Jaisalmer, which was established in 1156 by Rawal Jaisal and is located in the Thar Desert close to the India-Pakistan border, is known as the “Golden City” because of its golden sand-covered streets and use of the yellow Jaisalmer stone in almost every structure. The city continues to give off an enduring sense of valour and nobility. Bold Rajasthani clothing and the city’s golden backdrop create a striking contrast. In Jaisalmer, which translates to “the Hill Fort of Jaisal,” camels are common. An iconic hill-fort with imposing walls towers above the city, and it is here that the best examples of par-brilliance inscriptions can be found. From being a significant town along the historic camel-train route that traversed India, Jaisalmer has come a long way. From being a significant town on the historic camel-train route that connected India and Central Asia to being one of the largest towns in Rajasthan and a well-liked tourist attraction, Jaisalmer has come a long way.
The history of Jaisalmer begins in the 12th century. In favour of his younger half-brother Vijayraj Lanjha, Rawal Jaisal of the Bhati dynasty was passed up for the throne of Laudrava sometime in the 12th century. The newly chosen heir’s first action was to expel Jaisal from his realm. Young Jaisal set out to find a good location for his new capital when he stumbled across a massive triangular rock that soared roughly 250 feet above the surrounding desert dunes. The boulder offered a good vantage point from which to see the terrain below. A wise man named Eesul was standing on the rock, and he told Jaisal that Krishna had foretold the advent of his descendent, who would create a kingdom just there.
This was interpreted by Jaisal, who came from the same Yaduvanshi clan as Krishna, as a sign, and he stopped looking for additional locations. Jaisal constructed a modest mud fort in 1156 and gave it his own name. Thus, Jaisalmer was established.
However, the sage Eesul had warned Jaisal of the second part of Krishna’s prophecy, which stated that the city would be attacked twice. Jaisal ignored this warning and continued with the establishment of the city.
The forecast would soon come true, and it wouldn’t take long. When Alauddin Khilji’s army invaded Jaisalmer in 1294 as a result of the Bhatis raiding one of his treasure caravans, the city witnessed the first jauhar, or mass female suicide. According to some estimates, the siege lasted for over eight years, but the Bhatis ultimately lost, and Jaisalmer surrendered after about 3800 men forced open the fort’s gates and risked their lives by being killed by Khilji’s army. After this, Jaisalmer was left uninhabited for a while until the Bhatis returned to their city.
About two centuries later, Firuz Shah Tughluq, yet another Turkic monarch of Delhi, besieged Jaisalmer after a prince from that city had taken his prized mount. 16,000 women perished as a result, and 1700 troops perished as well, including the monarch Rawal Dudu and his son Tilaski. And Jaisalmer was once more all but forgotten.
The tough Bhatis visited the area once more, seemingly to confirm the prophecy. And while they exercised significant autonomy from this location, Jaisalmer caught the attention of Afghan chieftain Amir Ali.
The cunning warrior asked Rawal Lunakaran, the monarch, for permission to send his women to see the queens of Jaisalmer, but instead sent his soldiers in covered palanquins. The soldiers came out of hiding and surprised the Jaisalmer guards in what might have been a scenario from an earlier Troy. There was not enough time to light a
funeral pyre, so the troubled king ordered the execution of the women. Sadly, the Jaisalmer defenders managed to repel the invaders, and Amir Ali was killed by a cannonball. Thus, the prophecy came true since the third time, lives were lost rather than the city.
In any case, Jaisalmer’s early decades after its founding were problematic in part due to the fact that its kings relied heavily on theft. As you would have guessed, Jaisalmer’s first two falls were caused by the rulers themselves. In any case, Jaisalmer started to thrive over the ages, in part because of its extremely advantageous location along the
trade route. The wealth persisted until the British era when new marine routes were developed. As a result, residents of Jaisalmer began to leave the city in search of (figuratively) greener pastures. After Partition, land access to Pakistan was blocked, and it appeared (though briefly) that the fourth silent invasion may not have been predicted in the prophecy.
However, the conflicts of 1965 and 1971 served as a reminder to New Delhi residents that Jaisalmer’s strategic location may be exploited for the benefit of the nation. When military sites were built, tourism once more experienced a boom. Jaisalmer seems to be on the verge of resurrection!
Jaisalmer has so many touristy places to visit. The list goes on and on and doesn’t seem to end. An overwhelming and wholesome experience it provides.
