Exploring the Golden City of India: Jaisalmer
Jaisalmer is among the popular tourist destinations in India. It has a cultural and archaeological history spanning thousands of years. Attractions & Tourist places of Jaisalmer include many exciting charms like Jaisalmer fort, Patwon ki Haweli, Kuldara Village, Desert safari and camping in Sum village to name a few. This golden city of India has seen multiple dynasties ranging from the British. Mughals and Rajputs.
It has the charm of an old city and fast pace of a growing metropolis both. It is a very well connected city with an expansive intercity and interstate transport network managed by private entities and government alike. Jaisalmer has a domestic airport and a railway station that connects it to all major cities of India such as Mumbai, Delhi, Jaipur, etc.
The climate in Jaisalmer is arid, which means the days are hot while the nights are cold. The best time to visit Jaisalmer is winter which starts from mid-October to early March. Usually, three days on average are enough to explore the best places to visit in Jaisalmer but one can also spend up to a fortnight here and still not yet tired of its surroundings. World-class hotels have their chains in the city and the tourism industry here is well established and advanced.
Jaisalmer is the site of many movie shootings and is home to many popular artists and performers like late dancer Queen Harish. While Jaisalmer Fort is an all-encompassing and imposing tourist spot that is a must, there are many hidden gems in many nooks and corners of the city. One can easily experience the richness of the city in two to days and can also spend a fortnight and not get bored of the city and all that it has to offer. While the winter season is the most ideal time to visit the city, there are scores of festivals that take place in Jaisalmer around the year.
With a history spanning thousands of years, hospitality that wins hearts, and enchanting culture, Jaisalmer is set to win your heart at first sight. One can spend their days marveling at old Jain tempers, exploring the enormous forts, or indulging in nature sightseeing at a national park, Jaisalmer has something for everyone.
Once Jaisalmer was a prosperous trading center, but today its economy is primarily depended on tourism-related industries. Hence, the hospitality and facilities about travel are easy to access. This city has a world-class hospitality sector and enriching cultural heritage that mesmerizing thousands of tourists who flock here every year.
Jaisalmer has several historic tourist places and a dozen activities to includ in your things to do in Jaisalmer. There are national parks for nature lovers, museums for those interested in history, and sports like parasailing for those looking for a kick of adrenalin. This city introduces tourists and travelers to the best of Rajasthan culture, hospitality, cuisine, and arts. This desert city situated in the Thar Desert is as vibrant and lively as you can wish for.
11 Best Places To Visit In Jaisalmer
Here are the 11 best places to visit in Jaisalmer
Jaisalmer Fort: Sonar Quila
The very first name in the list of places to visit in Jaisalmer is Jaisalmer Fort. This 800-year-old fort emits golden radiance as it glows proudly under the beautiful sun of Rajasthan. It is considered one of the few living forts of the world. It still holds around 4,000 residents. It is the second-largest fort in Rajasthan and is built on a hill that is 250 feet tall. The fort has many temples and small palaces within its premises. The fort is open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day.
The fort has three layers of walls within its premises which protects it against enemy invasion. It is suggested that you take guided tours to grasp the intricate details of Jaisalmer Fort fully. There are many big and small details that one might miss if they are not pointed by seasoned guides. Even though the fort is hundreds of years old, it still stands tall and solid. There is a great selection of shops within the fort and one can shop for gifts and souvenirs here.
This beautiful lake was built by the first ruler of Jaisalmer, Raja Rawal Jaisal. The entry fee to the lake is free. The lake is surrounded by intricate chatrris and has many important shrines within its premises. Migrator birds from Bharatpur bird sanctuary can be spotted in Gadisar Lake which adds to the beauty of the lake. The lake is among the most charming palaces to visit in Jaisalmer and is frequented by devotees, tourists, and locals alike. It is especially crowded during weekends, so it is best that you visit the lake during weekdays to avoid the crowd.
The best time to go boating is early morning or during sunsets. The lake gets open for tourists by 8 a.m. and closes at 7 p.m. Boating in this beautiful lake is an aromatic activity for couples and can also be a fun activity for a group of friends or family. For a simple two-seater paddleboat, the price is INR 100, for a four-seater peddle boat is 200, and for a six-seater rowboat, the price is INR 300.
Jaisalmer is famous for many Jain Temples that are situated within its limits. These temples are dedicated to Jain Tirthankars and are popular around the world for marvellous Dilwara style paintings. The architecture of these temples is mesmerizing. The temples are open only till noon, so it is important to start your day with them. These temples are made of yellow sandstone which is very distinctive in Jaisalmer buildings. Many of these temples were made in the 11th and 12th centuries and continue to spread joy and newness even after hundreds of years.
Lodurva Jain Temple is one of the most famous among the Jain Temples. It has great religious and historical significance. It has brilliant mirror work that seems new even after hundreds of years since the construction. Guided tours of Jain Temples frequently take place.
