Jaisalmer traces its inception to the 12th century. History tells us of Rawal Jaisal, the eldest heir of the Rawal of Deoraj, was passed over for the throne of Lodurva and a younger half-brother was crowned king. Rawal Jaisal went looking for a new location to set up his capital when he came across sage Eesul. The sage told him about Krishna’s prophecy which said that a descendant of his Yaduvanshi clan would found a new kingdom at this same spot. It was in 1156 that Rawal Jaisal constructed a mud fort, named it Jaisalmer after himself and declared it his capital.
This ‘Golden City’ is located close to the Pakistan border and in close proximity to the Thar Desert. The city’s most prominent landmark is the Jaisalmer Fort, also called Sonar Qila (Golden Fort). Unlike most other forts in India, Jaisalmer Fort is not just a tourist attraction. It houses shops, hotels and ancient havelis (homes) where generations continue to live.
Jaisalmer is carpeted with golden sand and almost every house is built with the yellow Jaisalmer stone thus, making it the ‘Golden City’. The city still exudes an age-old aura of valor and royalty. Bold Rajasthani attires and the golden landscape of the city form a distinctive contrast. Jaisalmer literally meaning ‘the Hill Fort of Jaisal’ is a destination where camels are seen in abundance, an iconic hill-fort stands above the city with imposing walls where the best examples of par-brilliance inscriptions are found. Jaisalmer has come a long way from being an important town along the ancient camel-train route that ran through India and Central Asia to being one of the largest towns of Rajasthan and a popular destination among tourists.
It is adjoining the famous Thar Desert. The village of Sam provides opportunity to enjoy the sand dunes, camel safaris, jeep safaris and paragliding in the desert.
HOW TO REACH JAISALMER
BY PLANE (VIA JODHPUR AIRPORT, IATA CODE: JDH)
Currently there are no direct civilian flights to Jaisalmer (except chartered flights). The nearest airport is Jodhpur which has direct flights from New Delhi. From Jodhpur, one can hire a taxi; the journey time by road is 4-5 hours. One can also take a train from Jodhpur to Jaisalmer.
Jaisalmer is connected by bus to all major cities in Rajasthan. There are Volvo buses also available which are considered to be relatively more comfortable. You can check availability of buses and book tickets at redbus.in
Jaisalmer is well connected with a wide network of trains covering most of the Indian cities like Delhi, Jodhpur, Jaipur and others. Some of the popular trains are Delhi Jaisalmer Express, Jodhpur Jaisalmer Express, Howrah Jaisalmer Express and Lalgarh Jaisalmer Special. You can check which trains go to Varanasi and find availability of seats at irctc.co.in
GETTING AROUND IN JAISALMER
Jaisalmer does not have Uber or Ola as yet. Private taxis and autos are available to take you anywhere. When arriving in the city, you can book a cab in advance or hire one right from the station/ bus stand.
Within the city, autos are a fast and econonomical way to travel. If you are traveling to Jaisalmer during the hot season, an AC cab might be a better option.
WHERE TO STAY IN JAISALMER
Jaisalmer has something for every budget. The royal city has hotels to make you feel like royalty, as well as budget options for the backpacker. Below are some of the carefully selected list of stay options for each budget, both inside the fort and in the city.
BEST JAISALMER HOTELS AND APARTMENTS
Suryagarh Jaisalmer. Check rates and availability!
WelcomHeritage Mohangarh Fort. Check rates and availability!
Jaisalmer Mariott Resort and Spa. Check rates and availability!
Killa Bhawan. Check rates and availability!
1st Gate Home Fusion. Check rates and availability!
The Gulaal. Check rates and availability!
Casa De Kaku. Check rates and availability!
Garh Meera. Check rates and availability!
Wanderlust Guest House. Check rates and availability!
Hotel Heritage House. Check rates and availability!
Hotel Garh Jaisal Haveli. Check rates and availability!
Hotel Swan Haveli. Check rates and availability!
BEST JAISALMER HOSTELS
Jaisalmer Hostel Crowd. Check prices and availability!
Wonbin Safari Jaisalmer. Check rates and availability!
Moustache Jaisalmer. Check rates and availability!
BEST TIME TO VISIT
The best time to visit is November to March which are considered winter season.
PLACES TO VISIT IN JAISALMER
Though there are many tourist attractions in and around Jaisalmer, some of the most notable ones are
- Jaisalmer fort
- Jaisalmer fort palace museum
- Jain temples inside the fort
- Patwaon ki haveli
- Gadisar lake
- Bada bagh
- Sam sand dunes
OTHER JAISALMER TIPS
At Jaisalmer fort, a lot of guides might pester you to avail their services. A polite NO with a namastey usually suffices to refuse in case you want to walk by yourself in and around the fort
SAMPLE JAISALMER ITINERARY
A destination like Jaisalmer which is at the far end near the India-Pakistan border deserves to be enjoyed at ease. However if you are like most travelers arriving into Jaisalmer around afternoon and are looking to enjoy in the shortest possible time, you can cover most of it in 2 days.
DAY 1, ARRIVAL
02:00 pm – Arrive at hotel
02:15 pm – Check-in, rest
03:30 pm – Head to Bada Bagh
05:00 pm – Head to Gadisar lake; enjoy sunset there
07:00 pm – Head to Desert Boy’s Dhani for dinner
08:30 pm – Back to Hotel
(If you are planning to stay in one of the camps at Sam Dunes tonight, you can check-out from hotel after breakfast).
07:00 am – Breakfast at hotel
7:30 AM – Head to Jaisalmer fort and walk around. Also visit the Jain temples and Jaisalmer fort palace museum inside the fort
11:30 AM – walk over to Patwaon ki haveli
1:00 PM – walk over to Jaisal Italy for lunch
2:30 PM – Head back to hotel for short rest
4:00 PM – pick up for Desert Safari
5:00 PM – Desert Safari, Camel ride, Sunset at Sam Dunes
7:00 PM – Head to Cafe da Kaku for dinner
08:30 pm – Back to Hotel
DAY 3 DEPARTURE
09:00 am – Pack up
10:00 am – Relaxed Breakfast
11:00 am – Check out
11:15 am – Leave for Jodhpur/ Station