Posted by: Jay
Jaisalmer – one of the charming cities of Rajasthan., Jaisalmer has been nicknamed as the ‘Golden City’ due to the yellow sand and yellow sandstone widely used in the architecture. Like most other cities of Rajasthan, Jaisalmer also boasts about its own glorious past. History of Jaisalmer draws heavily from the history of Rajputana. Jaisalmer city is said to be founded by Raja Rawal Jaisal a Bhatti Rajput ruler around 1156 AD. As the abode of King Ludwerwa was vulnerable towards possible enemy attacks, the King chose to move his capital on Trikut hill where now stands his fort.
Jaisalmer has a few tourist attractions, however Jaisalmer fort will immediately command your attention. Jaisalmer fort, which is one of the very few living forts in the world. The first settlements outside the fort walls, to accommodate the growing population of Jaisalmer are said to have come up in the 17th century. Jaisalmer fort is the second oldest fort in Rajasthan and stood at the crossroads of most important trade routes including the ancient silk road. The architecture of Fort is amazing as it has many attractions spots inside in the Fort: Raj Mahal of Fort, Laxminath temple of Fort, Jain temple of Fort, 4 Gateways of Fort and The Merchant Havelis of Fort.
In addition to the Jaisalmer fort, city is also revered for its Havelis. Havelis of Jaisalmer were made by the traders and merchants in medieval times. During medieval times Jaisalmer was a major trading centre and some of the famous havlis include Patwaon Ki Haveli, Nathmal ki Haveli, Salim Singh ki Haveli and many more.
A few must do attractions whilst in Jaisalmer
1. Jaisalmer Fort
2. Havelis of Jaisalmer
3. Dune bashing at Sam Dunes along with a Camel ride on the dunes
4. Cultural evening at one of the camps at Sam Dunes
5. Kuldhera – the abandoned village
6. Gadisar Lake
7. Jaisalmer Was museum
Jaisalmer being in desert region is prone to extremes in terms of temperature. Temperature varies greatly between days and night. Summers are beteen 25 – 50 Degrees centigrade and winters are between 5- 23 degrees centigrade. Best time to visit Jaisalmer is between October to March.
Jaisalmer Desrt Festival – an annual event that takes place every year in February. The festival is celebrated amidst the dunes of the Thar Desert – Sam dunes located 42 kms from Jaisalmer. During the festival the desert comes alive with colour and happiness. The festival commences with a procession in the morning from the Jaisalmer fort. Locals are dressed in traditional bright costumes and sing and dance the stories depicting the tragedies and accomplishments of the desert. The Gair and the fire dance are highlights of the festival. The Kalabaz or the Nat’s are a group of local nomads who are popular for their gymnastic acts. The Bhopa’s Langhas and Manganiars create an enchanting environment with their poignant folk music recitals and ballads.
You can be a spectator of rare competitions like camel polo. Cheer for camel races. Gymnastic stunts on camel back and camel formation dancing are the crowning jewels of the festival. These competitions are followed by the Border Security Force Camel Tattoo. Tug-of-war, turban tying, Maru-Shri (Mr. Desert competition) and the longest moustache competition are others allures. The grand finale of the festival is the Rajasthani folk concert following an Air Force display, cricket match and parachuting.
Delicious food, interesting stalls displaying artifacts, handicrafts and souvenirs are also available at the festival.