Is it real, or is it a mirage? As you approach Jaisalmer, you realize that your imagination is not playing tricks after all. Rising from the heart of the Thar Desert, etched in yellow sandstone, this citadel city stands in all its awesome splendor.

Legend has it that Lord Krishna, head of the Yadav Clan foretold that a remote descendant of the Yadav clan would establish his kingdom atop the Trikuta Hill. True to his word Rawal Jaisal, a Yadav and a Bhati Rajput, abandoned his fort at Lodurva and founded a new capital Jaisalmer, perched on the Trikuta Hills. Bhati Rajputs were feudal Chiefs who lived off the forced levy on the caravans laden with silks and spices that crossed the territory en route Delhi or Sind. These Caravans were the source of great wealth for the clan.

The rise of shipping trade through the port of Mumbai saw the decline of Jaisalmer. The fortress however stood the test of time. In the mind's eye, even today, medieval majesty of the citadel still remains. Narrow lanes, magnificent palaces, havelis of the rich and the famous temples are all there.

And when the sun sets every evening, Jaisalmer is transformed into a magic kingdom- the Sonar Kila.

The best time to visit the golden city is during the Desert festival every February when the city reverberates with sounds and rhythms all its own. Join in on the folk dances, compete in unique contests involving tying the turban, emerge as Mr. Desert. Enthral - the camel races are on! Colourful craft bazaars are set up, a sound and light spectacle with folk artists performing will thrill you to the bone. Catch it on a full moon night with the Sam sand dunes as a backdrop. Return, year after year.

Places of interest:-

The Fort: The golden hued fort is a sentinel to the bleak desertscape from its 80 metre high perch on the hill, housing the entire township within its ramparts.

It has an enchanting cob-web of narrow lanes dotted with some lovely havelis, three beautifully sculptured Jain temples of the 12th-15th century A.D. and five interconnected palaces.

The fort is approached through four gateway-Akhaiya Pol, Suraj-Ganesh Pol and Hava Pol

Manak Chowk and Havelis: A main marketplace outside the fort leads to the narrow lanes dotted with famous havelis.

Gadisar Lake: A scenic rain water lake with numerous beautiful shrines around and a spectacular avian variety. The lake is an idyllic spot for outings.

Tazia Tower: A pagoda like structure looking up from the 'Badal Mahal' with beautiful "Taazias" ornately decorated bamboo, paper and tinsel replicas of a bier, carried out in procession during Moharram by the Muslims.

Havelis: Some of the most exotic mansions or havelis, all intricately latticed, are strewn all over Jaisalmer each with a different facade.

Nathmalji-ki-Haveli: The late 19th century haveli with intricate architecture a display of sheer Craftsmanship. The left and right wings of the mansion which were carved by two brothers are not identical but very similar and balanced in design. The interior walls are ornate with splendid miniature paintings.

Patwon-ki-Haveli: The most elaborate and magnificent of all the Jaisalmer havelis. It has exquisitely carved pillars and extensive corridors and chambers. One of the apartments of this five storey high haveli is painted with beautiful murals.

Salim Singh-ki-Haveli: This 300 year old haveli of Jaisalmer's Prime Minister to Maharaja Rawal Gaj Singh-Salim Singh, has a beautiful blue cupola roof with superbly carved brackets in the form of peacocks. This extraordinary mansion in yellow stone is covered with intricate carvings and has an elaborate projecting balcony on the top storey. The mansion is one of the most notable of the array of havelis.

Jain Temples: The fort has seven exquisitely carved Jain temples dedicated to the Jain Tirthankaras-Rishabhdev, Sambhavnath Parswanath.

Gyan Bhandar or library: Some of the oldest manuscripts of India are found in this library established as a part of Jain temples.


Lodurva (16 kms): The ancient capital of Jaisalmer and an important pilgrim spot of the Jain community with some magnificent Jain temples. 'Toran' or the ornate arches at the main entrance and splendid carvings are noteworthy. A 'Kalpataru' or a divine tree within is the main attraction of the temples.

Wood Fossil Park, Aakal (17 kms): Lying on the Barmer Road, this park takes you back to the Jurassic period (when the whole Thar region lay under the sea) with 180 million year old fossils the geological landmarks of the study of the Thar Desert.

Sam Sand Dunes (42 kms): No trip to Jaisalmer is complete without a trip to the most picturesque dunes of Sam. The ripples on the wind-caressed dunes, that create an enchanting mirage, are surely a delight for a trigger-happy photographer.

Various cultural programmes are organized against the backdrop of these fascinating sand dunes. Exciting camel safaris allow you to get the real feel of the desert on the camel back.

Amar Sagar (5 kms): A pleasant garden beside a lake with mango and other fruit trees, beautifully carved Jain temples add to its splendour.

Bada Bagh (6 kms): A fertile oasis on the bank of an artificial lake. Vegetables are grown here. Surrounded by dense trees are the royal cenotaphs with beautifully carved ceilings and equestrian statues of the former rulers.

Mool Sagar (8 kms): This pleasant shaded grove is a perfect picnic spot during summers.

Camel Safaris: This is the most interesting means to explore the desertscape and is conducted on various circuits.

Shopping: Shop for exquisitely carved wooden boxes in tiny curio shops. Traditional rugs, hand-woven blankets and shawls in typical Rajasthani colours and weave are also available. Mirror work, embroidered articles, silver jewellery, trinkets and curios are other buys of Jaisalmer.



Air: Jodhpur 285 Kms is the convenient airport. During tourist season Kingfisher airlines operate a daily flight to Jaisalmer.

Rail: Rail connection with major cities of the country through Jodhpur.

Road: A good network of roads joins Jaisalmer with many destinations in and around Rajasthan.

Local Transport: Un-metered taxis, auto-rickshaws, jeeps.


Area: 5.1 sq. kms.
Altitude: 225 metres
Climate: Mean Max. Mean Min.
Summer: 41 .6 °C 25.0°C
Winter: 23.6 °C 10.9°C
Rainfall: 15 cms.
Best Season: August - March
Clothing: Summer: Light Tropical
Winter: Woollens
Languages: Hindi, English & Rajasthani