Top 10 Places to Visit in Jaisalmer is about as far west as most people get in India. It’s incredibly dry, hot and isolated. So what is it that brings people to a city a stone’s throw away from the Pakistan border? The ‘ Golden City’ as it has come to be known as a majestic place. A huge fort sits atop a hill in the center of the city, overlooking the sun-kissed houses. Sand dunes not far from the city are a tourist hotspot for camel safaris and jeep tours. There are so many great little spots I discovered and awesome things to do in Jaisalmer, the ‘Golden City’ of India.
Jaisalmer Fort is one of the oldest and grandest Forts in the state. Built in 1156, it is the second oldest fort in Rajasthan. The more fascinating part of the Fort is it being one of the few forts in the world where people still reside. The yellow exterior of the fort camouflages it in the desert in the background. Furthermore, due to the yellow exterior, locals call it the Sonar Qila, meaning Golden Fort. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the places that you must visit in Jaisalmer if you want to understand the rich history of the people and the place.
Bada Bagh is a complex of gardens and cenotaphs, just 6 kms away from the complex of Jaisalmer Fort. One of the descendants of Maharaja Jaisal Singh (founder of the city), Jai Singh II, built the gardens and a cenotaph for his father. Later on, more cenotaphs were in the memory of other royal members of the family including the queens, rulers and others. Each of the structure has a marble flooring and structure with the face of the leader of the group. The latest of the cenotaphs in the complex was built in the 20th century but remains unfinished as the work here stopped after India’s independence.
Patwon Ki Haveli
Patwon ki Haveli is one of the Top 10 Tourist Attractions and Places to visit in Jaisalmer for two major reasons, one being the oldest fort in the state and secondly for being a single fort but a cluster of forts instead. Built by one of the renowned and richest traders of the 19th century, Patwon ki Haveli is one of the finest examples the unique Indian architecture. Located in the intricate bylanes of the city, it is the biggest haveli in Jaisalmer. The history books tell the story to be the five Havelis being built for his five sons. The mural paintings and mirror works are two of the best part of the architecture here.
Sam Sand Dunes
Sam Sand Dunes is the most popular sand dunes destinations in Rajasthan for the multiple activities you can indulge in here. Every tourist visiting Jaisalmer must experience Desert Safari, riding a camel. The best time to do so is around sunset, between 4-6pm. Apart from this, you can also indulge in sand bashing, sand surfing and camping at the night. The night sky here is one of the best you can ever experience in your life. The best time to visit this place is December, during the desert festival where you can enjoy a multitude of shows.
Gadisar Lake or the Gadi Sagar Lake makes the list of Top 10 Tourist Attractions and Places to visit in Jaisalmer because it is one of the best man-made marvels in the state. It is a humungous water reservoir built for the benefit of humans residing in the city, built right at the inception of the city along with the Jaisalmer Fort. The Lake is covered with different cenotaphs, royal structures and has a huge gateway entry at one of the sides. You can enjoy a beautiful boat ride in this lake to have a look at the different structures present here and enjoy the landscape around the lake. During the winter, you can also witness some of the migratory birds take shelter here.
Nathmal Ji ki Haveli
Nathmal Ji ki Haveli is one of the popular tourist attractions for multiple reasons. One of them is that two architects built the fort from two different sides, simultaneously. Since there was no mechanism back then to measure the exact developments of both the sides, the final palace has an irregular shape. This story alone makes it a popular place to visit but an even more interesting thing is the presence of murals and paintings in the palace of cars, fans and other such modern things that the architects had never seen in their lives. They made it by listening to the descriptions by people who have seen it.
Salim Singh Ki Haveli
The Prime Minister of the Kingdom, Salim Singh, built Salim Singh ki Haveli in 1815. It is one of the most distinctive and beautiful palaces in Jaisalmer due to the architecture used in here. It has more than 30 balconies in total with different designs and rooftop designed in the shape of a peacock. It is undoubtedly one of the most ambitious architectural attempts, drawing in envy from the Maharaja himself as well. One of the interesting facts about the Haveli is that it uses iron rods instead to connect the huge bricks instead of mortar cement. The beautiful architecture makes it one of the Top 10 Tourist Attractions and Places to visit in Jaisalmer.
Thar Heritage Museum
If you want to understand a place through its history, there is no better place than visiting a museum. The Thar Heritage Museum, located in the main market of the city, offers you exactly the same thing. The museum houses some of the oldest relics and artefacts of the royal family of Jaisalmer. Furthermore, you can also witness millions of years old fossils, giving us an idea about how the sea eventually became a desert. The other artefacts include the coins, weapons, ancient manuscripts and so on. Visiting the museum would surely take you through the memory lane out there.
Kuldhara was once an established city a few centuries back but now is a city left in ruins. Once a prosperous village inhabited by the Paliwal Brahmins, the occupants abandoned the village for unknown reasons. The most likely reason is the unavailability of water in there. However, some believe that it was the persecution of the local Prime Minister Salim Singh that made the villagers leave the place forever. A scientific study shows that it was an earthquake that promoted the villagers of Kuldhara and the neighbouring villages leave once and for all. Now, the abandoned village is a popular tourist place. Haunted stories associated with the place makes it even more popular. You may visit the place in the morning hours with the help of a guide.
Jaisalmer is one of the strongest regions for the Jain community with thousands of people coming from the same community from there. The Jain Temples at the Jaisalmer Fort are the best examples of Jain temples in the city. All the temples in the complex were built between 12th to 15th centuries, dedicated to the different Jain Tirthankars (Hermits). Just like the whole fort, the temples too are carved out of yellow sandstones. The visiting hours of these temples closes after noon, so make sure you visit the temples in the morning hours.