Travellers are left spellbound when they get their first view of Jaisalmer, and rightfully so. A fantastical sand castle, multi-turreted, sits 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 city’s history is intertwined with desert grandeur and ancient trade routes.
The 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.
We picked out a handful of breath-taking places to visit in Jaisalmer while exploring the Golden City of western Rajasthan.