The Jaisalmer fort is the essence of Jaisalmer, once the frontier town of India. Built of yellow gold sandstone, this fort is popularly called “ shonar killa” as it stands majestically amidst the sand dunes of Thar. This imposing structure dates back to the 12th century; it was constructed by a Bhatti Rajput ruler of Jaisalmer, Raja Jaisal who also lends his name to the fort and the city. One of the major attractions of this fort is that nearly 1/4th of the city’s population still lives inside it providing the visitor a panaromic view of the rajasthani way of life. The fort, which is situated on the Trikuta hill, rises to a height of 30 feet and has around 99 bastions. Entrance to the fort is through 4 main gates- Ganesh Pol, Suraj Pol, Hava Pol and Bhuta Pol. Inside the fort, a visitor can enjoy the aesthetic beauty of the rajmahals and the exquisite carving of the Jain temples dedicated to Jain Tirthankaras, Rishaba and Sambhavnath. Offering a wonderful fusion of Rajput and Mughal architecture, the fort is a beholder’s delight in the day as it gleams as gold in the sunlight as well as in the night when it radiates warmth and mystery under the canopy of stars.
The fort can be best enjoyed by a visit during daytime and from one of the rooftop restaurants of the city during night.
In and around Jaisalmer:
while at Jaisalmer, do make it a point to visit the picturesque Gadi Sagar lake, the Vyas Chattris, Jain temples at Luderwa and the opulent havelis of the city( Diwan Nathmal ki haveli, Patwa ki Haveli notably). The adventurous and fun loving visitor must take a camel ride to the Sam dunes and Khuri sand dunes to watch the glory of the desert during sunset. Better still, opt for a night desert safari to make your Jaisalmer visit memorable.
What to do:
Hand feed the fishes at Gadisagar lake; yes, you can do that too, in the mornings before you head towards the bazaar near the fort for a delectable plate of kachoris. Enjoy the beauty of the shonar killa and the golden city from one of the rooftop restaurants of the city during evenings as you savour the mirchi paranthas, ker sangri, gatte and lal maans. Or buy exquisite quilts and leather items from the bazaars around the jaisalmer fort. And of course, the camel ride on the sand dunes of Thar shall be your experience of a lifetime.
When to visit:
Jaisalmer experiences extreme temperatures; the best time to visit this desert city is from late October to early March.