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Jaisalmer Quick Facts
Suparna Banerjee, Oct 08, 2010
Topography

("The Golden City") is a town in the Indian state of Rajasthan. The town stands on a ridge of yellowish sandstone, crowned by a fort, which contains the palace and several ornate Jain temples. Many of the houses and temples are finely sculptured. It lies in the heart of the Thar Desert and has a population of about 78,000. It is the administrative headquarters of Jaisalmer District.

Jaisalmer is situated on the border of India and Pakistan in West Rajasthan. The area of Jaisalmer is 5.1 km2. The maximum summer climate is around 41.6 °C while the minimum is 25 °C. The maximum winter climate is 23.6 °C while the minimum is 7.9 °C. The average rainfall is 15 cm.

Jaisalmer is almost entirely a sandy waste, forming a part of the great Indian desert. The general aspect of the area is that of an interminable sea of sandhills, of all shapes and sizes, some rising to a height of 150 ft. Those in the west are covered with log bushes, those in the east with tufts of long grass. Water is scarce, and generally brackish; the average depth of the wells is said to be about 250 ft. There are no perennial streams, and only one small river, the Kakni, which, after flowing a distance of 28 m., spreads over a large surface of flat ground, and forms a lake orjhil called the Bhuj-Jhil. The climate is dry and healthy. Throughout Jaisalmer only raincrops, such as bajra, joar, motif, til, etc., are grown; spring crops of wheat, barley, etc., are very rare. Owing to the scant rainfall, irrigation is almost unknown.

Distances: New Delhi (864 km), Jaipur (558 km), Mumbai (1177 km), Ahmedabad (626 km).

Getting there: Can easily be reached by train, bus or car-taxi from Jodhpur or by bus from Bikaner. A daily bus runs to and from Jaipur. There is a direct train service from Delhi When arriving by train you will pass the station of Pokharan, India's nuclear testing area! Another option is to arrive by camel, Jaisalmer is famous for camel trips. The most gruelling is the 14 day trip from Bikaner.

Get around: The walled centre is a pedestrian area, from the gates you can get other means of transport. The Sam sand-dunes are 45 km away from the city. The rest of the city is easily walkable from one end to the other.

Places to Stay: Do yourself a favour and pick a hotel inside the fort! There is plenty of choice for every wallet.

Places to Eat: Lots of local eateries which offer sumptuous lunches and dinners for a measly Rs. 20 (approx. $0.45).

Nearby attractions

In neighbourhood

  • Bhattiani Sati Rani
  • Bada Bagh
Bada Bagh Panorama in the afternoon

  • Amar Sagar
  • Lodhruva
  • Mool Sagar
  • Kuldhara
  • Desert National Park
  • Sam sand dunes
  • Khuri village
  • Akal Wood fossil Park
Connecting points

Things to see

Attractions

One of the most magnificient attractions is the Jaisalmer Fort known as the "Sonar Kila" due to the yellow stone it was built out of. Gadi Sagar is a rainwater lake which supplies water to the city. It is surrounded by temples and tombs of saints. Boat rides are offered. Nearly is the desert cultural centre and a local museum built out of the collections of a local schoolteacher.

Sam sand dunes Sam is about 40kms from the city. Watch the sunset from the Sam sand dunes. RTDC has limited accommodations (huts) at Sam; or you can chill out at the one of the camps/tents, right in the middle of the desert, organized by many tour operators. Highly recommended to spend one night at Sam(early evening to late morning next day).

Visitor attractions

Jaisalmer Fort

Built in 1156 by the Bhati Rajput ruler Jaisal, it is situated on Trikuta Hill and had been the scene of many battles. Its massive sandstone walls are a tawny lion color during the day, turning to a magical honey-goldas the sun sets. The famous Indian film director Satyajit Ray wrote a detective novel and later turned it into a film – Sonar Kella (The Golden Fortress) which was based on this fort. This is the world's only living fort and about a quarter of city's population live in the fort. The main attractions inside the fort are: Raj Mahal (Royal palace), Jain temples and the Laxminath temple.

Havelis

The main havelis in Jaisalmer are:

Patwon-ki-Haveli: Built by Guman Chand Patwa (and later by his five sons), a wealthy merchant and banker who had over three hundred trading centres from Afghanistan to China. This ornate five-storey complex took fifty years to complete. This is the largest, the most magnificent, and the most elaborate of Jaisalmer havelis.

Salim Singh-ki-Haveli: It was built by the scheming Prime Minister Salim Singh in 1815. It has a beautifully arched roof capped with blue cupolas and carved brackets in the form of peacocks.

Nathmalji-ki-Haveli: Bult by a Prime Minister of princely state of Jaisalmer. Its facade is a riot of ornamentation: flowers, birds, elephants, soldiers, a bicycle and even a steam engine.

Museums

  • Desert Culture Centre & Museum
  • Jaisalmer Folklore Museum
  • Government Museum
Other
  • Gadi Sagar
Excavated in 1367 by Rawal Gadsi Singh it is a scenic rainwater lake surrounded by small temples and shrines.

Desert Festival

This is held over three days in Jan/Feb every year. This is the best time to visit Jaisalmer to witness many performing arts like Kalbelia dances and folk songs and music.

While Jaisalmer may always have been remote, it is filled with many artistic structures and monuments of local historical importance. Jaisalmer's medieval mud fortress and walled township make it a popular tourist destination. The surrounding desolate landscape evidences a stark, austere beauty. Camel safaris through the nearby desert dunes are popular with tourists; competition for business is fierce. 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.

Tourist accommodation is available inside the fort itself. However, eco-conscious tourists might consider staying outside the fort to avoid putting additional pressure on the fort's archaic sewage system (three of the 99 bastions have already crumbled because of water seeping into the foundations).

Key features

Accesibility

Flora and fauna

Key geographical features

Things to do Just chill, Jaisalmer is a lovely and very relaxing place. Go for a stroll, visit the palace and do the camel safari (trips available from a few hours to 14 days). If you do not feel remotely attracted to camels try a jeep safari into the desert to see the scenery and watch the sun go down.

Things to do

When to go

Best time to visit

Weather and climate

Climate

Climate: Hot & Dry

Temperature Summer: Max. 41.6 Dc. Mini 25Dc.

Winter Max. 23.6 Dc Mini 7.9 Dc.

Ave. Rain 15CM per year

Fairs and Festivals

Travel tips

What do I pack?

What can I buy?

What can I eat?

How do I organise a trip? -- independently, or buy a package

How do I take kids?

How do I dress?

How should I prepare for this trip?

How do I approach a villager for a homestay?

People

Local people

Famous people associated with the place

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