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Jaisalmer

Updated on February 26, 2010

Jaisalmer - golden city of India as it is called, is probably the next best place to visit in "incredible" India after Taj Mahal. It is also THE place for Camel safaris, Sand dunes and home to Thar desert national park

Map of Jaisalmer places of interest

Jaisalmer in photos

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Camel safari - not to be missed !Jaisalmer fortJaisalmer fort & the citySalim Singh-ki-HaveliBada BaghDesert cultural center
Camel safari - not to be missed !
Camel safari - not to be missed !
Jaisalmer fort
Jaisalmer fort
Jaisalmer fort & the city
Jaisalmer fort & the city
Salim Singh-ki-Haveli
Salim Singh-ki-Haveli
Bada Bagh
Bada Bagh
Desert cultural center
Desert cultural center

Things to do in Jaisalmer

  • Have Chai (tea), in Gandhi Chowk (this tradition is since the 18th century)
  • Visit the Jaisalmer fort, about 2-4 hours
  • Eat local Rajasthani food near the fort
  • Visit the two mesmerizing Havelis (Best Salim Singh-ki-Haveli, second Patwon-ki-Haveli)
  • Go to Khuri or Sam dunes and stay over in the desert along with the camel safari
  • Visit the Gadisagar lake along with Desert Culture Center & Museum and Folklore Museum. Do not miss the Rajasthani puppet show in Desert Culture Centre

See all the attractions on map of Jaisalmer here

Jaisalmer Fort

Golden city and the golden fort. Stones used in this fort are from Rajastan, they are very good for carving (similar to wood), dry weather in Rajastan ensures miniature carvings remain the same even after centuries. Fort was built in 11th century by ruler Jaisal. Jaisalmer remained an important point on trade route to middle east from India, and made money by taxing the travelers and goods

Audio tour on this fort is excellent ! It covers every point in the palace, but also gives overview of the city when you reach the terrace. Please ensure you do not give up, to the hundreds of guides, and keep looking for the audio tour symbol and banners

You will see some great carving work, get overview of the royal lifestyle on these forts, traditions like "Jouhar", nice photographs of residents of the fort and also photos of other such Rajahs (kings) from other parts of India

Every design on every wall on this fort is different. It is very inspirational stuff if you like shapes, designs, details. They are not many people left in Rajasthan today who can continue this tradition, and as you go from fort to older havelis to newer havelis or houses, you can see what I mean

See map of Jaisalmer fort here

Jaisalmer fort in photos

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Jaisalmer FortJaisalmer FortJaisalmer FortJaisalmer Fort and cityJain temples on the Jaisalmer fort
Jaisalmer Fort
Jaisalmer Fort
Jaisalmer Fort
Jaisalmer Fort
Jaisalmer Fort
Jaisalmer Fort
Jaisalmer Fort and city
Jaisalmer Fort and city
Jain temples on the Jaisalmer fort
Jain temples on the Jaisalmer fort

Camel safari in Jaisalmer

This is something you should not miss !

You need to book in advance so that you do not end up paying last minute rates. You can do so in Jodhpur, or even earlier as you plan your trip in advance

You can travel to Khuri or Sam Dunes. Both are almost 50-60 km from Jaisalmer town. Khuri is new spot, so less traveled and less crowded. As you travel to these places, you see the Indian army windmills, which generate power for army patrol activities. You can almost see the India-Pakistan border, see tanks and plenty of army vehicles & personnel

Sunset is marvelous from the Sand dunes ! after which you can spend time watching the local dance performances by local artists, which are really good. You also get taste of authentic local food. Overall experience is just magical !

See map of Khuri and Sam dunes, and locate your camel saferi

Camel Safari in Khuri

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Khuri dunesCamel safariCamel safariKhuri tents for overnight stayLocal performances
Khuri dunes
Khuri dunes
Camel safari
Camel safari
Camel safari
Camel safari
Khuri tents for overnight stay
Khuri tents for overnight stay
Local performances
Local performances

Jaisalmer Havelis

Jaisalmer Havelis are stone carving masterpieces. These were built by treasurers, traders who worked with the kings in Jaisalmer. Havelis are made from local stones, stones are put together in place using iron straps & locks. There is absolutely no water used to build these havelis, and the entire structure can be dismantled and rebuilt, just like a Lego toy (I am sure they will have something like that, some day)

Best is the Salim Singh ki Haveli, as here you can really go inside, take a guided tour, see the melting point of Hindu & Mughal architectural styles. There was a lot of emphasis on securing the place, people, wealth inside the Havelies, so the interior design is done that way. There are some souvenirs on sale like the variety of metal locks, lamps (coming in so many shapes and sizes). These are all worth buying. It also gives insights into the lives of the people during these times, things they values and cared for, like the miniature paintings on ceilings, details on mirrors, utensils in kitchen etc etc

If you get time, you should visit the Patwon ki Haveli (get a guide, it helps). Here every stone is carved in different design, you will get lost even if you are not into arts !

See map of all Jaisalmer Havelis

Majestic havelis in Jaisalmer

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Salim Singh-ki-HaveliSalim Singh-ki-HaveliSalim Singh-ki-HaveliPatwon-ki-HaveliPatwon-ki-Haveli
Salim Singh-ki-Haveli
Salim Singh-ki-Haveli
Salim Singh-ki-Haveli
Salim Singh-ki-Haveli
Salim Singh-ki-Haveli
Salim Singh-ki-Haveli
Patwon-ki-Haveli
Patwon-ki-Haveli
Patwon-ki-Haveli
Patwon-ki-Haveli

Rules you should follow in Jaisalmer !

  • Please do not stay on the Fort, or shop, eat, drink, use toilets on the fort ! for whatever reasons, hundreds of families stay on the fort. Jaisalmer fort is made in the desert, where kids grow upto 7 years, without seeing a drop of rain. Hence the fort is not designed to manage the flow of water & the drainage system. We need to preserve this treasure..and these are small things you can contribute
  • Camel safaris : Should you go to Khuri or Sam dunes ? Khuri is being developed as the new tourist spot, Sam dunes is being the attraction for years. Khuri is good as it is not yet so commercialized and densely populated
  • Should you stay overnight in desert : You actually do not stay in "desert desert", there are tents built in Khuri/Sam dunes, where you stay. For the price you pay to stay overnight, you are better off doing the camel safari (you spend like one hour on back of a camel to go to the sunset points and come back) and then have dinner near the tents along with some nice music & dance performances from the local artists

Things you should not miss enroute to Jaisalmer

Jaisalmer does not have commercial airport. It is 60 km from the India-Pakistan border, which is heavily guarded on both sides, and the airport is mainly used by air-force. So your nearest airport is Jodhpur, from where you travel about 3-4 hours by road to Jaisalmer. Below are things you should not miss on this nice journey. See you map of Jodhpur to Jaisalmer journey

  • Osiyan temples : These are slightly out of the way (60 km North of Jodhpur), but worth visiting. These are ancient temples, good carving on stones
  • Visit the desert villages in Khichan, to spot the migratory Kurja (Crane) birds and also visit the one and only Red haveli near Khichan
  • Eat in road side Dhabas (restaurants) for some authentic local food. Keep your camera ready all the time as you spot wild deers, and see patches of sand dunes
  • Pass through the town of Pokhran, where India conducted the nuclear tests in 1970s and 90s, sparking international attention, sanctions and almost a war with Pakistan

Jodhpur

See details on Jodhpur here

See details on other tourist destinations in India on Incredible India website here

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    • hafeezrm profile image

      hafeezrm 6 years ago from Pakistan

      Nice hub, nice picture and description.

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