The Desert Golden City -Jaisalmer

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Nathmalji-ki-Haveli

Once a sleepy desert city, Jaisalmer has transformed itself into a major tourist destination of India. Situated amid picturesque Thar Desert, the Jaisalmer city commands premiere position among the tourist attractions scattered all over the desert land of Rajasthan. The Jaisalmer city is revered both by Indians as well as foreign tourists.

Like various other cities of Rajasthan, you will discover different facets of Jaisalmer as you explore this wonderful city with us. Tough there are historical monuments scattered all over the city but the Jaisalmer Fort will immediately command your attention. Made of sand stones and locally known as Sonar Quila, the Jaisalmer Fort is a dominating structure amidst sands. The Jaisalmer city is also known for its old mansions, better known as Havelis. Among many of them you will find Salim ji ki haveli and Nathmal ji ki haveli as the most striking. There are other monuments too, which are equally important because of their distinct and individual architecture. The amalgamation of ancient and the medieval era architecture will catch your fancy.

GEOGRAPHY

LOCATION District JAISALMER is located within a rectangle lying between 26°.4’ –28°.23′ North parallel and 69°.20′-72°.42′ east meridians. It is the largest district of Rajasthan and one of the largest district in the country. The breath (East-West) of the district is 270 Kms and the length (North-South) is 186 Kms. On the present map, district Jaisalmer is bounded on the north by Bikaner, on the west & south-west by Indian boarder, on the south by Barmer and Jodhpur, and on the east by Jodhpur and Bikaner Districts. The length of international boarder attached to District JAISALMER is 471 Kms.

Desert Festival 

The fairs and festivals reflect the multi facets of the rich Rajasthani culture. The major festivals celebrates are Holi, Dussehra, Ram Navami, Diwali, Gangaur, Teej and Basant Panchami, Muharram and the two Eids.

Relive the magic and brilliance of the desert City-Jaisalmer, the city that parades its charms to the world every year during the desert festival. The Desert Festival – an extravaganza of colour, music and festivity, is held every year during the Hindu month of Magh(February).

It has, on display, some of the most fondly preserved components of Rajasthan’s rich culture. Add to this the warmth and cheerfulness of the people of the Rajasthan who welcomes the tourist from the depth of their heart.Capture on film the site of a turbaned , handsome man with long moustaches and the flowing beard set in the backdrop of the romantic golden sands. Watch spirited villagers participating in the festival, attired in their colourful best, astride their gaily caparisoned camels.Swing to the high pitched musical instruments which echo in the vast expanse of the tranquil desert. Tap your feet to peppy folk music.

The spectacular Gair dancers of barmer and the fire dancers are great crowed puller too.The excitement heightens as the Maru-Shri(Mr. Desert) competition and the turban-tying contest get underway.In the tug of war, Indian competes with Foreigners which adds to the fun of the festival.An interesting event of the festival is the moustache competition. In this competition the prize is given to the man with the longest moustache. An interesting point to keep in mind is that in the Rajasthan turning moustaches upwards signifies honour while dropping moustache indicate surrender. There are also Camel races camel polo to add the fun..

The grand finale is a trip to the Sam sand dunes on the moonlight night, where one can also experience the pleasure of a camel ride. The folk artistes performing on the sand dunes take the enhancement to its crescendo.

mewar-festivalGangaur Festival

Gangaur is widely celebrated in the entire state of Rajasthan and Jaisalmer too celebrates the festival with huge fervour. Watch women dressed in the most vibrant colours and singing traditional songs during this 18-day festival.

Longing for a husband like Lord Shiva, unmarried women worship Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Idols are decorated during this festival and later immersed in water on the last day of the festival.

THE GOLDEN FORT

Sonar Kila
Sonar Kila

 

The Golden Fort or “Sonar Kila”, built of sandstone of the jurrassic period on the Trikuta Hill ( the triple peaked hill ). It grows out of a rock in an undulating sea of sand. The imposing fort is awe-inspiring protected by rugged high walls,approachable through four successive gates, the Akhaiy Pol, the Ganesh Pol, the Suraj Pol and the Hawa Pol. The palaces of the rulers built atop the main entrance, from an imposing edifice crowned by a huge umbrella of metal mounted on a stone shaft. The fort also houses many old Hindu as well as Jain temples and beautifully carved havelis. The entire living area is well protected within the ramparts of the fort.

