Jaisalmer Fort is a stunning sight to behold in the heart of the Thar Desert. Rising from the golden sands like a mirage, this massive fortification is a testament to the glory and grandeur of Rajasthan’s royal past. Built in the 12th century by Rawal Jaisal, the founder of Jaisalmer city, the fort is also known as Sonar Quila or the Golden Fort, due to its yellow sandstone walls that shimmer in the sun.
The fort is a living monument, as it houses a fourth of the city’s population, along with museums, temples, palaces, shops, restaurants, and hotels. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as part of the Hill Forts of Rajasthan.
If you are planning a trip to Jaisalmer, you cannot afford to miss visiting this spectacular fort and exploring its rich history, culture, and heritage. Here are some of the highlights and attractions of Jaisalmer Fort that will make your visit unforgettable.
History of Jaisalmer Fort
Jaisalmer Fort was built in 1156 AD by Rawal Jaisal, a Rajput ruler who belonged to the Bhati clan. He chose the Trikuta Hill as the site for his new capital, as it offered a strategic advantage over his enemies. The fort was named after him and his clan deity, Lord Jaisala. The fort witnessed many battles and sieges over the centuries, as it was located on the ancient trade route between India and Central Asia. It was attacked by various invaders, such as Ala-ud-din Khilji, Humayun, Mughals, Marathas, and British. The fort also played a crucial role in the freedom struggle of India, as it was one of the last bastions of resistance against the British rule.
The fort has a rich and diverse cultural legacy, as it reflects the influences of various religions and communities that lived within its walls. The fort is home to Hindu and Jain temples, Muslim mosques, Rajput palaces, and havelis (mansions) of wealthy merchants and traders. The fort also showcases the artistic and architectural excellence of its builders and craftsmen, who carved intricate designs and patterns on the sandstone structures.
Architecture of Jaisalmer Fort
Jaisalmer Fort is a marvel of engineering and aesthetics, as it blends seamlessly with its desert surroundings. The fort is built on a triangular plan, with three massive circular bastions at each corner. The fort has four gateways for entry and exit, namely Akshaya Pol (the first gate), Suraj Pol (the sun gate), Ganesh Pol (the elephant gate), and Hawa Pol (the wind gate). The fort walls are 30 feet high and 15 feet thick, and are studded with 99 bastions along the circumference. The fort covers an area of about 1.5 square kilometers and stands 250 feet above the city.
The fort houses several buildings and monuments that showcase the fusion of Rajput and Islamic styles of architecture. Some of the most prominent ones are:
Raj Mahal: The royal palace of the Bhati kings, which consists of seven interconnected palaces with distinct features and decorations.
Jain Temples: A group of seven temples dedicated to various Jain Tirthankaras (spiritual teachers), which are adorned with exquisite carvings and sculptures.
Laxminath Temple: A Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi, which is one of the oldest temples in Jaisalmer.
Havelis: The mansions of wealthy merchants and traders, which are famous for their ornate facades and balconies. Some of the most famous havelis are Patwon ki Haveli, Salim Singh ki Haveli, and Nathmal ki Haveli.
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Best Time To Visit Jaisalmer
The best time to visit Jaisalmer Fort is from November to March, when the weather is pleasant and comfortable for sightseeing and desert activities. This is also the peak season for tourism in Jaisalmer, as the city hosts the famous Desert Festival in January or February, which showcases the cultural and artistic diversity of Rajasthan.
However, if you want to avoid the crowds and enjoy a more peaceful and budget-friendly trip, you can also visit Jaisalmer Fort in the months of October or April, when the temperature is moderate and the tourist rush is low.
Best Places To Stay Near Jaisalmer Fort
Here are some of the best places to stay near Jaisalmer Fort, based on popularity & high-rated reviews:
Hotel Lal Garh Fort And Palace:
This is a 3-star hotel that offers spacious and elegant rooms with modern amenities and views of the fort. The hotel also has a restaurant, a bar, a swimming pool, and a spa. It is located 2.1 km from Jaisalmer Fort and you can book this hotel here.
Hotel The Sunshine Villa:
This is a 2-star hotel that offers cozy and comfortable rooms with traditional decor and balconies overlooking the fort. The hotel also has a rooftop restaurant, a garden, and a library. It is located 2.9 km from Jaisalmer Fort and you can book this hotel here.
Killa Bhawan Lodge:
This is a heritage lodge that offers charming and authentic rooms with antique furniture and colorful fabrics. The lodge also has a rooftop terrace, a courtyard, and a cafe. It is located inside Jaisalmer Fort and you can book this lodge here.
Hotel Garh Jaisal Haveli:
This is a haveli (mansion) that offers luxurious and spacious rooms with stunning views of the fort and the city. The haveli also has a rooftop restaurant, a lounge, and a library. It is located inside Jaisalmer Fort and You can book this haveli here.
