Sam Sand Dunes, Jaisalmer

Sam Sand Dunes, 42 away km from Jaisalmer, is the most popular excursion to see the total sandy bush less desert. It has a truly glorious stretch of sweeping sand dunes. It is best to be here at sunrise or sunset, and many camel safaris spend a night at the dunes. The best way to see this and other sites around Jaisalmer is to take a came safari. The standard trip lasts for 4 days and three nights, and offers the opportunity to explore the area in authentic and leisurely fashion, with entertainment by folk performers, visits to villages, and chatter from colourful guides thrown in. However you can also day trip and go by car. Hordes of tourist arrive just before sun set. Camels can be hired easily and you may be able your favourite picture with a lone camel on a desert track and the setting sun in the backdrop. Despite the tourist throng the place has not lost it magic. The desert festival held sometimes in February each year is a big draw and it is full of fun, colour and laughter, cultural events and competitions.

There is no point coming to the Thar Desert if you don’t go for the Desert Safari. That is why Sam sand dunes are becoming the major attraction in Jaisalmer. This is the closest place from where you can lose yourself in ‘the Great Thar Desert’. Sam has a truly magnificent stretch of sweeping dunes, with sparse or no vegetation. The best way to get here, of course, is on camelback.

Salim Singh Ki Haveli, Jaisalmer

The Salim-Singh-ki-Haveli, at the eastern end of the city, is a magnificent edifice that, like a wild flower, blossoms at the top. The haveli has the most astoundingly superb craftsmanship. The two upper storeys, called Rang Mahal and Kanch Mahal, had to be demolished to prevent a possible collapse. However, some historians opine that the Rawal saw through Salim Singh’s scheme to rival the glory of the fort. Whatever may be the case, even the surviving structure has unsurpassed splendor. Particularly noteworthy are the rows of peacocks below the jharokhas (projected arched balconies).

Patwaon Ki Haveli, Jaisalmer

Location: In a narrow lane near Patwa Complex
How to reach: Take a rickshaw, better if you walk the distance
Attraction: Architecture and miniatures, balconies
Timings: Early morning till 5 P.M.

The Patwon Ji ki Haveli is an interesting piece of Architecture and is the most important among the havelis in Jaisalmer. This is precisely because of two things, first that it was the first haveli erected in Jaisalmer and second, that it is not a single haveli but a cluster of 5 small havelis. The first among these havelis was commissioned and constructed in the year 1805 by Guman Chand Patwa and is the biggest and the most ostentatious. It is believed that Patwa was a rich man and was a renowned trader of his time. He could afford and thus ordered the construction of separate stories for each of his 5 sons. These were completed in the span of 50 years. All five houses were constructed in the first 60 years of the 19th century.

The havelis are also known as the ‘mansion of brocade merchants’. This name has been given probably because the family dealt in threads of gold and silver used in embroidering dresses. However, there are theories, which claim that these traders made considerable amount of money in Opium smuggling and Money-lending.

This is the largest Haveli in Jaisalmer and stands in a narrow lane. This haveli is presently occupied by the government, which uses it for various purposes. The office of the Archeological Survey of India and State art and craft department is situated in the haveli itself.

Nevertheless, even after these encroachments and abuse you can find a good amount of paintings and mirror-works on the wall. The other important aspects are its gateways and arches. You will notice individual depictions and theme on each and every arch. Although the whole building is made yellow sandstone, the main gateway of the Patwon Ji ki Haveli is in brown color.

Ossian, near Jodhpur

65 Kms from Jodhpur, lies ruins of an ancient city called Ossian. This city is famous for Brahmanical and Jain temples, which belong to 8th and 11th century. Surya or Sun temple and the Sachiya temples are famous for their beauty. The shikhar of Sachiya temple is clustered by two rows of turrets, an ambulatory and a large assembly hall with an elaborate ceiling. This town which was once a great trading centre is an oasis and houses an abundance of peacocks. The largest of the 16 Jain and Brahmanical temples is dedicated to Mahavira, the last of the Jain tirthankars. In the same area the Surya temple has fascinating images of Durga, Surya and Ganesh. The sculptural intricacy of the Osian temples rival that of any of the famous temples of the country, be it the Sun Temple of Konark, or the Hoysala temples of Karnataka.

