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Rising from the heart of the Thar Desert, like a golden mirage, is the magical city of Jaisalmer. A commanding fort etched in yellow sandstone, stands with all its awesome splendour, dominating the amber - hued city. With the crenellated golden sandstone town walls and narrow, streets, lined with exquisitely carved buildings, through which camel carts trundle leisurely, it has an extraordinarily medieval feel and an incredible atmosphere. The fort inside, perched on its hilltop, contains some gems of Jain temple building, while beautifully decorated merchants havelis, are scattered through the town. Jaisalmer gives convenient access to the surrounding desert wilderness, sand dunes and oasis villages, ideal for camel rides and safaris.

History : An interesting legend associates this city. Lord Krishna foretold Arjuna, that a remote descendent of the Yadav Clan, would build his kingdom atop the Trikuta Hill. His prophecy came true in 1156 AD, when Rawal Jaisal, a descendent of the Yadav Clan and a Bhatti Rajput, abandoned his fort at Lodurva and founded a new capital - Jaisalmer, perched on the Trikuta Hill. These Rajputs lived off the forced levy on the caravans laden with precious silk and spices, that crossed the territory enroute to Delhi or Sind, earning the town great wealth. As a major staging post on the trade route, the merchants prospered and invested in building beautiful houses and temple. But maritime trade between India and the West, came to a decline and ceased altogether in 1947.

Culture : The life within the citadel, conjures up images of medieval majesty visible in its narrow lanes, strewn with magnificent palaces, havelis, temples and of course skilled artisans and ubiquitous camels. Folk dances, exciting competitions, turban-tying contest, Mr. Desert contest and camel races enliven the festivities during the Desert festival. Colourful craft bazaars and a sound and light spectacle, is oraganised with folk artistes performing against the splendid backdrop of the famous Sam sand dunes on the full moon night.

Climate & Geogaphical Location : Jaisalmer is very hot and dry in summer and extremely cold in winter. It is situated deep in the heart of the Thar desert, at an altitude of 225 metres.

Places to See in Jaisalmer :

The Fort- Jaisalmer : The golden hued fort is a sentinel to the bleak desert escape from its 80 metre high perch on the hill, housing the entire township within its ramparts. It has an enchanting cow-web of narrow lanes dotted with some lovely havelis, three beautifully sculptured Jain temples dating between the 12th-15th century AD and five interconnected palaces. These fort temples are dedicated to the Jain Tirthankaras - Rishabdev, Sambhavnath and Parswanath. The fort is approached through four gateways-Akhaiya Pol, Ganesh Pol, Suraj Pol and Hava Pol.

Gadsisar Lake : A scenic rain water Lake, with numerous beautiful shrines around and a spectacular avian variety. The lake is an idyllic spot for outings.

Tazia Tower : A pagoda like structure, looming up from the Badal Mahal with beautiful Taazias - ornately decorated bamboo, paper and tinsel replicas of a bier, carried out in procession during Moharram by the Muslims.

Nathmaiji-ki-Haveli : This late 19th century haveli, with intricate architecture - a display of sheer craftsmanship. The left and right wings of the mansion, which were carved by two brothers, are not identical, but very similar and balanced in design. The interior walls are ornate with splendid miniature paintings.

Patwon-ki-Haweli : The most elaborate and magnificent of all the Jaisalmer havelis. It has exquisitely carved pillars and extensive corridors and chambers. One of the apartments of this five storey high haveli is painted with beautiful murals.

Salim Singh-ki-Haweli : This extraordinary mansion in yellow stone, is covered with intricate carvings and has an elaborate projecting balcony on the top storey. The mansion is one of the most notables of the array of havelis.

Bada Bagh : Bada Bagh is a fertile oasis on the bank of an artificial lake. It is surrounded by dense trees and royal cenotaphs, with beautifully carved ceilings and equestrian statues of the former rulers. Much of the city's fruits and vegetables are grown here.

Amar Sagar : Amar Sagar is a pleasant garden, beside a lake with mango and other fruit trees. Beautifully carved Jain temples, add to its splendour.

Sam Sand Dunes : No trip is complete to Jaisalmer, without a trip to the picturesque sand dunes of Sam. The ripples on the wind-caressed dunes, that create an enchanting mirage, are a sure delight for a trigger-happy photographer. Various cultural programmes are organised, against the backdrop of these fascinating sand dunes. Exciting camel safaris, allow you to get the real feel of the desert on the camel's back.

Lodurva : At a distance of 16 km from the city, lies Lodurva the ancient capital of Jaisalmer. An important pilgrim spot of the Jain community with some magnificent Jain temples, the Toran or the orante arches at the main entrance of the temples and its splendid carvings are noteworthy. A Kalpataru or a divine tree within, is the main attraction of the temples.

How to Reach :

By Air : Jodhpur at 285 km is the convenient airport and is well connected to Mumbai, Delhi, Rajkot, Aurangabad, Jaipur, Udaipur and Ahmedabad.

By Rail : The nearest railhead is Jodhpur and is connected to Delhi, Mumbai, Jaipur, Jaisalmer, Kota, Bikaner, Ahmedabad and all other major cities in the country. The Palace on Wheels, also visits this city of Royal splendour.

By Road : A good network of roads joins Jaisalmer with many destinations in and around Rajasthan. The state transport also runs bus services from other cities of the state and interstate services too.



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