PATAWA HAVELI

Patwa Haveli
Patwa Haveli

One of the most exquisite buildings in the walled city, which truly exemplifies the architectural style typical of erstwhile Rajputana. It is five storeys high and the extensive corridors and chambers are supported by intricately carved pillars.

NATHMAL KI HAVELI
Nathmalji-ki-Haveli-Jaisalmer

Carved by Lalu and Hathi, two brothers for the Prime Minister of State, Nathmalji in 19th century. The most interesting fact is that the brothers worked separately, one on the right side and other on the left side, the result is a absolute symphony epitomising the side by side symmetry during construction. The haveli is richly carved and the inner chambers are decorated with miniature paintings.

MANDIR PALACE

Man-mandir-palace
Man-mandir-palace

 GADSISAR LAKE

GADSISAR LAKE
GADSISAR LAKE

The excellent palace complex located near Amar Sagar gate , is the house of former royal family. The Tazia Tower rising from the palace is the landmark for the town. The building forms are interesting and the facades are richly carved.

 

This rainwater lake was once the major supplier of potable water in the town. Today it is a big attraction for the picnickers in the desert city. Sacred shrines and well-laid gardens flank the lake. A varied collection of beautiful brides can be observed fluttering about over here.

AMAR SAGAR LAKE (Location: 7 K.M. in the western outskirts of Jaisalmer)

Amar Sagar
Amar Sagar

How to reach:

Hire a cab or share an Auto-rickshaw Attractions: Lake and a Palace Amar Sagar is a small and beautiful lake cum Oasis and is adjacent to a 17th Century palace called the Amar Singh Palace. Maharawal Akhai Singh built this palace in honor of one of his predecessors Amar Singh. Next to the palace are pavilions with a large stairs leading down to the Amar Sagar Lake. This haveli has been constructed in the pattern of apartments. The Amar Sagar is a five story high haveli and is famous for its murals. Wherever you go in this haveli, you will notice beautiful murals painted with delicate efforts. You can find many of wells and ponds in the surrounding which have a royal air about them. There is an old Shiva temple in the complex itself. Amar Singh built this because he was supposed to be an ardent follower of Lord Shiva, a Hindu God related to destruction.

KULDHARA(Distance : 27 kms west of Jaisalmer )

KULDHARA
KULDHARA

The Village kuldhara was formed by a Paliwal person named Kuldhar and on his name the village is known as Kuldhara. The Village is now abandon and behind this there were so many stories in the air among these a very popular and strong one is that … Deewan of that time Salim Singh was was a very rude and tourturing personality to get rid of all this the villagers of 84 villages near by Kuldhara took a bitter decision to leave the place on a particular day and they did it and left the place all together. Because of all this the village is now abandon but its The village is also known for its architecture and water conservation techniques. The Magsase award winner Mr. Rajendra singh also put efforts to adopt the water conservation techniques of this village because its an example of better water conservation techniques. The village was having 5000 population and there was only one temple which shows that there was a uniformity in the vision and where is a uniformity there is a way of Success.

LUDARWA(Distance : 13 kms North-west of Jaisalmer )

It is also known as ancient Capital of Jaisalmer, but it is more famous for the Jain temples and Kalp Vraksh (The wish tree). The architecture and carving on the stones is fabulous. This place is having very high religious values for the Jain community the Lidrwa is among there main religious places. every year somany Jain peoples come to here for their worship. The woke temple is having very fine carving on every piece of stone used to construct the temple.

