Jaisalmer Fort is known as SONAR QUILA or the Golden fort, rising from the sand, the mega structure merges with the golden hues of the desert ambience and the setting suns in its most colourful shades gives it a fairy tale look. It’s simply a magic, the bastions envelops a whole townships that consist of palace complex various security sources and the havelis of rich merchants carved with an incredibly light touch, several temples and the residential complexes of the armies and traders placed strategically on the trade route, from where the ancient caravans passed en-route passing all the riches for the prosperity to an otherwise non source full kingdom. These merchants served and acquire a great deal of power and noble status in the royal courts of Bhati Rajputs who founded the state in the 12th century and proceeded further. But the rich merchant inspired by the classic style of the royals, constructed huge mansions (havelis) adjacent to each other in the nature of medieval culture and profusely decorated walls and ceilings and intricately carved outdoors and interiors. The colourful art forms and somehow side kind the royal heritage and made it appear more pale in comparison. The craftsmen were usually muslims who were induced on their journey to exhibit their skills. The result was architectural purity that cannot be seen elsewhere.
PATWON KI HAVELI
This is one of the largest and most elaborate Haveli in Jaisalmer and stands in a narrow lane. It is five storeys high and is extensively carved. It is divided into six apartments, two owned by archaeological Survey of India, two by families who operate craft-shops and two private homes. There are remnants of paintings on some of the inside walls as well as some mirror work.
NATHMALJI KI HAVELI HAVELI
Two architect brothers built it in the 19th century. Interestingly, while one concentrated on the right, the other concentrated on the left and the result is a symphony epitomising the side by side symmetry during construction. Paintings in miniature style monopolise the walls in the interior. Mighty tuskers carved out of yellow sandstone stand guard to the haveli.
SALIM SINGH KI HAVELI
This haveli was built about 300 years ago and a part of it is still occupied. Salim Singh was the prime minister when Jaisalmer was the capital of the princely state and his mansion has a beautifully arched roof with superb carved brackets in the form of Peacocks. The mansion is just below the hill and it is said that once it had two additional wooden storeys in an attempt to make it as high as the maharaja's palace, but the maharaja had the upper storey torn down.
LAKE – GadiSagar
This tank, south of the city walls, once held the town water supply, and befitting its importance in providing precious water to the inhabitants of this arid city, it is surrounded by small temples and shrines. The beautiful yellow sandstone gateway arching across the road down to the tank is the Tilon-ki-Pol, and is said to have been built by a famous prostitute, Tilon . When she offered to pay to have this gateway constructed, the Maharaja refused permission under it to go down to the tank and he felt that this would be beneath his dignity. While he was away, she built the gate, adding a Krishna temple on top so that king could not tear it down.
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. Muslim craftsmen built it in the shape of a Tazia and gifted it to their royal patron.
SAM SAND DUNES
Sam Sand Dunes, 42 away km from Jaisalmer, is the most popular excursion to see the total sandy bush less desert. It has a truly glorious stretch of sweeping sand dunes. It is best to be here at sunrise or sunset, and many camel safaris spend a night at the dunes. The best way to see this and other sites around Jaisalmer is to take a camel safari. The standard trip lasts for 4 days and three nights, and offers the opportunity to explore the area in authentic and leisurely fashion, with entertainment by folk performers, visits to villages, and chatter from colourful guides thrown in. However you can also day trip and go by car. Hordes of tourist arrive just before sun set. Camels can be hired easily and you may be able your favourite picture with a lone camel on a desert track and the setting sun in the backdrop. Despite the tourist throng, the place has not lost it magic. The desert festival held sometimes in February each year is a big draw and it is full of fun, colour and laughter, cultural events and competitions.
Situated 6 kms north of Jaisalmer on the way to Ramgarh. Royal cenotaphs with carved images of past Maharawals & their families. Each chhatris preserve inscribed tablet recording the death of Maharawals in which the memorials are raised. The chhatris have been built on a set-pattern but in different sizes. The beautiful spot jaitbundh (Dame) & Lake after MaharawalJait Singh was constructed in 1513 AD. Attached to bundh (Dame), on other side is garden of mangoes and other fruits.
