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Jaisalmer :: City Information

Jaisalmer - weather

Best Travel Duration

In Summer: 41.6 C (Max) - 25 C (Min)
In winter: 23.6 C (Max) - 7.9 C (Min)
Rainy Season from July to Mid Sept, and very humid (upto 90%)

November to March

History of Jaisalmer

The city has an interesting legend associated with it, according to which, Lord Krishna-the head of the Yadav Clan, foretold Arjuna that a remote descendent of the Yadav Clan would built his kingdom atop the Trikuta Hill. His prophecy was fulfilled in 1156 A.D. when Rawal Jaisal, a descendent of the Yadav Clan and a Bhatti Rajput,abandoned his fort at Lodurva and founded a new capital - Jaisalmer,perched on the Trikuta Hill.

History of Jaisalmer

The 'Golden City' of Jaisalmer was founded in the year 1156 by a Bhatti Rajput prime Jaisala named the city from the vulnerable former capital of Lodhruva, 15 kms to the south-east. After he sought counsel of a hermit who lived in a cave near aspring on top of a rocky hill. The sucession of Maharajas of Jaisalmer trace their lineage back to the ruler of Bhatti Rajput Clan Jailasimha.
The History of Jaisalmer is as turbulant as the character of its bandit chiefs would lead one to expect. Ferociously independent, inordinately proud of a tenuous "divine" lineage; brave, even foolhardy in battle and often treacherous as allies, the Bhatti Rajputs were the most feared of all desert marauders. When they were on the rampage, the gates of neighboring fortresses were closed and the cowering citizens barred their doors and windows against these "wolf-packs of the wastes." Their major opponents were the powerful Rather clans of Jodhpur and Bikaner and endless ding-dong battles were waged for the possession of a petty fort,or meager waterhole. Cattle-stealing was a major pass time, along with falconry and the hunt.The source of income was the forced levies on the great caravans that traveled the ancient Spice Route on their way to imperial Delhi.

With the coming of the Muslims in the 13th and 14th centuries, the nature of the conflicts changed. The new enemy was not given to playing , if games according to a chivalri if bizarre, a code of conduct. The outsiders were here to found an empire and to propound Islam, a fanatically held faith. However, since Jaisalmer was situated deep in the desert, it escaped direct Muslim conquest. The Rawals, as the rulers were styled, agreed to pay an annual tribute to the Delhi Sultans in order to preserve a circumscribed independence.

Unfortunately, the Bhatti rulers could not always control their unruly vassal chiefs. The dire prophesy of Eesul, that the fort would be sacked, came about by their own rash actions.

The sieges of Jaisalmer are the subject of traditional ballads about Bhatti heroes. They are still sung at fairs and festivals by the hereditary bards, the bhaals and carans, and are the only record of the clan in medieval times. Although elaborately embellished with fabulous deeds of valor, they form the oral history of the period and have been an inspiration to the people during difficult times.According to the ballads, the first siege occurred during the reign of Allaud-din Khilji (1295 A.D.-1315 A.D.), provoked by a foolhardy raid on the royal baggage caravan. For seven long years, the besieging army tried to starve out the defenders. Finally, the breached the ramparts, and the Bhattis, yet facing certain defeat, proclaimed the terrible rite of johar. Once the women and children had perished by sword or fire, the men, clad in ceremonial saffron and opium-intoxicated, opened the gates and rushed out to meet a heroic death.

The second sack followed a daring raid on Sultan Ferozeshah's camp at Anasagar Lake, near Ajmer. Jaisalmer was once again overrun and the dread johar repeated.

The Jaisalmer rulers lined their coffers with illicit games won through cattle rustling and by more orthodox methods. religion and the fine arts flourished the rulers of Jaisalmer, and altough professing, Hinduism they were tolerent of Jainism, encouraging the construction of the beautiful temples which now grace the old city within the fort walls. Sculptural depictions of both Hindu and Jain deities and holy men stand side by side on the walls of these fine e fices. The visionary rulers commission scholars to copy precious sacred manuscri and books of ancient learning which m otherwise have been lost during Musli raids.

Jaisalmer's strategic position on the ca train routes between India and central As brought it great wealth. The merchants a townspeople built magnificent houses mansions, all exquisitely carved from wo and from golden-yellow sandstone. The havelis can be found elsewhere in Rajasth (notably in Shekhawati), but nowhere they quite as exotic as in Jaisalmer. Even t humblest of shops and houses displa something of the Rajput love of the deco tive arts in its most whimsical form. It likely to remain that way too, since the ci planners are keen to ensure that all ne buildings blend in with the old.

