Jaisalmer or the Sun City of Rajasthan in India is home to massive sandcastles standing tall, rising from the centre of the Thar Desert as a reminder of a glorious bygone era. The mysteries of a desert and trade route of camel trains can be best experienced perhaps only in Jaisalmer. The 99 bastions encircling the Jaisalmer fort continue to be inhabited. Its twisting lanes present an array of shops with most of them selling bright embroideries, the likes of which you may never see elsewhere under the sun.
When translated ‘Rajasthan’ means the seat of the ruler or king. However, one of the top reasons to visit Jaisalmer is to get the authentic feel of the desert life. You can still see people living in huts made of grass in the nearby villages. You will come across people of all religions such as Hindu, Jains, Muslims, and Christians living in complete harmony in the challenging this terrain.
The Jaisalmer fort is a lively urban centre that is home to about 3,000 people living within the walls. The honeycombed winding narrow lanes are lined with temples and houses along with an array of restaurants, guesthouses, and handicraft shops. Entry to the fort is from the east which is close to the Gopa Chowk. Along the zig-zag route, you will have to pass four massive gates to reach the upper section. The final gate takes you to the square at the centre of the fort which is known as Dussehra Chowk.
Patwon-ki-Haveli is among the biggest havelis in Jaisalmer towering over a narrow lane. The intricate stonework and all that you see around in its five sections have their history dating back to the late 1800s. Bada Bagh is a huge garden with a resplendent history dating back to the 16th century. Though the place is isolated, it offers splendid photo opportunities at sunrise and sunset which is one of the astonishing experiences is the Desert Safari. Sam Sand Dunes is an ideal spot to start your Desert Safari. The camelback safari provides significant intrigue and enjoyment for most visitors.
Gadisar Lake with its origin in 1367 is about one kilometre from the main fort. This lake supplies drinking water to Jaisalmer and on the banks of this lake, you will find a series of Chattris and holy shrines. The entrance to the lake is particularly attractive for its artistic carvings on yellow sandstone. Nathmal Ki Haveli is must visit haveli for the beautiful interiors and exceptional outer carvings. This is a real amalgamation of Rajputana and Islamic architecture. It is reckoned as the most beautiful havelis in Jaisalmer.
For those who are looking for some uncanny adventure, you can head to the Kuldhara village. This is a ghost town that has been abandoned now. Centuries ago, the then occupants of the town abandoned it lock, stock, and barrel under threat from the then ruler. Folklore has it that Kuldhara continues to carry their curse and hence remains uninhabited even to this date.
The best time to visit Jaisalmer is between the months of October and March. While the summers are arid and should be avoided, the temperature during winter can also drop below 5 degree Celsius during the night. The nearest airport is at a distance of 280 Km in Jodhpur as Jaisalmer does not have a commercial airport. You can land in Jodhpur and take a connecting train or hire a private taxi to reach Jaisalmer. The railway station in Jaisalmer is well-connected to other major cities such as Delhi, Jaipur, Agra and Jodhpur. A well-maintained network of road connects Jaisalmer to other parts of Rajasthan and nearby states. You can take a private or state transport bus from Bikaner, Barmer, Mount Abu, and Ahmedabad.