Founded in 1156, the city of Jaisalmer has a rich cultural history intertwined with tales of fierce battles and bloodshed. In the 13th and 14th centuries, Jaisalmer was under siege from a number of invaders that included the emperor of Delhi, Ala-ud-din Khilji. Jaisalmer’s fortunes took an upward turn between the 16th and 18th centuries because of the kingdom’s strategic location along the camel trade routes between India and central Asia.
Travellers are left awestruck when they get their first view of Jaisalmer. A magical sand castle, multi-turreted, is perched on a three-peaked hill like a shimmering mirage. A panoramic view of the Golden City makes it seem as if it were magically brought to life from a gold leaf miniature painting.
The aurum mirage that is Jaisalmer Fort is still inhabited by descendants of the maharajas’ workers, who run shops and stalls within the walls, today. There are 99 gigantic bastions that circle the winding streets, temples, and palaces carved out of yellow sandstone. Off the fort is the old city, peppered with sandstone havelis and beyond that, the undulating dunes, wind turbines, and villages of the omnipresent Thar Desert.
Jaisalmer was founded in the 12th century and its rulers patronized the fine arts and were tolerant of other religions, especially Jainism. Jaisalmer’s glory reached new heights from the 16th to the 18th century. Since Jaisalmer was situated on the trade routes that connected India with Central Asia, the local folk and merchants commissioned impressive mansions of wood and sandstone. This makes a walk through Jaisalmer a wonderful experience, where at every corner sits an architectural delight.
The best time to visit Jaisalmer is during the desert winter months. September to March is ideal for exploring the Golden City. Post-monsoon and spring is when the weather is pleasurable and you can enjoy the sights and sounds of this western Rajasthan city.
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