General Information & Accomdation info on Jaisalmer city of Rajasthan - India   Encyclopedia of Tours and Travel to Rajasthan, featuring information on Fairs & Festivals, Wildlife, Excursion, Adventure and Weather of Rajasthan.
   
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Jaisalmer


Excursion | Shopping | Getting There

Jaisalmer - the golden desert city of Rajasthan. It still bears the look of a quaint medieval town where chivalary and honour were the order of the day.

275 Kms from Jodhpur, also called "Golden City" was founded by Rao Jaisal. Famous for the Jaisalmer Fort, Patwon-ki-haveli, sand dunes, and ideal for camel rides and safaris.

History
The city has an interesting legend associated with it, according to which, Lord Krishna-the head of the Yadav Clan, foretold Arjuna that a remote descendent of the Yadav Clan would built his kingdom atop the Trikuta Hill. His prophecy was fulfilled in 1156 A.D. when Rawal Jaisal, a descendent of the Yadav Clan and a Bhatti Rajput, abandoned hisfort at Lodurva and founded a new capital - Jaisalmer, perched on the Trikuta Hill.

Bahti Rajputs of Jaisalmer were fedual chiefs who lived off the forced levy on the caravans laden with precious silks and spices that crossed the territory enroute Delhi-or-Sind. These caravans earned the town great wealth.

Culture
The life within the citadel conjures up images of medieval majesty visible in its narrow lanes stewn with magnificent palace, havelis, temples and of course skilled artisans and ubiquitous camels. Folk dances, exciting competitions an contests, especially the turban-tying contest. Mr. Desert contest and camel races enliven the festivities.

Colorful craft bazaars are set up for the occasion and a sound and light spectacle is organized wit folk artists performing against the splendid backdrop of the famous Sam sand dunes on the full moon night. Surely a not-to-be missed event.

Excursion

Fort Jaisalmer  Fort
Built in 1156 by the Bahtti Rajput ruler Jaisala, and reinforced by later rulers, the fort crowns the 80m - high Trikuta Hill. Over the centuries it was the focus of many battles between the Bhatties, the Mughals of Delhi and the Rathores of Jodhpur. This is one of the planets only living forts, with one quarter of the old city's population residing in it. The fort has 99 bastions around its circumference and is protected by three walls. The lower wall is of solid stone blocks which reinforce the loose rubble of which Trikuta hill is composed. The second wall snakes around the fort, and between this and the third, of inner, wall, the warrior Rajputs hurled boiling oil and water, and massive round missiles on their unwitting enemies below.

Above the fort flies the Jaisalmer standard, which features a chatri against a red and yellow background. The fort looks especially magical when it is lit up at night.

It is fascinating to9 wander around this living fort. It is packed with houses, temples, handicraft shops and honeycombed with narrow, winding lanes, all of them paved in stone. It is also quite as vehicles are not allowed up here. Even building materials have to be carried up by camel cart. The fort walls provide superb views over the old city and surrounding desert. Strolling around the outer fort ramparts is a popular activity at sunset.

The fort is entered from First Fort gate tough it is forbidding series of massive gates via an enormous stone paved ramp, which leads to a large courtyard. The former Maharaja's seven storeys Palace, Rajmahal, fronts onto this. The square was formerly used to review troops, hear petitions and present extravagant entertainment for important visitors.

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Patwon-ki-Haveli Patwon  ki  Haveli
The haveli built between 1800 and 1860, was built by five Jain brothers who made their fortunes by trading jwellery and fine brocades.This haveli is divided into five aparments.

The first haveli is a private museum and shop, featuring displays of old furnishings and household items. The second and fifth havelis are government run. They are empty but you can wander around and soak in the atmosphere. Only the ground floor is open on the second haveli. The third haveli is an antique shop and the fourth, a private residence, is not open for public.

Tazia Tower
The delicate pagoda like Tazia Tower rises from Badal Mahal (Cloud Palace). Rising in its five-tiered splendor, with each storey graced by a delicately carved balcony, the tower is of historical significance. Muslim craftsmen built it in the shape of a Tazia and gifted to their royal patron. Tazias are ornately decorated bamboo, paper and tinsel replicas of a bier carried in procession during Mohurram.

Gadisar lake
A artificial lake built by Maharaja Gadsi Singh, Gadisar lake once held the town's water supply.

This tank outside the city walls, once held the town's water supply, and, befitting its importance in providing precious water to the inhabitants of this arid city, is surrounded by small temples and shrines. A wide variety of waterfowl flock here in winter. The tank was built by Maharaja Gadsi Singh, taking the advantage of a natural declivity that already retained some water.

The Jain Temple
Within the fort The Jain Temple  In  Jaisalmerwalls, there are seven beautifully carved Jain Temples built between the 12th and 15th centuries. The cluster of temples is connected by a series of corridors and walkways. Shoes and all leather items must be removed before entering the temple.

The first temple you come around is the one dedicated to Chandraprabhu, the eighth tirthankar (Jain Teacher), whose symbol is the moon. It was built in 1509 and features fine sandstone sculpture in sandstone in Mandapa (Fore chamber of the inner sanctum of the temple).