Nathmal Ji Ki Haveli, Jaisalmer

Location: In the heart of Jaisalmer
How to Reach: Take a rickshaw or just walk the distance
Attraction: Architecture and miniature
Timings: Early morning till 5 P.M.

Nathmal Ji ki haveli was commissioned to serve as the residence of Diwan Mohata Nathmal, the then Prime Minister of Jaisalmer. Maharawal Beri Sal commissioned the construction of this Haveli. The architects of this haveli were Hathi and Lulu who happened to be brothers. There is a very interesting story regarding its construction. It is said that the two brothers started building different facets of haveli simultaneously. In those days there were no such instruments, which could keep a track on continuity and thus when this building came up finally it had irregular shape.

Barring that, this haveli is still considered the best in Jaisalmer in terms of grandeur. There are other minute details worth appreciation. For example there are two Elephants made of yellow stone. These life-size replicas have been put in front of the main entrance so that it looks as if they are guarding the Haveli. Other than these, there are pictures engraved on pillars and walls. These consist of Horses, Cattle, and depiction of Flora among other things. But the most interesting aspect of this haveli is the drawing of modern amenities such as cars, fans etc. It is said and believed that the Architect brothers dint see these things ever in their life and engraved it with mere help of their descriptions given by people who had seen it.

Thus the architecture present in this haveli is quite different from the one popular in other parts of Jaisalmer. The workmanship of Jaisalmer havelis is an amalgam of both Rajput architecture as well as Islamic art that was imported via the traders’ caravan through the desert.

Jaisalmer Fort, Jaisalmer

Location: In the very heart of Jaisalmer
How to reach: Better to take an auto-rickshaw or a rickshaw
Attraction: Architecture, miniatures and Bazaars
Timings: Early morning till 5 P.M.

Jaisalmer Fort is one of the largest forts in the world. It is situated in Jaisalmer city in the Indian state of Rajasthan. It was built in 1156 AD by the Bhati Rajput ruler Rawal Jaisal, from where it derives its name. The fort stands proudly amidst the golden stretches of the great Thar Desert, on Trikuta Hill, and has been the scene of many battles. Its massive yellow sandstone walls are a tawny lion color during the day, fading to honey-gold as the sun sets, thereby camouflaging the fort in the yellow desert. For this reason, it is also known as the “Golden Fort”.

Jaisalmer Fort is a monument worth visiting and worth retaining in your conscious mind. Like various other cities of Rajasthan, in Jaisalmer too you will find different facets of its own glorious heritage. Though you can find historical monuments scattered all over the city, the Jaisalmer Fort will immediately command your attention. Made of sand stones and locally known as Sonar Quila, the Jaisalmer Fort is a dominating structure amidst sands.

The city is said to be founded by one Raja Rawal Jaisal, a Bhatti Rajput ruler, in approximately 1156 A D. Legends go by that he did it on the behest of a local hermit named Eesaal. The raja choose Trikuta hill as the new site for his fort as his earlier adobe at Luderwa(16 k.m from present Jaisalmer) was too vulnerable to his comfort. But it should always be kept in mind that these legends are most of the time product of conscious minds that are very vulnerable to the oriental exaggeration.

Jaisalmer fort is the second oldest in Rajasthan. Two hundred and fifty feet tall and reinforced by imposing crenellated sandstone wall 30 feet high; it has 99 bastions, 92 of which were built between 1633 and 1647. Wells within the fort still provide a regular source of water. Even today, you will find that nearly one fourth of the old city’s population resides within the fort. If you are a student of cross-cultural merging, the subtle fusion of Rajput and Islamic architectural styles, visible in this fort, will catch your fancy. Ganesh Pol, Akshya Pol, Suraj Pol and Hawa Pol are a must see. Fort have 4 gate first is Akshya pol, second Surya pol, third is ganesh pol and last is hava pol. (pol means gate ) you can not see a gate from another is locate in turn because kings time they use elephant to break the gate so when elephant turn he lose his power and unable to break.