Sometimes tourists are not allowed in the premises when religious activities are taking place inside, so it is suggested to check whether the temples are open for public viewing or not. One can spend as long as half a day or an hour to explore these temples depending on their interest. For a more detailed travel references & information, you can checkout our Rajasthan travel guide. It can help you in Jaisalmer visiting the city and explore the best palaces and best things to do in Jaisalmer.
Desert National Park
The Desert National Park is spread across 3162 kilometers and has a rich wildlife. The endangered great Indian bustard makes this park as one the most exciting tourist palace in Jaisalmer. It is most famous for hosting migratory birds like Short-toed eagles, sand grouse, tawny eagles, etc. Despite arid conditions, flora and fauna are fascinating here. The Desert National Park has an exclusive collection of dinosaur fossils which attract many tourists. The most favourable time to visit the national park is from November to January. If you are lucky, you can also spot migratory birds in the park.
The Desert National Park’s geography looks monotonous, but it is actually very complicated. The landscape comprises of salt beds, jagged rocks, and sand dunes. The topography of the desert appears lifeless but bellow the surface it is brustling with life. There is a complex system of flora and fauna surviving in the park. The Desert National Park was founded in 1980 and is spread in Jaisalmer and Barmer. It is not safe to venture in the park by oneself and one should always get a tour guide who can show you around for safety and educational purposes.
Vyas Chhatri is a marvellous cenotaph dedicated to Hindu sage Vyas. This cenotaph is made of sandstone and is a popular sunset and picnic point. The entry fee for Vyas Chhatri is INR 100, and an additional INR 100 is charged for the camera. The venue is open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. throughout the week. The best time to visit Vyas Chhatri is at sunset as the structure glows beautifully at the fading glow of the sun.
Khaba Fort is situated thirty-three kilometers away from Jaisalmer Fort. It is a collection of well-preserved ruins such as old houses and has many ancient artifacts. Fantastic Khaba Fort is among the must-see monuments in Rajasthan. It is a wonderful tourist point for people who are interested in history and archaeology. There is also a small museum within Khaba Fort that highlights the best artifacts discovered from the Khaba Fort. The entry fee to the venue is merely INR 50 and the timings are 8 a.m to 6 p.m.
According to a legend, Khaba Fort is a cursed village which was once occupied by Paliwal Brahmins. It is unknown why they left the place. The Khaba Fort ruins show balanced urban planning, and there are many temples within its premises but strangely none of the houses has roofs on them which baffle people and experts alike. There are close to 80 houses in the Khaba Fort complex. This abandoned ghost town should be on everyone’s list whenever they pass near Jaisalmer. It takes half a day to fully explore and travel back and forth from Khaba Fort to Jaisalmer.
Jaisalmer Government Museum
The Jaisalmer Government Museum is a must-visit for everyone who is in Jaisalmer. This museum provides a crash course in the history and culture of this city. It is managed by the Department of Archaeology and Museums and is open throughout the week from 8 a.m to 6 p.m. It has the best collections of jewellery, arms and ammunition, and artefacts that best represent a Rajasthani heritage that spans over several centuries. The entry fee is between INR 50 to INR 100, and there are extra charges for the camera.
Tanot Mata Temple
Tanot Mata Temple is a religious place dedicated to Tanot Mata who is believed to be an incarnation of goddess Hinglaj Mata. The temple is situated near the Pakistan border and survived the Indo-Pak war of 1971. According to a modern legend, it was because of the temple’s divine spirit that India won the war and the temple withstood the damage of the battle. The temple is situated 122 kilometres away from Jaisalmer, and it takes close to 2 hours to go travel there. Despite the distance, Tanot Mata Temple is often brimming with tourists and devotees.
Patwaon ki Haveli
Constructed by Gulam Singh Patwa in 1805 CE, the Patwaon ki Haveli is considered to be one of the most beautiful Havelis of Rajasthan. This place is merely 500 metres away from the grand Jaisalmer Fort and 1.5 kilometres away from the Jaisalmer Railway Station. The haveli has beautiful architecture and excellent carvings. This haveli has 5 parts and closes to 60 balconies. The whole structure took 55 years for its completion. There is a museum in the building premises which displays some of the best artefacts and precious objects.
Patwaon ki Haveli is open from 8 am to 6 pm, and the tickets are priced at INR 20 for Indians and INR 100 for foreign nationals. An additional charge of INR 50 is placed for the camera. Currently, this building is maintained by the Rajasthan State Government. It has the offices of Archeological Survey of India, the Craft Department, and the Art Department. One might need close to two hours to explore the haveli fully.
Nathmal Ji Ki Haveli
Once the residence of Jaisalmer’s Prime Minister, Diwan Mohata Nathmal, this haveli is a tourist attraction today. It is a prime example of Rajput and Islamic architecture. Built by two brothers named Hathi and Lulu, the beautiful haveli has an irregular finish as it was made simultaneously and yet independently by the bothers. The fact that it withstood the test of time and did not fall also says a lot about the structure’s rigidity. The haveli is situated in the centre of the city and is open till 5 p.m.