To the right of the Chandraprabhu Temple is Rikhabdev temple. There are some fine sculptures around the walls protected by glass cabinets, and the pillars are beautifully sculpted with apsaras (Celestial Maiden) and gods. This temple has a lovely and tranquil atmosphere.

Other temples which may be currently closed to the non - Jains, include the temple dedicated to Parasnath, a few steps behind Chandraprabhu. Entry is via an enormous and beautifully carved torana (Gateway) that culminates the image of the Jain tirthankara its apex. There is a voluptuous carving of an apsara balancing a set of balls on her raised forearm.

A door to the south side of the temple leads to the small Shitalnath Temple, dedicated to the 10th tinrthankar. The image of Shitalnath enshrined here is composed of eight precious metals. A door in the north wall leads to the beautiful Sambhavnath Temple.

Steps lead from the courtyard before the Sambhavnath temple to the Shantinath Temple, which was built in1536. The enclosed gallery around the temple is flanked by hundreds of images of saints, some of marble and some of Jaisalmer sandstone. Steps lead below the temple to Kunthunath Temple, which was also built in 1536.

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Desert National Sanctuary
The Desert National Park is an excellent example of the ecosystem of the Thar desert and its diverse fauna. Sand dunes form around 20% of the Park. The major landform consists of craggy rocks and compact salt lake bottoms, intermedial areas and fixed dunes which are quite suitable for the chinkara to move at high speed. The blackbuck is another common antelope of this region. Its other notable inhabitants are the desert fox, Bengal fox, wolf and desert cat.

Sudashri forest post is the ideal place for observing the wildlife of Desert National Park and is the most suitable in the entire 3162 sq. kms. of this park for watching and photographing the activities of the animals from behind cover.

Birdlife in this sandy habitat is vivid and spectacular. Birds such as the sandgrouse, partridges, bee-eaters, larks and shrikes are commonly seen. Demoiselle crane and houbara arrive in the winter. The birds of prey seen here are tawny and steppe eagles, long legged and honey buzzards, falcons and kestrels. But the most outstanding of the avifauna is the great Indian bustard. This tall, heavy bird is an epitome of confidence and grace. It is good to see five or six bustards near Sudashri water hole.

Sam Sand Dunes Sam Sand Dunes
Sam village is on the edge of the Desert National Park. One of the most popular excursions is to the sand dunes on the edge of the park, 42 km from Jaisalmer along a very good sealed road.

It is best to be here at sunrise or sunset, , and many camel safaris spend a night at the dunes. Just before the sunset jeep carrying loads of day-trippers arrive from Jaisalmer to be chased across the sands by tenacious camel owners.

Despite of the tourist hype, it is still quite a magical place, and it is possible to frame pictures of solitary camels against lonely dunes. The desert dung beetles are fascinating to watch.

Lodurva
The ancient capital of Jaisalmer and an important pilgrim spot of the Jain community with some magnificent Jain temLodurva ple. "Toran’ or the ornate arches at the main entrance and splendid carvings are noteworthy. A ‘Kalptaru’ or a divine tree within is the main attraction of the temple.

Furthur beyond Amar Sagar, 15 km northwest fo Jaisalmer, are the deserted ruins of Lodhurva, which was the ancient capital before the move to Jaisalmer. It was prbably founded by the Lodhra Rajputs, and passed to the rular of Devagarh, Bhatti Devaraja, in 10th century. In 1025, Mahmud of Ghazni laid seige to the town, and it was sacked various times over subsequant decades, prompting Jaisala to shift the capital to a new location, resulting in the foundation of Jaisalmer in 1156.

The Jain Temples, rebuilt in the late 1970s, are the only remindres of the city's formar magnificance. The main temple enshrines an image of Parasnath, the 23rd tirthankar, and is finely wrought in silver and surrounded by fine sculptures.

Salim Singh-ki-Haveli
This 300 year old haveli of Jaisalmer’s Prime Minister Maharaja Rawal Gaj Singh-Salim Singh, has a beautiful blue cupola roof with superbly carved brackets in the form of peacocks.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 notable of the array of havelis.

This private haveli was built by Salim Singh who was the prime minister when Jaisalmer was the capital of a princely state. A part of the haveli is still occupied.

There are stone elephants befor the haveli; these were traditionally erected before the homes of the prime ministers. This mansion is erected with no mortar or cement - the stones are connected with tongue-and-groove joints.

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ShoppingEmbroidered  Choli
Jaisalmer is famous for embroidery, Rajasthani mirror work, rugs, blankets, old stonework and antique. The dye and other fabrics are made at Kadi Bundar, north of the city.

Getting There
By Air
The nearest airport that caters to Jaisalmer - bounded travellers is at Jodhpur. Jodhpur is connected to many other indian cities by air.

By Bus
Rajasthan Roadways run very comfortable deluxe & air conditioned buses from Jaipur, Jodhpur, Bikaner. The roads are very good and fairly comfortable.

By Train
The nearest railway station that caters to Jaisalmer - bounded travellers is at Jodhpur. Jodhpur is connected to many other indian cities by train.

Getting around
Rajasthan Tourist Development Corporation sets up a special 'Tourist Village' at the time of Desert Festival. The festival take place between late January and mid - February, depending on the Lunar calendar.

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General Information & Accomdation info on Jaisalmer city of Rajasthan - India

 
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