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Tourist Places To Visit In Jaisalmer
Jaisalmer is a charming sandcastle of a town encased within the walls of an ancient fort. It is most famously known for its unending sand-dunes, opulent palaces, striking havelis and intricate architecture. Jaisalmer has a rich, vibrant history and its culture tells the tale. Visitors to Rajasthan should never miss a trip to Jaisalmer. Here are 5 tourist places you should visit when you go to Jaisalmer.
Desert Culture Centre and Museum
The Desert Culture Centre and Museum is a showcase of the rich culture of Rajasthan. It has on display, varied collections of traditional instruments, ancient and medieval coins, beautiful traditional textiles and invaluable fossils mined from the sands of Jaisalmer. Many kinds of utensils and other artefacts are also displayed. The museum is well maintained. A showstopper here is the 'Karal', which was a box used for opium mixing.
Kothari's Patwa Haveli Museum
Patwa Haveli is the most magnificent of all havelis in Jaisalmer. With stone carvings as intricate as honey-coloured lace, Patwa Haveli stands tall in the midst of a narrow little lane and is wonderfully evocative of 19th century Rajasthan. It was built between 1800 and 1860 by the Patwa brothers who were brocade and jewellery merchants. It currently houses exclusive furnishings and accessories of the erstwhile Patwas and offers visitors a glimpse in to their lifestyle.
Salim Singh ki Haveli
Salim Singh ki haveli has been built on the remains of an older haveli built in the late 17th century. The haveli was commissioned by Salim Singh, the then Prime Minister of the kingdom where Jaisalmer was the capital. The haveli, situated beside the hills near the Jaisalmer Fort, has a unique architecture. The roof has been constructed in the form of a peacock and sandstone elephants guard the front gateway. The haveli consists of 38 balconies, each constructed in a distinct way. The front of the haveli resembles the stern of a ship and is therefore sometimes referred to as Jahazmahal (literally meaning 'ship palace').
A camel safari offers tourists the chance to experience the rich, Bedouin culture of Rajasthan. The camel safari takes visitors through the smallest of villages of Rajasthan and exposes them to the rustic lifestyle of the desert people. Camel safari routes wind through the desert sand dunes and take you through ancient havelis, temples and abandoned palaces. Safari-goers are required to gear up for the harsh weather of the desert. On the way, they can enjoy the traditional cuisine of Rajasthan, listen to folk music and enjoy folk dances.
The Desert Festival is held at the end of January or February every year in Jaisalmer and carries on for a good three days. The festival showcases herds of bejewelled camels, colourfully dressed tribal women, camel races and polo matches, 'saafa' (turban) tying competitions, withered men with dramatic moustaches, acrobats, puppeteers, jugglers and much more. The emphasis however, is on folk dance and music. The festival closes with an enchanting sound and light show. Though this is just a three day affair, it is worthwhile to plan a trip to Rajasthan during the Desert Festival.
One of the topmost places on the list of attractions here, the Jaisalmer Fort is counted among the largest forts of the world. Rao Jaisal, a mighty king of Jaisalmer built this fort on the Tirukuta Hill, overlooking the sandy Thar Desert. Due to the golden glint of the sands, it is also famously known as the golden fort or Sonar Quila. There are various chambers and parts of the fort worth visiting, like the Laxminath Temple, Raj Mahal, the Merchant Haveli and Jain shrines.
Tanot Mata Temple
Dating back to 847 AD, Tanot Mata Temple is dedicated to Hinglaj mata. Nearby is a battleground, where the most recent wars of Indo-Pak were fought in ’65 and ’71. The temple is said to be a magical place, as also corroborated by the soldiers of Indian army. Otherwise, why would this temple in an open arena remain untainted and all soldiers around it alive when Pakistan dropped more than 3000 bombs over the place?
To find answers to these phenomena and more, do visit Tanot Mata Temple.
