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Jaisalmer is an important destination of the western state of India, Rajasthan. A desert city, it was founded by the Bhatti Rajput chieftain Rawal Jaisal in the year 1156. Jaisalmer could be regarded as the western sentinel of entire India and a place worth visiting to get an idea of the native Rajasthan. Located at the heart of the great Thar Desert, it offers the visitor an enchanting world of fable domestic and foreign tourists., colour, and history. Moreover, the magnificent wood-and stone-carved mansions and buildings display the love and interest Rajputs had for the fine arts. The desert festival held here by the end of the winter season, during the months of January and February, attracts a large number of domestic and foreign tourists
The city has an interesting legend associated with it, according to which, Lord Krishna, the head of the Yadav Clan, foretold Arjuna, one of the Pandava brothers of the Mahabharata that a remote descendent of the Yadav Clan would build his kingdom atop the Trikuta Hill. His prophecy was fulfilled in 1156 AD when Rawal Jaisal, a descendent of the Yadav Clan and a Bhatti Rajput, abandoned his fort at Lodurva and founded a new capital Jaisalmer, perched on the Trikuta Hill. Bhatti Rajputs of Jaisalmer were feudal chiefs who lived off the forced levy on the caravans laden with precious silks and spices that crossed the territory en route to Delhi or Sindh. These caravans earned the town great wealth. Chivalric rivalry and ferocity between various Rajput clans was the order of the day and the Bhatti Rajputs of Jaisalmer were regarded as a formidable force throughout the region. While Jaisalmer largely escaped direct conquest by the Muslim rulers of Delhi, it did experience its share of sieges and sacking with the inevitable jauhar (collective sacrifice) being declared in the face of certain defeat. For years Jaisalmer remained untouched by outside influences and there is perhaps no other city in which one can conjure up the spirit osf those time.
Places To See
The Jaisalmer Fort: Jaisalmer Fort is the most alive of any museum, fort or palace that you are likely to visit in India. It was built in 1156 by the Rajput ruler Jaisala. About a quarter of the old city's population resides within the fort walls. The fort is entered through a forbidding series of massive gates leading to a large courtyard.
Tazia Tower: The delicate pagoda like Tazia Tower rises from Badal Mahal (Cloud Palace). Rising in its five tiered splendour, with each storey graced by a delicately carved balcony, the tower is of historical significance.
Jain Temples: Just follow the line of tourists, and you'll eventually get to the Jain temples. This group of temples were built in the 12th to 15th century. They are beautifully carved and dedicated to the saints Rikhabdevji and Sambhavnathji. The Gyan Bhandar, a library containing some extremely old manuscripts, is within the temple complex.
Gadisar Lake: Gadisar Lake is a man-made lake constructed by Maharaja Gadsi Singh Ji in 1367. It is very scenic, with numerous temples around the lake and one in its centre. An ideal place for boating. It used to be main source of drinking water. There are many small shrines & temples festooned all around the lake attracts gateways.
The Havelis of Jaisalmer: Ajaisalmer has some of the most exotic mansions or havelis in India. Intricately latticed and with conspicuous facades, these are quite unique. Tradition determined that prior to a Hindu wedding, the front wall of the bride's house was painted with an image of Lord Ganesh. The paintings have considerably expanded in theme.
Nathmalji-Ki-Haveli: One very interesting fact about this late 19th century haveli is that two brothers carved its two sides. Although the motif used by one is not similar to the other, they are in harmony. One has to look very closely to spot dissimilarities. The interior walls are ornate with splendid miniature paintings.
Patwon-Ki-Haveli: This is one of the largest and most elaborate havelis in Jaisalmer. It is five storeys high and extensively carved.
Mool Sagar: Located about 9km west of the city, this is another pleasant garden with a tank. It belongs to the royal family of Jaisalmer and is a perfect picnic spot.
Lodurva: Located beyond Amar Sagar and about 15km northwest of the city, this town was the ancient capital before the move to Jaisalmer. The Jain temples here, rebuilt in the 1970's, are the only reminders of the town's former magnificence. The main temple has an image of Parsvanath, the 23rd Jain tirthankar (apostle). In the temple is a hole from which a cobra is said to emerge every evening and it is considered auspicious to see it.
Bada Bagh: A fertile oasis on the bank of an vegetable are grown here. Surrounded by dense trees are the royal cenotaph with beautifully carved ceiling and equestrian statues of the former rulers.
Wood Fossil Park, Aakai: Lying on the barner Road, this pack takes you back to the Jurassic period (when the whole thar region lay under the sea) with 180 million year old fossils-the geological landmarks for the study of the thar desert.
Sam Sand Dunes: Located at a distance of 42 kilometres from Jaisalmer, Sam Sand Dunes is the closest point to witness the total sandy desert. You can also see the patterns and motifs created by the shifting sands and air. Moreover, Sam Sand Dunes also provide you with an unforgettable experience of camel rides and the sunset.
Desert National Park: It preserves the eco-system of the desert within its confines. The Monitor lizards, desert foxes, porcupines, occasional wolves and black bucks, and the Great Indian Bustard (a protected bird ) are found here, forming an ecological chain revolving around cactii and other hardy desert plants.
Barmer: Barmer is a small and lively desert town, known for its hand block printing industry, carved wooden furniture and colourful costumes worn by its friendly people. The best time to visit is during the gay Barmer festival held every year in the month of march.
Festivals: The Desert Festival is a colourful extragavanza of music and gaeity. The grand finale is a trip to the sand dunes at Sam, where one can enjoy a camel ride and, simultaneously, view the troupes of musicians and dancers performing on the dunes.
Camel Safaris: An intriguing way of exploring the vast desert around Jaisalmer, is the Camel Safari - a prime attraction for visitors. Most safaris last 3 to 4 days, and thread their way through Amar Sagar, Ludharva, Mool Sagar, Bada Bagh and Sam, as well as several abandoned villages on the way. The best time for a safari is October to February.
How To Get There
By Air: Jodhpur (285 km) is the nearest airport.
By Road: Regular bus services link Jaisalmer to Jodhpur, Ramdeora and Bikaner.
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