The rise of shipping trade and the port Bombay saw the decline of Jaisalmer. Independence, partition and the cutting the trade routes through Pakistan seeniingi sealed the city's fate, and water shortag could have meant its death sentence. Ho ever, the 1965 and 1971 Indo-Pakistan war revealed Jaisalmer's strategic importance and the Indira Gandhi Canal to the north is beginning to restore life to the desert.

Fairs & Festivals at Jaisalmer

Desert Fair

About the Fair

Jaisalmer exercise immense charm, but with the staging of the annual Desert Festival (January - February), it has also become one of the more important events on the annual calendar. Essentially, it is a showcase of the performing arts of the region on the stretching sands around this desert citadel. A number of amusing turban tying competitions and camel races.

Activities

The perfect time to visit the golden city is during the Desert Festival, held in Jan/Feb. every year, when the city reverberates to the sound of melodious tunes and rhythms. Folk dances, exciting competitions an contests, especially the turban-tying contest. Mr. Desert contest and camel races enliven the festivities. Colorful craft bazaars are set up for the occasion and a sound and light spectacle is organized wit folk artists performing against the splendid backdrop of the famous Sam sand dunes on the full moon night. Surely a not-to-be missed event.

Picture Gallary

Description: http://indiatravelbase.com/city_info/images/camel_race.gif Description: http://indiatravelbase.com/city_info/images/desert_festival.gif

Camel Race

Folk Dance

(Click on the image for larger view)

Places to Visit at Jaisalmer

Jaisalmer Fort

Description: Jaisalmer Fort

The golden hued fort is a sentinel to the bleak desertscape from its 80 metre high perch on the hill, housing the entire township within its ramparts. It has an enchanting cow-web of narrow lanes dotted with some lovely havelis, three beautifully sculptured Jain Temples of the 12th-15th century A.D. and five interconnected palaces.The fort is approached through four gateways-Akhaiyal Ganesh Pol Suraj Pol and Hava Pol.

Patwon -ki-Haveli

Description: Patwon -ki-Haveli

The most elaborate and magnificent of all the Jaisalmer havelis. It has exquisitely carved pillars and extensive corridors and chambers.One of the apartments of this five storey high haveli is painted with beautiful murals.

Gadsisar Lake

Description: Gadsisar Lake

A scenic rain water lake with numerous beautiful shrines around and a spectacular avian variety. The lake is an idyllic spot for outings.

Jain Temple

Description: Jain Temple

The fort has three exquisitely carved jain temples dedicated to the Jain Tirthankars-Rishabhdev,Sambhavnath and Paraswanath.Gyan Bhandar or Library: Some of the oldest manuscripts of India are found in this library established as a part of Jain temples.

Nathmalji ki Haveli

Description: Nathmalji ki Haveli

This haveli was built in late 19th century with elaborate architecture a display of sheer craftsmanship. The left and right wings of the mansion, which were carved by two brothers are not the same but very similar and balanced in design. The interior walls are elaborate with wonderful small paintings.

Salim Singh ki Haveli

Description: Salim Singh ki Haveli

This is a 300-year-old haveli of Jaisalmer’s Prime Minister Salim Singh. It has beautiful carved brackets in the form of peacocks. This amazing mansion in yellow stone is covered with intricate carvings and has an elaborate balcony on the top storey.

Sam Sand Dunes

Description: Sam Sand Dunes

No trip to Jaisalmer is complete without a trip to the most picturesque dunes of Sam situated 42km from Jaisalmer. The waves on the wind -caressed dunes, that create a charming mirage, are surely a delight for a trigger -happy photographer

Khuri

Description: Khuri

Khuri is situated 40 km southwest of Jaisalmer out in the desert near Pakistan border. It is a peaceful area with houses of mud.

How To Get To Jaisalmer

By Air :

 

Flights are not the best way to reach Jaisalmer. Jodhpur is the nearest airport at a distance of 500 km. Indian Airlines has a twice-weekly service to Jodhpur from Delhi.

By Rail:

From Jodhpur there is a direct train to Jaisalmer for overnight journey, except on Wednesday. The journey takes approximately ten hours. The Palace on Wheels is the most luxurious way to travel to Jaisalmer, recreating within the coaches the ambience of the legendary palace comforts. Advance reservation required.

By Road:

 

Jaisalmer is 897 kilometers from Delhi; 638 kilometers from Jaipur; 285 kilometers from Jodhpur; 500 kilometers from Ajmer, and 330 kilometers from Bikaner. Most of these places are connected to Jaisalmer by National Highway No 15.