Sam Sand Dunes
Fond of golden sands and safaris? Then this is the place for you. The Sam Sand Dunes is said to be one of the most authentic sand dunes in the country, with almost 60 m tall dunes where jeeps and camels run grand safaris. About 45 km from the city centre of Jaisalmer, you can easily take a car to these dunes and then hop onto a safari. There are also desert camps set up 3 km from the main dunes, so you can choose to stay overnight. Sunsets and sunrises here are highly coveted. Excluding winter months of October to March, the camel safaris and camps are suspended due to the heat.
Khuri Sand Dunes
Another sand dunes located near Jaisalmer are the Khuri Sand Dunes. Khuri is a village here where tourists get to see the earthy desert lifestyle — mud and straw huts, local chula-made food, camels and cactus populated lifestyle. You can enjoy camel-back rides and shop from the local bazars. Kalbeliya music nights will take your breath away as the cold night winds of Thar will make you feel right at home. Winter is the best time to visit, stay at camps and sit around bonfires.
The Maharaja of Jaisalmer — Maharwal Gadsi Singh in 1400 CE decided to dig a lake in his kingdom. And that’s how Gadsisar Lake came to be. It conserved rainwater back in the day and became one of the only few sources of water in parched summer months. Today, with other modern means of water supply, this lake has turned into a tourist attraction. Winter attracts migratory and other birds to its banks, and hence it is a great place for birdwatching. There are cenotaphs, gardens and reservoir banks perfect for idle picnics around here.
Desert National Park
You might have visited many a national parks and wildlife sanctuaries before this, but the Desert National Park is a unique experience. Why? Because it gives you an insight into how plants and animals survive in the arid dry heat of the Thar. Botanists are attracted to this museum-park. The rocky, craggy brambles, wolves and blackbucks roaming in the wild, desert cats and chinkaras are seen from time to time — it’s like you are transported to another universe. Spanning over 3100 sq. km the Desert National Park is also home to Great Indian Bustard, Rajasthan’s state bird.
Kuldhara Abandoned Village
Better known locally as the ghostly village, Kuldhara Abandoned Village is 18 km from the city centre. It was abandoned not last year or last decade, but has been lying uninhabited since a couple of centuries. It was once home to the clan of Paliwal Brahmins, but due to unknown circumstances they all fled from here one night. Since then it is said to be haunted. Post October as winter sets in, the weather becomes better to visit this village. A walk around is enjoyed better then.
Made out of sandstones, the Vyas Chhatri is located on the northwestern edge of Jaisalmer. It is built on the old Brahmin graveyard and is a must-see when in the city. The vantage from here is so good that you can get some great views of the fort.
The rulers of Jaisalmer have always fought and strived against the harshness of nature. Be it in the wells and lakes they dug, or the gardens they nurtured in the middle of Thar Desert. The Bada Bagh is one such feat, which has stood the test of time and holds royal tombs today. A sprawling green garden with chattris, maintained quite well, the Bada Bagh is watered from an artificial dam. Do visit for a leisure evening walk.
Khaba Fort is located around the haunted Kuldhara village, and is perfect for photography enthusiasts. The top of the fort affords you beautiful panoramic views of the village and in the interiors have that rustic, old charm. A small museum inside also attracts tourists as it houses artefacts and local stories of curses that the villagers left this town with. Do visit if eerie and adventure is your style.
Surya Gate or the gate of the sun is the door of Jaisalmer Fort. Why does it have its own unique identity you say? Because this antique piece of architecture goes back to 12th Century AD and even though is slender in build with carvings on it, it has fended off quite a few attacks. There are three other gates, namely Ganesh Gate, Hawa Gate, and Akhai Gate, not in a straight line but in a maze-like dimension so that the enemy's movements can be anticipated.
The Tazia Tower of Jaisalmer is a beacon of Rajputana architecture. It is located near Amar Sagar Gate in the Badal Palace complex and was once home to the royal family of Jaisalmer. The tower is 5 floors tall and every floor has a balcony made unique with individual designs. Because it was built by a Muslim, the name and its craftsmanship is unique to the community and is really a replica of Imams’ Mausoleum. You would be surprised to discover that it is made of wood, coloured paper and… wait for it… thermocol. And, it has stood the test of time!