Located at a distance of 7 kilometers, Bara Bagh is a garden complex which is made of cenotaphs or chhatris. The cenotaphs or chhatris are made in remembrance of old kings of Rajasthan. The oldest chatri is dedicated to Maharawal Jait Singh. The tradition of making chhatris at Bara Bagh was discontinued after the 20th century. The discontinuation happened because the chatri dedicated to Maharaja Jawahar Singh was left incomplete because of his son’s untimely death. Since then the making of chhatris has been marred with bad luck.
The timings to visit Bara Bagh are from 8 am to 6 pm. The ticket price for foreign tourists is INR 50 while for Indian nationals the ticket price is INR 20. The best time to visit Bara Bagh is during the golden hour when the structures glow beautifully in the golden light of the sun. The chhatris are intricately designed in Mughal, Rajput, and Paliwal style. The statue of the king accompanies some of the chhatris. The Bara Bagh also has a tank and dam. The tank is a huge structure with 1,200 feet in height and 350 ft in breadth. A tower made to commemorate the construction of the tank is also in Bara Bagh.
Things to do in Jaisalmer
In this city of 78,000 citizens, there is a lot to choose from, and one can find a diverse mix of relaxing retreat and adventure sports alike. While major tourist sports like Jaisalmer Fort or Sonar Quila, Gadisar Lake, Desert National Park, Vyas Chhatri, Jaisalmer Government Museum, Jain Temples, Nathmal Ji Ki Haveli, and Khaba Fort are one everyone’s itinerary, there are also many fascinating activities that one should experience here. The diversity of activities and events that Jaisalmer provides will have something for everyone be it kids, older people, adventure junkies, or history buffs.
Since Jaisalmer is situated in the beautiful Thar Desert, it makes it the prime place to undertake camel rides. These rides help one truly get the full taste of desert life. Camels are gentle animals, and it’s a delight to take a camel ride and enjoy the views of beautiful Jaisalmer. One can get their camel tours booked online or many ride services are can booked on the spot. Before booking your ride, make sure that you know which dunes you would be visiting. The best time to experience camel rides is sunsets as the views are prettier and the sun is not as sharp as it would be during the day.
Camping The Thar Desert is a beautiful pace with its golden sand and starry night. The best way to soak in and experience these beautiful surroundings is by taking a camping day or night in the desert. There are many luxury camping services in Jaisalmer that can be booked online with plans that span for two to five days. A regular desert camping involves born fires, traditional food, and cultural programs at night that include traditional dance and music performances.
The Thar Desert, like all arid and sandy regions in the world, goes a sharp dip in temperature at night. The desert sky, without any distractions of the shiny city skyline, makes for the best star watching experience. In the morning, the sunset that puts a light pink and golden glow on the dunes surrounding you is a marvellous sight to behold too.
Parasailing: Parasailing is a perfect and safe adventure sport to indulge in, at beautiful runways of Jaisalmer. In Parasailing the parachute is tied to a jeep which helps the person riding the parachute to glide over the plain ground. One can book their parasailing lessons online at various Jaisalmer based facilities. Make sure that your instructor is certified and their equipment is of high quality before participating in this sport.
One should not go parasailing immediately after meals and should wait at least two hours after having any food or drinks. This sport can also be taken by kids who are over the age of five. Parasailing in the desert is a unique experience, and one can ask the ride to be extreme or simple depending on one’s thirst for adventure.
Sand surfing: Also known as Dune Bashing, sand surfing is a popular adventure sport of desert regions. The dunes of Jaisalmer and advanced adventure sports sector are what makes Jaisalmer the perfect place to go sand surfing. This is a perfect sport for those who like speed and driving. Sand surfing gives a perfect adrenalin kick to those who are seeking some thrill amidst the vibrant arid geography of Rajasthan.
One can spend half their day indulging in this activity, but for those who are short on time can also book shorter one hour sessions. Some extreme levels of sand surfing are available only for licensed drivers and adults so one do your research before you sign up those particular activities.
Jeep Safari: One of the best activities to undertake in Jaisalmer is jeep safari. It is the best mix of adventure sports as well as scenic rides. This activity is best enjoyed by families and solo travelers alike. The best destinations for jeep safaris are Fossil Park and Desert National Park. Eary morning and evening time is mellow sun rays elevate the best time to go for your jeep safari ride as the beauty of the desert. During jeep safari, one should carry a scarf to cover your face against the sand. For those with sensitive skin sunscreen and a hat should be another must.
Boating at Gadisar Lake
Boating at Gadisar Lake: The best time to go boating is early morning or during sunsets. The lake gets open for tourists by 8 a.m. and closes at 7 p.m. For a simple two-seater paddleboat, the price is INR 100, for a four-seater peddle boat is 200, and for a six-seater rowboat, the price is INR 300. Made in 1400 AD by Maharawal Gadsi Singh, Gadisar boat is a refreshing spot and a top tourist destination in Jaisalmer. It is often visited by migratory birds which makes it an ideal spot for bird watching. Boating in this beautiful lake is an aromatic activity for couples and can also be a fun activity for a group of friends or family.
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