The fort has five palaces called Sarvottam Vilas, Akhai Vilas, Gaj Mahal, Rang Mahal and Moti Mahal, all interconnected behind the seven-storied façade. The Rang Mahal, built by Mool Raj II, has some exquisite murals painted on arches and spandrels. From the balconies one can get a terrific view of the mammoth ramparts guarding the small city. Balconies at the Gaj Mahal are also breathtakingly beautiful.

 Maharaja’s Palace

Fort has seperate residential area for Maharaja (the King) & Maharani (the Queen). Maharaja palace has bed room, a room with throne, a open area where king sits with his cabinet, a museum having dresses, beds, swords etc. You can see a dreess worn by one of the king who was 7.5 feet height & 4 feet width.

 Jain Temples

Location: In the Jaisalmer Fort

How to reach: Take a rickshaw or share an auto rickshaw

Attraction: Dilwara style paintings, Architecture
Timings: Early morning till 12 noon

The antiquity of these temples is reflected from the architecture of the temples. Jain Temples situated in the Jaisalmer Fort are a must visit site in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan. You will find these temples to be very old and high pilgrimage as well as archeological value attached to them. These are a group of Jain temples dating back 12th and 15th centuries and are dedicated to various Jain Tirthankars (Hermits). On the walls of the temples, you can find animal & human figures, carved in famous Dilwara style.

The Jain temples in the Jaisalmer Fort are dedicated to Rikhabdevji and Shambhavdev Ji, the famous Jain hermits known as ‘Tirthankars’. Like all other structures in Jaisalmer, these temples are craved of yellow sandstones. The beautifully carves decorations on the wall will give you divine peace. The Astapadhi Temples that are situated in the same complex are a must visit too.

The temple complex is open through out the morning till 12noon, for the visitors. So try to get up a bit early or you might miss this splendor. The campus also contain Gyan Bhandar library. Well if you are a student of comparative archeology or otherwise, the library will prove to be a good place to prowl as it contains some of the rare manuscripts available in India.

This tirtha is situated in the fort on the hill adjoining Jaisalmer town that is a distance of 140 miles from Jodhpur in Rajasthan. Here in the temple we have an idol of MULANAYAKA Shri Chintamani Parshvanath Bhagavan. It is white in complexion, about 150 cms in height and in Padmasana posture. There was a time when the town had many wealthy Jain Saravakas in it. A beauty that will make us spell-bound is found in the Jain architectures of Jaisalmer. Architects have not left any space on any stone on which art carved on it cannot be shown. Again, the yellow stone of this area is very hard and carving art on it is no small a matter.

In the whole country, Jaisalmer is the only place in which artistry is visible not only in temples but also in balconies and porticos of houses in all subtlely. There are about seven thousand Jina idols over here, seven libraries with rare palm-leaf manuscripts; there are eighteen Upashrayas. The idol of Shri Chintamani Parshvanath Bhagavan is simply majestic. At the entrance door there are hundreds of art-pieces on the two attractive pillars; there are inner apartments, Gudhamandapas, festival pandals and Bhamati in which there are Shrungarachowkis of 51 Shrines. In the Gabharas there is an anointed idol of MULANAYAKA Bhagavan. The unique and majestic idols of period earlier that the 14th century are uniquely artistic. On the second day of the bright half of falguna in V.S. 1263, there was a fall down of the idol and it was shifted, brought here and ceremoniously installed. There are references of installations in V.S. 1459 and 1473, as well.

Gadi Sagar Lake, Jaisalmer

Gadi Sagar, a man made reservoir built in 1156 AD, is one of the most favorite tourist attraction in Jaisalmer. It was originally constructed by the King Jaisal and later it was reconstructed by Maharaja Garsi Singh in 1367 AD, making a new name ‘Lake Garsisar’. During the Rajput clan period, it was the only resource for the drinking water in Jaisalmer.
The lake is marvelously placed in a picturesque surroundings and an imposing sandstone entrance known as Tilon-ki-Pol opens to the lake. A grand Krishna temple is also placed at the gate. The banks of the Gadi Sagar enclose superbly maintained gardens, temples and majestically carved Chattris.
During the imposing festivities of Gangaur festival, the Gadi Sagar livens up with illuminations and the eye catching processions. This lake is a stopover for many migratory birds on their way to lakes in Kerala. The tourists can enjoy the exciting boating in this lake.