In the heart of the Thar Desert, Jaisalmer is located in the Indian state of Rajasthan. Once a sleepy desert city, Jaisalmer has transformed itself into a major tourist destination of India. Undoubtedly, it commands premiere position among the tourist attractions scattered all over the desert land of Rajasthan.
The town stands on a ridge of yellowish sandstone, crowned by a fort, which contains the palace and several ornate Jain temples. Although there are many historical monuments in all over the city, the Jaisalmer Fort will immediately command your attention. Its massive yellow sandstone walls are a tawny lion color during the day, fading to honey-gold during the sunset, camouflaging the fort in the yellow desert. For this reason, it is also known as the “Golden Fort”.
The Jaisalmer city is also famous for its old mansions, commonly known as Havelis. Salim ji ki haveli and Nathmal ji ki haveli are the most outstanding and are very historically important. But generally, the amalgamation of the whole ancient and the medieval era architecture will catch your fancy.
The streets in this part of town are full of pedestrians, motorbikes, ricksaws and cows and so narrow that they are not passable by cars. It is said that the streets are narrow by design, for shade. Although you may be drawn to the ambience of large shopping markets in other cities, in Jaisalmer you will more likely be captivated by the beauty and the charm of the small stalls in the streets where you can find excellent quality of stone jewlery, traditional carved wooden boxes and camel leather goods! From that place I bought a very nice purple turban as well!
Jaisalmer’s medieval mud fortress and walled township make it a popular tourist destination. The surrounding desolate landscape evidences a stark, austere beauty. Wherever you walk inside the city you feel like living in a fairy tale of the ancient times.
Taking the advantage of being a group of around 20 people and taking into consideration that India is very cheap as well, we had the opportunity to bargain and arrange to stay in a marvelous hotel (named hotel desert) inside the fort which had a rooftop terrace with an amazing view of the whole city!
Camel safaris through the nearby desert dunes are popular with tourists so we didn’t miss the chance for a two days camel safari in Thar desert spending the New Year’s Eve isolated between huge sand dunes!
A few quiet days spent wandering around the town and the surrounding desert can be a wonderful way of unwinding from the chaos of larger Indian cities!
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