bring. Indeed, the exodus was so sudden that the fleeing villagers left pots of milk boiling on smouldering kitchen fires.

Today, the village of Kuldhara, deep in the heart of the Thar, near the Indo-Pakistan border, is a virtual pile of rubble-greedily being reclaimed by the desert around it, which has smothered, obliterated and choked out all signs of life. Fields lie fallow and broken walls and facades are evocative of a village that was virtually bludgeoned to death by an uncaring, random fate. And it is said that the fortunes of Salim Singh, whose lust was responsible for the tragedy, soon began to decline too. Today, his haveli (mansion) in Jaisalmer, once considered amongst the finest, is chipped and broken, giving only a fugitive glimpse of its former self.

.However there is another story – Story 2

Paliwals, originally Brahmins, were native inhabitants of Pali a small kingdom in the Thar desert. Sometime in 13th century, due to the meddling of the King of Pali into their everyday affairs and his atrocities, they migrated to a Village called Kuldhara in Jaisalmer. This is the first time when they were called Paliwal. Here they settled into 84 villages around the town of Jaisalmer. Paliwals were very benevolent people with a strong sense of community. Over a period, with the help of each other and collective trading practices with external traders, Paliwals prospered again.

Their prosperity became famous and that caused them to become targets of Mughal invasions.Paliwals bravely fought off most of these invasions until the last one sometime in 18th century. It is not clear who the invader was but the day was Raksha-bandhan. A large number of paliwals were martyred. The war went on for days. On the last day, this Mughal invader ordered to put animal carcasses into all the wells which Paliwals used to get their water from. This caused this staunch religious Brahmin community to migrate from these villages. Overnight, they left the villages of Kuldhara and moved to other places.

They fled under the cover of darkness-an entire village brimming with men, women and children. The lumbering camel caravan snaked across the vast, trackless Thar Desert on a moonless night. The hapless villagers then melted into the all-enveloping gloom as though they had never existed. All that remains of their once prosperous settlement are piles of stone, crumbling temples and carved pillars that hint of a time when a thriving community lived there.  They also seemed to have left a curse on the village. The fear of which, stops the locals from venturing near these villages even till date.

2. Do not miss the sun raise and Sun set at Golden Fort Jaisalmer

Jaisalmer Fort is one of the largest fortifications in the world. Jaisalmer Fort is a World Heritage Site. It was built in 1156 AD by the Bhati Rajput ruler Rao Jaisal. The fort stands proudly amidst the golden stretches of the great Thar Desert, on Trikuta Hill.  Its massive yellow sandstone walls are a tawny lion color during the day, fading to honey-gold as the sun sets, thereby camouflaging the fort in the yellow desert. For this reason, it is also known as the “Golden Fort”. This fort, popularly known as the ‘Sonar quila’ by the locals, is located in the very heart the city.

Jaisalmer fort

Jaisalmer fort

 Soon the contours of a small hilltop fort broke on the horizon-a stark contrast to the muscled girth of Jaisalmer’s Sonar Kila (better known Jaisalmer Fort), whose bulging bastions and towers exude power and pelf. The hilltop Khaba Fort on the other hand looked like it might have been plucked out of a theme park for jaisalmer. Its unimposing proportions gave it an air of sheer vulnerability, strangely at odds in a land of masculine mystique where powerful forts straddle the horizon. Within the fort was a  with a handful of artefacts on display.

 Khaba Fort (30 km from Jaisalmer) served as a look-out point and a granary for the Paliwal community, said the young caretaker. It certainly had the same melancholy look as Khaba village, located below it, which had also been a Paliwal settlement. However, there were some ripples of life in the deserted hamlet as a temple is being restored with the help of Muslim artisans, while at the foot of the fortress, camel trains lurched and made a beeline for a water trough.

3. Go back to History  with – Jain heritage  and ruins of  Lodhruva near  Jaisalmer

Jaisalmer city has been enriched by its Jain community which has adorned the city with beautiful Jain temples most notably the temples dedicated to 16th Tirthankar Lord Shantinath and 23rd Tirthankar Lord Parshvanath. Jaisalmer boasts some of the oldest libraries of India which contain rarest of the manuscripts and artifacts of Jain tradition. There are many Jain pilgrimage centres around Jaisalmer like Lodhruva, Amarsagar, Brahmsar and Pokharan.
Today, Lodhruva is a popular tourist destination, known for its architectural ruins and surrounding sand dunes.

