Located amid the expansive Thar desert, the city is known for its rich heritage, traditions, and culture. And the exhilarating adventure sports, fascinating safaris, & camping are only few of the many things to do in Jaisalmer that add to the rich experience here.
One of the largest fortifications on the planet, Jaisalmer Fort is the only living fort in Rajasthan. Home to some 3,000 people, Jaisalmer Fort has within its walls houses and businesses, homestays and cafes and temples galore. In 2013, Jaisalmer Fort was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The fort’s center is Dussehra Chowk and towering over this square is the 11-storey palace that served as the private residence of the rulers. A part of the palace stands over Hawa Pol (Gate of Winds) and offers views of the square that was (and remains) the center of most activity within the fort.
The group of intricately carved temples within the walls of Jaisalmer Fort is yet another attraction of the city. These seven Jain temples were built between 12th and 15th centuries and are connected to each other by corridors and walkways. You will be required to take leave all your leather accessories (belts, purses, wallets) as well as your shoes before entering the temple.
Patwa ki Haveli or Patwon ki Haveli is not one but rather a cluster of five havelis. These were constructed for each of the five sons of an exceptionally rich trader who made his fortune in jewelry and brocade. These havelis have been constructed in the same sandstone as the fort. One of these havelis is out of bounds for public since it is owned privately but the other have been converted into museums.
Perhaps the youngest of the havels in Jaisalmer is Nathmal ki Haveli. The haveli served as the residence of the prime minister of Jaisalmer has some exquisite carvings on the outside and some beautiful paintings on the inside. The first floor is particularly beautiful with paintings that have used a kilo and a half of gold leaf.
Bada Bagh is a cenotaph garden is about six km away from Jaisalmer but one that has to be seen to be believed. The garden stands at the foot of a hill and the several chattris or cenotaphs stand in memory of the late rulers of Jaisalmer. Note that there are no bodies here and the tombs are empty. Don’t expect Bada Bagh to be a well-maintained garden but do expect a great deal of peace and quiet because this is not necessarily on the list of most itineraries.
Gadisar Lake or Gadsisar Lake is named after Gadsi Singh and is an artificial reservoir that, until 1965, was the only source of water supply to the city. The banks of Gadisar Lake are dotted by several small temples and shrines that make a visit to this place even more attractive. Take a boat ride in the lake and feed the several catfish or simply sit by the banks and watch the waterfowls that migrate here during the winters.
Camel safari is one of those must-try experiences and Jaisalmer is one of the few places in the country that offers it. (Besides Jaisalmer, Bikaner and Osian are two other places where you can go on a camel safari in Rajasthan. The alpine desert in Ladakh and in the Nubra Valley is yet another popular location for camel safaris.)