16 kms. Northwest from Jaisalmer, Luderwa is the ancient capital of Jaisalmer now a silent city, the only witness to its former splendour are the jain temple, toran (ornate arche) & artificial divine tree (Kalptaroo) are the main attraction here. Ruins of the deserted capital still remind the famous love legend of Moomal-Mahendra.
6 kms on way to Luderwa the natural spot developed by Maharawal Amar Singh is a water reservoir in 1688 AD. The dams were constructed to hold rainwater. Several terraces are formed where summer palaces, temples are constructed & Garden developed. On the south of the lake stands the exquisitely carved Jain temple constructed by Himmat Ram Bafna, the descendant of famous patwas.
8 kms on way to Sam Sand Dunes, is an another natural point. Lake, Garden, summer palaces constructed by Maharawal Mool Raj in 18th Century.
KULDHARA & KHABHA (Medieval Deserted village of Paliwal Brahmins)
The total number of 84 villages were abandoned by Paliwal Brahmins overnight, out of that two most prominent villages are Kuldhara & Khabha located about 18 to 30 kms. South-West of Jaisalmer and Kuldhara 5 kms of the same road. The ruins of Kuldhara & Khabha exhibit the architectural, excellence of those times, which was buried under dunes till recently.
Only 16kms.from Jaisalmer, a Tirth (religious palace) for Hindus, attracting a number of devotees on full Monday of Baisakh every year for holy dip. A temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is originally of early pratihar period and seems to be restored in 16th Century.
A temple, 11 kms and 1 Km. off the Ramgarh route, Shrine dedicated to God Rama & Krishna, constructed during the reign of Maharawal Amar Singh in 17th Century.
DESERT NATIONAL PARK
The Desert National Park is an excellent example of the ecosystem of the Thar Desert and its rich fauna. The Sudashri forest post is the most ideal place for observing wildlife in the Desert National Park. Sand dunes form less than 20 percent of the Park, which consists of craggy rocks, pavements and compact salt lake bottoms, intermedial areas and fixed dunes.
Its inhabitants include the blackbuck, chinkara, wolf, Indian fox, desert fox, hare and desert cat. Flights of sandfrouse start coming to waterholes from sunrise onwards. One also hear the morning call of the grey partridge. Blue tailed and green bee-eaters, drongos, common and bush quail and Indian rollers are birds, which are commonly found around waterholes. the park is also home to the great Indian Bustard which is peril of extinction..
AKAL WOOD FOSSIL PARK
Just 17 kms from Jaisalmer and a kilometre away from the Barmer Road are fossilised remains of 180 million-year-old forests. These are beautiful forest vistas and any forester around can show you.
FESTIVAL - DESERT FESTIVAL
Once a year in winters and on the middle of the continually rising and falling stark yellow sands of the great Thar Desert, the empty sands around Jaisalmer come alive with the brilliant colour, music and laughter of the Desert Festival. The festival is organised by the tourist authorities as tourist entertainment around January-February.
The very rich and colourful Rajasthani folk culture is on show here for a few days. Rajasthani men and tall beautiful women dressed in their brightly costumes dance and sing lingering ballads of valour, romance and tragedy. Traditional musicians attempt to outdo each other in their musical superiority
The high points of the festival are - snake charmers, puppeteers, acrobats, folk performers do rapid trade. Camels, the lifeline of the desert, play a foremost role. Proud moustached villagers, dressed in their ethnic best come astride their picturesquely caparisoned camels to join in the camel dances and competitions of camel acrobatics, camel races and décor, camel polo, tug of war and the like
The tourist dances, turban tying competitions and tug of war are big draws and laughter. The Mr. Desert competitions, which are focused around the length of moustaches by and large, attract many hopefuls.