The beautiful yellow sandstone monuments of Jaisalmer give it the name “The Golden City”. Situated amidst the Thar desert in the western part of Rajasthan, one can experience the true climatic variations of a desert here. The landscape is a vast expanse of golden yellow sand, marked by the turrets of the Jaisalmer fort. Also known as the Sonar Killa, it is one of the few functional forts in the world as people still reside in the massive fort. There are many Jain temples within the fort itself. These Temples are decorated with ornate carvings, idols and scriptures. Paraswanath Temple is the biggest Jain temple here. Apart from temples, the fort also boasts of many eateries, handicraft sellers and old Havelis. Patwon ki Haveli was one the first havelis constructed and is gracefully adorned with many small balconies.
A camel safari will give you the classic desert escapade. One can appreciate the rural way of living in simple huts with thatched roofs and enjoy their folk shows like puppet plays. The locals are skilled in handmade crafts like pottery, jewellery, clothes etc. These make a perfect souvenir to take back.
Other activities one can engage in is parasailing and quad biking. Ditch the regular fast food for authentic Rajasthani cuisine to get a thorough cultural experience.
Jaisalmer Fort and Maharaja Palace: The remarkable fort is called “Sonar Qila” for its walls are built of yellow sandstone. Formerly an ancient fort now it is home to over 3000 people, who have set up their shops and built houses and established museums there. It is one of the largest forts of India and must be visited by the history buffs. Maharaja Palace is a small structure situated within the Jaisalmer Fort. It is a five storeyed beautifully built structure and provides an impressive view of the city from the rooftop
Salim Singh Ki Haveli: This 300 years old Haveli is located in the old city of Jaisalmer. Its peacock structured rooftop, and the exquisite ceiling work can surely leave the tourists spellbound.
Patwon ki Haveli: It is a massive five storied structure, the intricately decorated large corridors present a beautiful view. One of the five havelis have been converted into a museum. Since it is located in the main city, visiting it would be easy and less time consuming.
Nathmal Ki Haveli: Constructed by two Muslim Jeweller brothers, this Haveli defines grandeour in true sense. The interior is filled with enchanting paintings and decorations, tourists should make it a point to visit this monument.
Kuldhara: Those who are looking for thrill in their lives should visit the ruins of this haunted city. It is said that the village was abandoned in one night, and the curse hung in the air that no one will be successful in settling down here, and it has turned out to be true. Bravehearts must gather courage and visit this peculiar place.
Khaba Fort: It contains houses of Brahmins who lived here around 200 years ago and suddenly deserted their homes and fled away under mysterious circumstances. This area too carries a spooky air and must be visited by adventure seekers.
Bada Bagh: It literally means “big garden”, and contains chattris or royal cenotaphs.
Jain Temples: They are located inside Jaisalmer Fort and are dedicated to Jain Tirthankaras. These temples are famous for their intricate designs and beautiful architecture.
Gadisar Lake built on the eastern gate of the city is Jaisalmer’s scenic spot and is also the main source of water for the city. One should take a boat ride there. Amar Sagar lake is another place of natural beauty. One can spend a relaxing evening here. Desert Safaris provide a glimpse of the vibrant rural desert life. The shadows cast on the vast expanse of sand create a magical view. One must try to catch a sunset at Vyas Chhatri, which is located at the edge of Jaisalmer Fort. Camping at Sam Sand dunes can give an out of the world experience to the tourists. Desert National Park should also be visited for its arid flora and fauna.
When at Jaisalmer one should not miss the spicy dishes from the Rajasthani cuisine. The famous Dal Baati Choorma must be tried along with Pyaz ki Kachori, Gatte ki sabzi, Lauki ke Kofte, Kicha ki sabzi. The non-vegetarians can try the lip smacking Mutton saag and Murg-e-subz. For Dessert one must have the popular Ghotua Laddoo. Makhania Lassi served in Kanchan Shree at Jaisalmer Fort is highly popular amongst the foodies.
Hire bikes or jeeps and head to Sam Sanddunes, stay overnight in the camp and enjoy the folk music, dance and other activities. One can also go for camel safari at Sam Sand dunes and enjoy the village lifestyle. Visit Longewala, where the battle between India and Pakistan took place in 1971, a destroyed Pakistani tank lying there can be of interest for the curious minds. Visit Indo-Pak border. Adventure enthusiasts should go for parasailing at Kanoi for the birds-eye view of the desert. Paramotoring is another adventure activity that tourists can enjoy. The sand dunes of the Thar Desert are perfect for bashing and off-road activities. Those interested in Art and Culture must visit Desert Culture Centre & Museum for the puppet show.
Sadar Bazar is the main market of Jaisalmer. It is popular for traditional items like mirror-work dupattas with intricate embroidery, shawls, banjara bags, kantha quilts, cushion covers, intricate gold and silver jewellery, The stones and gems encrusted in them are hand cut and that is what sets them apart. Mirror work dress materials can be bought from Bhatia Bazaar.The Bazaar is famous for its silk, souvenirs and sarees. One should stop by at Manak Chowk for buying camel skin products, leather products, wooden goods and handicrafts and textiles. Jewellry enthusiasts must visit Sonaron Ka Bas, precious and semi precious stones can be bought from here.