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JAISALMER FORT

A visit to the Jaisalmer Fort is something that you will find in every Jaisalmer itinerary. It is one of the only few ‘living forts’ in the entire world as a considerable portion of the city’s population still lives in and around it. Its beauty and magnificence make it the crowning glory of the Golden City.

Visiting the fort is one of the most popular activities in Jaisalmer and people spend an entire day in this ancient fort which dates back to 1156 AD. The main entrance of the fort takes visitors through four huge gateways which take you through the massive sandstone structure. Inside, you will find the Raj Mahal Palace, numerous Jain temples which date between the 12th and the 16th centuries. Also inside the fort is an old Hindu temple and numerous merchant Havelis that depict the stunning old architecture of the area.

GADISAR LAKE

Gadisar Lake is located a kilometer away from the fort. It was constructed by the first ruler of the land, Raja Rawal Jaisal and later reconstructed by Maharawal Garsi in the year 1367 AD. The people of the desert city depended on this tank for their water needs. You will find temples, Holy shrines and Chattris around the banks of this lake. The artistically carved entrance made of yellow sandstone offers breathtaking view.

Boating at the picturesque Gadisar Lake is one of the best things to do in Jaisalmer if you love being on the water! This is an artificial lake which is situated in the heart of the city, making it an ideal place to escape the bustle of the city. Surrounding the lake are several Hindu temples and ghats where you can enjoy the enchanting music of the evening Aarti as you ride your boat. In winters, the boat rides become even more beautiful as you can spot several species of migratory birds at the lake that come from the nearby Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary.

KULDHARA (THE ABANDONED VILLAGE)

About 15 kilometres away from Jaisalmer is an abandoned Indian village, which narrates inspiring and fascinating tales. This destination is known as Kuldhara. The village, which looks more like a town, was once known for its large population. Travellers who wish to imagine a world through its ruins are recommended to visit the abandoned village of Kuldhara.

The streets here were wide and designed beautifully, the settlement here was planned. Aesthetics were kept in mind when it came to construction of this village. Though abandoned now, earages, temples, step wells and other structures were constructed here in large numbers.

While travelling through this abandoned village, tourists will hear the legend that describes why villagers left this settlement. According to this legend, the minister of the ruling kingdom was evil and wished to marry the younger daughter of a village chief. He forced him to give her in marriage and gave him a deadline. Scared, the chief called upon a meeting of chiefs from 84 villages located nearby and it was decided that the entire population of Kuldhara would leave, so that the honour of the chief’s daughter could be protected.

Today, this story is reflective of the fact that chiefs and Rajput warriors during those times kept their honour at the highest level. Their respect and self esteem was so important that an entire village decided to leave their homes and settle elsewhere so that the young daughter of the chief could be protected from the evil clutches of the minister from the ruling kingdom. This indicates how valiant Rajasthani people are.

Today the ruins of this village are a tourist site, giving travellers the opportunity to think and understand what happened centuries ago.

TANOT MATA MANDIR

About 15 kilometres away from Jaisalmer is an abandoned Indian village, which narrates inspiring and fascinating tales. This destination is known as Kuldhara. The village, which looks more like a town, was once known for its large population. Travellers who wish to imagine a world through its ruins are recommended to visit the abandoned village of Kuldhara.

The streets here were wide and designed beautifully, the settlement here was planned. Aesthetics were kept in mind when it came to construction of this village. Though abandoned now, earages, temples, step wells and other structures were constructed here in large numbers.

While travelling through this abandoned village, tourists will hear the legend that describes why villagers left this settlement. According to this legend, the minister of the ruling kingdom was evil and wished to marry the younger daughter of a village chief. He forced him to give her in marriage and gave him a deadline. Scared, the chief called upon a meeting of chiefs from 84 villages located nearby and it was decided that the entire population of Kuldhara would leave, so that the honour of the chief’s daughter could be protected.

Today, this story is reflective of the fact that chiefs and Rajput warriors during those times kept their honour at the highest level. Their respect and self esteem was so important that an entire village decided to leave their homes and settle elsewhere so that the young daughter of the chief could be protected from the evil clutches of the minister from the ruling kingdom. This indicates how valiant Rajasthani people are.

Today the ruins of this village are a tourist site, giving travellers the opportunity to think and understand what happened centuries ago.

SALIM SINGH KI HAVELI

This Haveli is slightly different from the other Havelis in terms of art and sculpture. The roof of this Haveli has been built in the form of a peacock. At the entrance of the Haveli, there are tuskers made of sand stones guarding the haveli.

This haveli has 38 balconies and each balcony has its own artistry. The name given to this Haveli is Jahaz mahal because of the front of the haveli resembling ship stern. We recommend a visit to this Haveli to see how beautiful art can be.

PATWON KI HAVELI

The Patwon ki Haveli is considered to be one of the most important Havelis of Jaisalmer because of two important things: it was the first Haveli to be ever built in Jaisalmer and it is a cluster of 5 different havelis making it one of the biggest Havelis. The other name given to this Haveli is the “mansion of brocade merchants” because the Patwa family used to deal in gold and silver.

Currently, the Haveli is taken care of by the Rajasthan government. The gateways and arches of this Haveli are also masterpieces. The entire Haveli is made of yellow sandstone and the main gateway of this Haveli is brown.

LONGEWALA WAR MEMORIAL

This war memorial throws light on Indo-pak and sino-India conflicts. Apart from the historical details and significance of these wars, it also covers the military equipments used in these wars. It is situated 130 km from the city of Jaisalmer and is good place to build up your knowledge on the critical issues dealt by India through war and peace-making strategies.

INDO-PAK BORDER

If you want to participate in some out of the ordinary activities in Jaisalmer, then, a visit to the Indo-Pak border must be on your list. You will get an opportunity to visit some of the major posts of the Indian army, including Longewala and Tanot. Apart from some amazing tank displays and army men going about their day, you can also enjoy the beautiful views of this mostly unoccupied area.

You can head over to the Indira Gandhi canal to enjoy the views and sample some delicious local food. The border also has some ancient temples which makes for an interesting stopover on the way to or back from the border.

JAISALMER WAR MUSEUM

The Jaisalmer War Museum beautifully encaptures the bloody history of this border town. It houses some unique artifacts that pay tribute to and commemorate the sacrifices of the Indian military forces during the several wars fought throughout the years. There is an entire hall dedicated to the Battle of Longewala during the India-Pakistan war of 1971.

Apart from Longewala, you can see displays dedicated to the Indian Army, Siachen warriors, WW1 Indian army cycle warriors, displays of Operation Vijay artillery gun team of 1999, war equipment and documentaries.