JainTemples - Lodurva

JainTemples – Lodurva

In the 9th century, Deoraj, a famous prince of the Bhati Rajput clan, captured Lodhruva and made it his capital. The city stood on an ancient trade route through the Thar Desert, which also vulnerable to frequent attacks. Mahmud of Ghazni and Latter Muhammad Ghori repeatedly attacked the City of Lodhruva. Repeated attacks by foreign invaders  led to the  abandonment of Lodhruva and established in new capital Jaisalmer.
It is at Lodurva, the ancient capital, 16 km northwest of Jaisalmer, that a stunning natural spectacle awaits visitors in the form of peacocks that dance, their gorgeous plumage unfurled. We did not see this impromptu performance but stumbled instead on an exquisite 450-year-old Jain temple surrounded by smaller, intricately carved shrines. We ducked under a stunning toran (festooned) gateway, caressed the Dilwara style jaali (lattice) work, the densely chiseled facades, all of which might well have been hand-carved by a divine being.

4. Enjoy the  Tranquility of Gadsisar Lake

Gadsisar Lake is one of the major tourist attractions of Jaisalmer. Just leave the madding crowd behind and venture towards the outskirts and you will find yourself next to the famous Gadsisar Lake. It is a water conservation tank made around 1400 A.D. by the then maharaja of Jaisalmer, Maharwal Gadsi Singh.  The beautiful arched structure is known as Teelon-ki-prol (gate of Teelon). The lake is surrounded by ghats, temples, cenotaphs and gardens. There is a small temple of Lord Vishnu on top of the gate. The Gadisar Lake is surrounded by many shrines and temples mainly dedicated to Lord Shiva and Vishnu.

Gadisar-Lake

Gadisar-Lake

If you are lucky and venture out in winters, you might get to see a variety of migratory birds. Due to its proximity to Bharatpur, some of the birds get attracted to this place also. Don’t miss to carry a good pair of binoculars and SLR camera with a wide-angle lens if you want to take away some really mesmerizing snaps.

5. Do not miss the migratory birds of Desert National Park

Desert National Park situated  near the town of Jaisalmer. This is one of the largest national parks, covering an area of 3162 km². The Desert National Park is an excellent example of the ecosystem of the Thar Desert. Sand dunes form around 20% of the Park. The major land form consists of craggy rocks and compact salt lake bottoms, inter medial areas and fixed dunes.

Thar Desert maintains only some kinds of shrubs, grasses and xerophytes plants. The cover of leaf is very much limited and not appropriate for big herbivorous, however camel is an exception. In Desert National Park, the major wildlife found are the spiny- tail lizard, sand fish, desert monitors, chameleons and few snakes as the deadly viper and also the krait. Other prominent animals spotted are Chinkara, the desert fox, blackbuck and Bengal fox etc. However, the national park is moderately prosperous in avian population.

Desert national Park

Migratory birds at Desert national Park Jesilmer

Despite a fragile ecosystem there exists an abundance of bird life.  The region is a haven for migratory and resident birds of the desert. Many eagles, harriers, falcons, buzzards, kestrel and vultures. Short-toed Eagles, Tawny Eagles, Spotted Eagles, Laggar Falcons and kestrels are the most common among these. Sand grouse are spotted near small ponds or lakes. The endangered Great Indian Bustard is a magnificent bird found in relatively fair numbers. It migrates locally in different seasons. The most suitable time to visit the area is between November and January. The Desert National Park has a collection of fossils of animals and plants of 180 million years old. Some fossils of Dinosaurs of 6 million years old have been found in the area.

The best way to explore the wildlife into the National Park is through open top jeep safari

6. Enjoy the Camel Safaris at the Rajestan Desert – Jaisalmer

Camel Safaris is the best way to visit the villages and villagers  who live in the Rajasthani Desert. In the camel Safari  you will cross dunes and remote, isolated places of the Thar Desert.
A Camel Safari is great fun, especially when combining riding and walking side by side with your camel. Based on the duration you select for a camel Safari you can  choose to go for more remote places. Even for us it is difficult to describe the sunsets, the nights and the sunrises in the desert which you can experience only in areas this remote from any settlements ­ you have to experience it in order to understand it.

Camel Safari in the desert  town of Jesilmer

Camel Safari in the desert town of Jesilmer

Of course it is possible to go for a shorter safari like sunset only or overnight and it is up to you to decide what suits you best.

 How to Reach Jaisalmer

The nearest airport is at Jodhpur (300 km). There are many daily flights to Jodhpur from Mumbai and Delhi. From there, Jaisalmer is around six hours away by train.

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Log on to www.rajasthantourism.gov.in

Enjoy your Holiday in the Desert of Jaisalmer