 BARABAGH(Distance : 7 kms North of Jaisalmer )

Bada Bagh which literally means ‘Big Garden’ is located on the Ramgarh road. It was commissioned by Maharawal Jait Singh in the early 16th century and completed by his son Lunakaran after his death. The site itself consists of a tank, a dam and a garden. Nearby you will find the Govardhan Stambh (pillar) on which are engraved the names of the dam and the water tank which are called the Jait Bandh and the Jaitsar respectively, dedicated to the man who constructed them. The Jait Bandh is a colossal structure, about 1,200 feet in length and 350 feet in width and built out of solid blocks of stone, as are the step wells. On the nearby hill lie the imperial chhatris or cenotaphs of the rulers – a tribute to the valorous Bhatti dynasty. The oldest among them are the cenotaphs of Maharawal Jait Singh and his predecessor Devidas who reigned from 1470-1506. The newest cenotaph is that of Jawahar Singh who was Maharawal at the time of Indian independence. Jawahar Singh’s chhatri was left incomplete as his son died within a year of his accession to the throne which was considered a bad omen by the family. From then on the practice of building a valedictory memorial to the ruling clan has been discontinued.

History

The fort & town of JAISALMER was founded by Maharawal Jaisal in the year 1156 AD after having shifted his capital from Ludharva (18 Kms away from Jaisalmer) to a safer place. The ruling family of the erstwhile Jaisalmer State belongs to Bhati Clan of Yadu Rajputs of Chandrawasnshi (Lunar) race who claim descent from Lord Krishna,the defied hero who ruled at Dwarka. The historical origin of Bahttis can be inferred from the couplet which says that the Yadu Rajputs ruled and constructed Forts at Kashi,Mathura, Pragvad, Gajni,Bhatner,Digam,Dirwal,Lodurva and ninth in Jaisalmer. (Gajni is in Afganisthan and Dirawal is now in Pakistan).

The present district is largely composed of the former JAISALMER state, which was among the Rajputana States to go under British protection. The treaty between Maharawal Moolraj-II and the British government of 12th December 1818 guaranteed to the ruler and his posterity the principality of Jaisalmer. Under this treaty the ruler of the State was required to act in subordinate cooperation with the British Government. At the time of Afgan War in 1938-39 the then ruler of the state Maharawal Gaj singh made excellent fool-proof arrangements for transportation of British troops for which British Government felt grateful to the ruler for timely help and cooperation. In 1844, after the British annexed Sind, the Forts of Shahgarh and Ghotaru, which are formerly belonged to JAISALMER, were restored to the State. In 1949 when Jaisalmer was merged into the state of Rajasthan, there was no important change in the area of the state.On October 6,1949,the region was given the status of an independent district in Jodhpur division.

BY AIR

Jaisalmer Airport is a military airport and supports only chartered flights, hence is sparingly used by travellers. Although air travel is generally not considered an ideal mode of transport for travelling to Jaisalmer, some people do travel by air to save on time.

Jodhpur Airport is the closest domestic airport that is functional throughout the year. Major cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and Udaipur have regular flights to Jodhpur. The  Jodhpur airport is approximately 5 to 6 hours’ drive from the Jaisalmer city. You can either hire a prepaid or a private taxi from the Airport to reach Jaisalmer.

BY TRAIN

Jaisalmer is well connected with a wide network of trains covering most of the Indian cities like Delhi, Jodhpur, Jaipur and others. Some of the popular trains are Delhi Jaisalmer Express, Jodhpur Jaisalmer Express, Howrah Jaisalmer Express and Lalgarh Jaisalmer Special.

Once you reach the station, there are many auto-rickshaws and private taxis standing outside the station that will take you to the city on a nominal fare.

BY BUS

There are no direct buses from Delhi to Jaisalmer as the 17-18 hour drive is too time-consuming and quite exhausting. You can however switch buses in Jaipur from where a state-run sleeper coach operates regularly. Be sure to book tickets in advance as there are limited seats. Some sleeper buses are also available from Jodhpur and Udaipur.

ROAD/SELF DRIVE

If you intend to drive your own vehicle or hire a taxi to travel by road from Delhi to Jaisalmer, make sure that you break your journey in Jaipur or Ajmer. Accommodation in these towns will be easier to find than at other remote places en route.

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