The Jaisalmer Fort is also known as Sonar Quila (Golden Fort) because it rises from the desert and appears to merge with the sand’s golden tones. The fort is shrouded in mystery as the sun sets, adding its own special magic. Local artisans build the fort in the traditional manner of the royals. This fort is a World Heritage Site and features prominently in Satyajit Ray’s Sonar Kela, a movie based on one of his well-known Feluda stories (The Golden Fortress). The city of Jaisalmer in Rajasthan, India, is home to the UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site known as Hill Forts of Rajasthan. The Rajput emperor Rawal Jaisal, from whom the fort gets its name, completed the structure in 1156 AD. Shalivahan II, Rawal Jaisal’s son, is the ancestor of the Manj and Bhati Rajput families. On Trikuta Hill, the fort of Jaisalmer rises amid the vast, sandy Thar Desert and has seen countless conflicts.
GADISAR LAKE LIGHT AND SOUND SHOW
One of the first and biggest laser water shows, the Laser Water Show in Gadisar Lake uses 3-chip DLP projectors with 25,000 lumens to map projections onto a water screen. The show tells the tale of how Jaisalmer was founded, how the fort was attacked by invaders and how brave Rajputs gave their lives to defend their homeland. It also gives
viewers a glimpse of other popular tourist attractions in the Jaisalmer region, such as Tanot Mata Temple, Lodruva Temple, Laxminarayan Temple, Longowala war scenes, etc.
A small, thriving desert community well-known for its hand block printing business, its intricately carved furniture, and the colourful costumes worn by its hospitable residents. Every year in March, the Barmer Festival is held. A collection of five temples in the Kiradu style are around 35 miles from Barmer. Someshwara Temple, which has a
multi-tiered spire, is the most remarkable of all temples because of its exquisite sculpture.
PARK NATIONAL DESERT
An outstanding illustration of the rich fauna and eco-system of the Thar Desert. The great Indian bustard, chinkara, desert fox, and other animals are among the variety of species that can be found in this area.
Khuri, a small town in Rajasthan around 50 kilometres southwest of Jaisalmer, is well known for its sand dunes. It is the ideal location to take in the sunrise, sunset, and delectable Rajasthani food! Kuri’s camel rides are another fantastic attraction.
A ghost settlement called Kuldhara is located about 17 kilometres west of Jaisalmer. It was a thriving town three centuries ago, but it is now a mysteriously deserted village. The ruins of Kuldhara are a remarkable example of the period’s best architecture, and visitors to their winding paths include photographers and filmmakers. The Archaeological
Survey of India has the authority to protect the village today (ASI).
Jaisalmer’s historic capital and a significant site for Jain pilgrimage
THE NATHMAL KI HAVELI
On the orders of the then-prime minister, two Muslim jeweller brothers rather than stonemasons constructed Nathmal Ki Haveli. The brothers initially occupied different sides of the structure, which resulted in a left and right side that are similar but not identical. This haveli is renowned for its stunning interiors packed with murals and modern amenities in addition to its amazing outside carvings. Nathmal Ki Haveli, one of the most stunning havelis in Jaisalmer, is a combination of Islamic and Rajputana architecture.
A well-known businessman by the name of Guman Chand and his sons constructed Patwon-Ki-Haveli, which is situated in the major city. This enormous five-story building contains five enormous suites with elaborate furnishings. The expansive hallways and the ornate walls serve as good examples of the style that predominated. Sandstone that
is yellow makes up the entire structure. The monument’s magnificence and architecture greatly enhance the city’s cultural heritage. One haveli out of the five has been turned into a museum. The third haveli contains old local artisans’ creations.
The city, which is surrounded by hamlets and sand dunes, is well-known for its Hindu and Jain temples. It is sometimes referred to as Rajasthan’s Khajuraho. Sun Temple, Mahaveera Jain Temple, and Sachiya Mata Temple are a few of the temples.
In the centre of the Thar Desert is the town of Pokhran. The Champawat Rathores, the powerful Rajput nobility of Marwar, had their stronghold at Pokhran Fort. Currently, the fort serves as a historical hotel.
The renowned Ramdevra Temple is Ramdevra’s most well-known attraction. Ramdevra is a small village in Jaisalmer. Baba Ramdevji, a saint from the 14th century who Hindus believe to be the incarnation of Lord Krishna, is buried in this shrine.
AAKAL’s “WOOD FOSSIL PARK”
The 180 million year old fossils in this park bear testament to the geological catastrophes that have occurred in the Thar Desert.