This is a 3-star hotel that offers modern and stylish rooms with air conditioning and free Wi-Fi. The hotel also has a bar, a terrace, and a restaurant. It is located 0.2 km from Jaisalmer Fort. You can book this property here.
Things to see and do in Jaisalmer Fort
Jaisalmer Fort is not just a historical monument, but also a vibrant cultural hub that offers a variety of attractions and activities for visitors. Here are some of the things you can see and do in Jaisalmer Fort:
Visit the museums:
The fort has several museums that display the artifacts and relics of its past glory. Some of the popular ones are Desert Culture Centre & Museum, Government Museum, Jaisalmer Folklore Museum, and Thar Heritage Museum.
Shop for souvenirs:
The fort has many shops that sell handicrafts, textiles, jewelry, leather goods, antiques, and other souvenirs. You can also find books, paintings, and musical instruments related to the local culture and history.
Enjoy the food:
The fort has many restaurants and cafes that serve delicious Rajasthani cuisine, as well as other Indian and international dishes. You can also try the local delicacies, such as bhang lassi (a yogurt drink infused with cannabis), dal baati churma (a lentil and wheat dish), and ghotua (a sweet made of gram flour).
Watch the sunset:
The fort offers a breathtaking view of the sunset over the desert landscape. You can also enjoy the sound and light show that narrates the history and legends of the fort in the evening.
Stay in a heritage hotel:
The fort has some of the best heritage hotels in Jaisalmer, where you can experience the royal hospitality and luxury of the bygone era. Some of the famous ones are Hotel Garh Jaisal, Hotel Victoria, and Hotel Nachana Haveli.
How to reach Jaisalmer Fort
Jaisalmer Fort is easily accessible from different modes of transport, such as air, rail, and road. Here are some of the options for reaching Jaisalmer Fort:
By air: The nearest airport is Jaisalmer Airport, which is about 15 kilometers from the fort. It has flights from Delhi, Jaipur, Mumbai, and other major cities of India. You can take a taxi or an auto rickshaw from the airport to the fort.
By rail: The nearest railway station is Jaisalmer Railway Station, which is about 2 kilometers from the fort. It has trains from Delhi, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Ahmedabad, and other cities of India. You can take a taxi or an auto rickshaw from the station to the fort.
By road: Jaisalmer is well-connected by road to other cities of Rajasthan and India. You can take a bus or a car from Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Bikaner, or other nearby places to Jaisalmer. The fort is located in the center of the city and can be reached by local transport.
Other Attractions To Visit Near Jaisalmer Fort
Here are some of the other attractions to visit near Jaisalmer Fort:
Sam Sand Dunes:
These are the most popular sand dunes in Jaisalmer, where you can enjoy a camel or jeep safari, witness the sunset or sunrise, watch cultural performances, and camp under the stars. They are located about 37 km from Jaisalmer Fort and offer a thrilling and memorable experience of the desert. You can book a desert safari here.
This is a historical garden complex that houses the royal cenotaphs of the Bhati dynasty. The cenotaphs are carved out of yellow sandstone and are arranged in rows on a hill. They offer a stunning contrast to the blue sky and the green vegetation. Bada Bagh is located about 6 km from Jaisalmer Fort and is a serene and scenic place to visit. You can learn more about Bada Bagh here.
Desert National Park:
This is a wildlife sanctuary that covers an area of 3162 sq km and showcases the diverse flora and fauna of the Thar Desert. The park is home to many endangered species, such as the great Indian bustard, the blackbuck, the chinkara, and the desert fox. The park also has some fossilized remains of dinosaurs and plants. Desert National Park is located about 40 km from Jaisalmer Fort and is a must-visit for nature and wildlife lovers. You can book a tour of the park here.
Patwon Ki Haveli:
This is a cluster of five havelis (mansions) that were built by a wealthy merchant named Guman Chand Patwa and his sons in the 19th century. The havelis are famous for their intricate carvings, paintings, mirrors, and balconies. They are also known as the “mansion of brocade merchants” as they used to deal in gold and silver threads. Patwon Ki Haveli is located about 1 km from Jaisalmer Fort and is a splendid example of Rajasthani architecture.
Jaisalmer Fort is a golden marvel in the Thar Desert that offers a glimpse into the rich history, culture, and heritage of Rajasthan. It is a must-visit destination for anyone who wants to experience the charm and beauty of the desert city.
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Whether you want to explore the ancient monuments, enjoy the local cuisine, shop for souvenirs, or stay in a heritage hotel, Jaisalmer Fort has something for everyone. So, what are you waiting for? Book your trip to Jaisalmer Fort with Tripoto today and get ready for an unforgettable adventure.