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Home :: Rajasthan Forts and Palaces :: Jaisalmer Fort

Jaisalmer Fort


General Overview

jaisalmer fortThe Jaisalmer fort was built on the triangular shaped Trikuta hill, 76 m above the town in the 17th century. It is enclosed by a 9m wall with 99 bastions. Within this Rajput fort is a series of palaces, the product of successive generations of rulers.

Jaisalmer Fort is a monument worth visiting and worth retaining in your conscious mind. Like various other cities of Rajasthan, in Jaisalmer too you will find different facets of its own glorious heritage. Though you can find historical monuments scattered all over the city, the Jaisalmer Fort will immediately command your attention. Made of sand stones and locally known as Sonar Quila, the Jaisalmer Fort is a dominating structure amidst sands.

The city is said to be founded by one Raja Rawal Jaisal, a Bhatti Rajput ruler, in approximately 1156 A D. Legends go by that he did it on the behest of a local hermit named Eesaal. The raja choose Trikuta hill as the new site for his fort as his earlier adobe at Luderwa(16 k.m from present Jaisalmer) was too vulnerable to his comfort. But it should always be kept in mind that these legends are most of the time product of conscious minds that are very vulnerable to the oriental exaggeration.

Jaisalmer fort is the second oldest in Rajasthan. Two hundred and fifty feet tall and reinforced by imposing crenellated sandstone wall 30 feet high; it has 99 bastions, 92 of which were built between 1633 and 1647. Wells within the fort still provide a regular source of water. Even today, you will find that nearly one fourth of the old city's population resides within the fort. If you are a student of cross-cultural merging, the subtle fusion of Rajput and Islamic architectural styles, visible in this fort, will catch your fancy. Ganesh Pol, Akshya Pol, Suraj Pol and Hawa Pol are a must see.
North India Manali Hill Station

Palaces of the Maharawals

Also, in front of the Chauhata Square lie the palaces of the Maharawals. Leading up to them is a flight of marble steps topped by the Maharawal’s marble throne. Nearby lies the five-storeyed Tazia (metal) Tower, with ornate architecture and Bengali-style roofs. The five-tiered structure was constructed by Muslim craftsmen who worked on the building. The outer defences of the citadel are fortified by a Norther high wall with a pathway running parallel to the first rampart. Beyond the entrance is the Ganesh Pol, leading up to the Rang Pol.

There was a time when everyone lived inside the fort itself, protected by its massive ramparts. As the population of Jaisalmer expanded, people started emigrating from within the fort’s precincts from about the 17th century. However, even today the fort is a hive of activity, and you’ll witness a cross-section of the populace living within it as you travel through its winding streets and alleys.

Installation of a unique device

The fort also has a peculiar gadget hoisted on top of its ramparts. Since Met departments were in short supply in those days, this was used to forecast the weather. Every year in April a flag would be placed in its centre and, based on the direction in which it blew, the weather for the entire year was forecast. If it blew northwards it indicated famine, and if it went westwards Ho the citizenry could rest assured that a fine monsoon was in the offing. May seem a bit primitive today but the system was probably just as accurate or inaccurate as the Met office nowadays.

Jaisalmer Fort -- A Marvel Built in Sandstone

Just as the Taj in Agra is worth visiting on a full moon night, Jaisalmer fort by nightfall is a sight to behold, it has all the romance and suspense of a Hitchcockian mystery. You half expect an invading army to march up to the castle, over its enormous paved flagstones, while those defending the fort shoot missiles at them from the ramparts. Suffice to say the Jaisalmer fort is one of the marvels of Rajasthani architecture, particularly of the stone-carver’s art.

Fact File :

Area: 38,401 sq. Kilometers
Population: 5 Lacks 8000 aprox.
Location: Jaisalmer is situated in the western Rajasthan amid Thar Desert.
Climate of Jaisalmer: Summer 42 °C to 25°C, Winter 24 °C to 7 °C
Best time to visit : October to March
Nearest Railway Station : Jaisalmer Junction
Nearest Airport : Jodhpur

Distance from Major Cities
Jaipur-558 Kilometers
Delhi-864 Kilometers
Ahmedabad-626 Kilometers
Mumbai-1177 Kilometers
Jodhpur- 300 Kilometers
North India Manali Hill Station

How to Reach
Jaisalmer is situated in the very heart of Rajasthan and a popular tourist destination therefore it is well connected to the rest of India and Rajasthan with airways, railways as well as roadways.

Airways
Though Jaisalmer is not directly connected to Airways as such, Jodhpur airport is 300 Km away. Jodhpur is connected to all the major metros of India by government owned as well as private airlines. From Jodhpur you can hire Cabs or take a train journey according to your wish and preference.

Railways
Jaisalmer is connected to major cities of India through broad gauge as well as meter gauge railway tracks. Direct trains from Jaisalmer are available to Jodhpur as well as Delhi. Jaisalmer is connected through both 'Broad gauge' as well as 'Meter gauge' tracks. You can also travel to Jaisalmer by Palace on Wheels.

Roadways
Jaisalmer is well connected to the rest of state by well-maintained roads. Due to its proximity to Indo-Pak boarder, special emphasis is given on its maintenance. Deluxe & Ordinary buses of Rajasthan Roadways & Private companies operate form Jaisalmer to Jodhpur, Jaipur, Bikaner, Barmer, Mount Abu, Jalore, Ahemdabad etc, Roadways main bus stand opposite Railway station & Golden bus terminal near State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur, Shiv road, Jaisalmer are the two major bus stands.

Local transportation
General transportation in Jaisalmer consists of auto rickshaw and bicycles because these are good means to get around. Auto rickshaw is a cheap mode of transportation but drivers might not be friendly all the times. It is recommended to take rickshaw when you take congested roads in order to avoid bottlenecks.


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