Jaisalmer- The Golden City Of India
Hello TM readers!! How are you all? Winter season has started in Northern parts of India by this time and I hope that you are enjoying the cold breeze and its own flamboyant charm. This cold weather in the month of November and December makes us feel pleasant yet lethargic or you may say the feeling of ‘Meethi Meethi Thand’ in Hindi which means ‘Sweet Winter’. By saying this, I would like to suggest you travel to Jaisalmer, the Golden City of India, in Rajasthan, as this is the best time to travel to this hot destination. Here is my journey to this beautiful hot destination.
Jaisalmer which is also known as the Golden city is about 600 kilometers far from Jaipur, the capital city of Rajasthan. Once Jaisalmer was a state during the reign of Rajputs and is now listed in the world heritage sites. The town stands on a ridge of yellowish sandstone, crowned by a fort, which contains the palace and several ornate Jain temples. Many of the houses and temples are finely sculptured. It lies in the heart of the Thar Desert (the Great Indian Desert). Jaisalmer is named after Maharawal Jaisal Singh, a Rajput king who founded the city in 1156 AD. In reality, ‘Jaisalmer’ means “the Hill Fort of Jaisal”. Jaisalmer is sometimes called the “Golden City of India” because the yellow sand and the yellow sandstone used in every architecture of the city gives a yellowish-golden tinge to the city and its surrounding area. Now after its brief history, it’s time to know about its places of interest that I have visited. At the very outset, I would love to introduce you to the Golden fort of this city.
Golden Fort: It was built by the ruler Maharaja Jaisal in 1156 AD on Trikoota Hill. Its walls are made of sandstone and are really very strong. In Hindi, Golden Fort is known as “Sonar Kila”. The famous Indian film Film Maker and Lifetime Academy Award Winner Satyajit Ray wrote a detective novel and later turned it into a film − Sonar Kella (The Golden Fortress) which was based on this fort. This is a living fort and about a quarter of city’s populations still live inside the fort. The main attractions inside the fort are Raj Mahal (Royal palace), Jain temples and the Laxminath temple. Most of the city’s populations reside around the fort itself.
Desert Festival of Jaisalmer is the most awaited event that it culturally dominates the powerful sand of Rajasthan and Camel Races. During the event, turban tying competitions are also organized. It is held in the month of February every year in Rajasthan. The desert festival in Jaisalmer is the showcase of Rajasthani folk songs and dance and hence it is a very popular festival among the foreign tourists. The rich culture of the region is on display during this three days long cultural festival. This is the best time to visit Jaisalmer to witness the performing of various arts like Kalbelia dances and folk songs and music.
Sand Dunes: Jaisalmer is actually famous for its sand dunes. So make sure, you plan a visit for sand dunes at Sam which is about 40 km from Jaisalmer and if you are willing to visit a fresh and less toured dunes, you may go to Khudi or Ghanana where you will see sand dunes having more height and are newly developed compared to Sam Sand dunes. If you are willing to go there, priority should be given to visiting there at the time of sunrise or sunset time as these are the best times to visit sand dunes, mainly for photography.
The haunted village of Kuldhara: After visiting Sand dunes of Sam or Khudi, make another plan to visit Kuldhara village which is believed to be haunted since the 18th century. It is believed that this village was evacuated in a single night by the Paliwal Brahmins due to fear of Salim Singh, the then prime minister.
Jaisalmer War Museum (JWM): Jaisalmer War Museum is an establishment of Indian army which is established in August 2015 to show the courage and gallantry of Indian Army in 1965 and 1971 war against Pakistan. You may also visit Longowala Hall where you will see the Martyrs of Indian army and in that campus, you may see the tank and other weapons seized by Indian army from Pakistan during those two wars.
Gadisar lake: Gadisar lake is a man-made lake which was initially the prime resource of water supply to Jaisalmer city in the time of Maharaja Jaisal but now it has become a picnic spot and a boating place for tourists. You should visit this place possibly in the evening time as the photography during evening becomes amazing with the picturesque view of the place.
Besides these places, you may visit several other places like Bada Bagh, Lodurva, Salim Singh Ki Haveli, Patwa Haveli and Tanot Mata Mandir, which is about 275 kilometers from the main city of Jaisalmer.