Jaisalmer ( ),
nicknamed "The Golden City", is a town in the Indian state of Rajasthan.
The town stands on a ridge of yellowish
sandstone, crowned by a fort, which contains the palace and several
ornate Jain temples. Many of the houses and temples are finely
sculptured. It lies in the heart of the Thar
and has a population of about 78,000. It is the
administrative headquarters of Jaisalmer District
Origin of name
Jaisalmer is named after its founder Rao Jaisal (see History
). "Jaisalmer" means "the Hill Fort of
Jaisal". Jaisalmer is also called as the Golden city of India
because the yellow sand gives a yellowish-golden touch to the city
& its surrounding area.
For the history of the region: Jaisalmer state
Jaisalmer city view
The majority of any inhabitants of Jaisalmer are Bhatti Rajputs
, who take their
name from an ancestor named Bhatti
as a warrior when the tribe were located in the Punjab. Shortly
after this the clan was driven southwards, and found a refuge in
the Indian desert, which was henceforth its home.This area was part
of Gurjar - Pratihara empire and till 11 centuary was ruled by a
King. Deoraj, a famous
prince of the Bhati family, is esteemed the real founder of the
Jaisalmer dynasty, and with him the title of rawal commenced. In
1156 Rawal Jaiswal
, the sixth in
succession from Deoraj, founded the fort and city of Jaisalmer, and
made it his capital as he moved from his former capital at Lodhruva
(which is situated about 15 km to the
north-west of Jaisalmer). In 1293, the Bhattis so enraged the
emperor Ala-ud-din Khilji
army captured and sacked the fort and city of Jaisalmer, so that
for some time it was quite deserted. Some Bhatti's migrated to
Talwandi, now Nankana Sahib in Distt. Nankana Sahib (Punjab,
Pakistan) and others settled in Larkana (in Sind, Pakistan)under
the name of Bhutto. In Nankana Sahib, the Bhatti Clan can be traced
from the lineage of Rai Bhoe and Rai Bular Bhatti. After this there
is nothing to record until the time of Rawal Sahal Singh, whose
reign marks an epoch in Bhatti history in that he acknowledged the
supremacy of the Mughal
. The Jaisalmer princes had now
arrived at the height of their power, but from this time till the
accession of Rawal Mulraj in 1762 the fortunes of the state rapidly
declined, and most of its outlying provinces were lost. In 1818
Mulraj entered into political relations with the British. Maharawal
Salivahan, born in 1887, succeeded to the chiefship in 1891.
of Jaisalmer trace their
lineage back to Jaitsimha
, a ruler of the
Bhatti Rajput clan. The major opponents of the Bhati Rajputs were
the powerful Rathor clans of Jodhpur and Bikaner.
used to fight battles for the possession of forts
. Jaisalmer was positioned strategically and
was a halting point along a traditional trade route traversed by
the camel caravans of Indian and Asian merchants. The route linked India
to Central Asia, Egypt, Arabia, Persia, Africa and the West.
Flag of the princely state of
the Islamic invasion of
, Jaisalmer escaped direct Muslim conquest due to its
geographical situation in the desert region. The Rawals of
Jaisalmer agreed to pay an annual tribute to the Delhi Sultans
. The first siege of Jaisalmer
occurred during the reign of Alauddin
. It was provoked by Bhatis' raid on a caravan filled
with treasure. According to local ballads, the Bhatis defended the
fort for seven years until the enemy army forced beached the
ramparts. Bhatis, facing certain defeat, proclaimed the rite of
. Later, Sultan Ferozshah also sieged Jaisalmer after the
rulers of Jaisalmer raided his camp at Anasagar lake near Ajmer.
siege led to another jauhar
. Jaitsimha's son
Duda perished in the attack. Duda's descendants ruled over
Jaisalmer for about two centuries. Duda's descendant Lunakarna had a fight
with Humayun when the latter passed through
Jaisalmer en route to Ajmer.
was married to one of the Jaisalmer
Jaisalmer was ruled by a noble called Sabala Simha, who won the
patronage of the Mughal emperor Shah
Jahan for services rendered in his Peshawar
Facade of a mansion in Jaisalmer
Jaisalmer was one of the last states to sign a treaty with the
British. During the British Raj
Jaisalmer was the seat of a princely
of the same name, ruled by the Bhati clan of rajputs
. The present descendant is Brijraj Singh.
Though the city is under the governance of the Government of India
, a lot of welfare
work is carried out by him and his family. The Royal Family still
commands a lot of respect from the people.
Traditionally, the main source of income was the levies on the
. However, the glory of
Jaisalmer faded when Bombay emerged as a
port and the sea trade replaced the traditional land routes.
The partition of India
lead to closing of all the trade routes on the Indo-Pak border and
rendered Jaisalmer a drought-prone desert backwater on the
international border. Ironically, skirmishes between India and
Pakistan gave Jaisalmer a strategic importance and made it
serviceable as an army supply depot. Later, the Rajasthan Canal
served to revive the surrounding desert areas. Roads and railroads
were then built, knitting the hitherto remote town with the rest of
Later, the Government of Rajasthan decided
to promote Jaisalmer as a tourist destination.
Jaisalmer has an average elevation of 229 metres
). It is situated near
the border of India and Pakistan in West Rajasthan.
The area of Jaisalmer is 5.1 km². The
maximum summer temperature is around 41.6 °C while the minimum is
25 °C. The maximum winter temperature is 23.6 °C while the minimum
is 7.9 °C. The average rainfall is 150 mm.
Jaisalmer is almost entirely a sandy waste, forming a part of the
great Indian desert. The general aspect of the area is that of an
interminable sea of sandhills, of all shapes and sizes, some rising
to a height of 150 ft. Those in the west are covered with log
bushes, those in the east with tufts of long grass. Water is
scarce, and generally brackish
; the average
depth of the wells is said to be about 250 ft. There are no
perennial streams, and only one small river, the Kakni
, which, after flowing a distance of 28 m.,
spreads over a large surface of flat ground, and forms a lake
called the Bhuj-Jhil
. The climate is dry and healthy.
Throughout Jaisalmer only raincrops, such as bajra
, motif, til
, etc., are grown; spring crops of wheat
, etc., are very
rare. Owing to the scant rainfall, irrigation
is almost unknown.
(558 km), Ahmedabad (626 km), Agra
(802 km), New
Delhi (864 km), Mumbai
Bada Bagh Panorama in the
Tourism is a major industry in Jaisalmer.
The Government of India initiated departmental exploration for oil
in 1955-56 in the Jaisalmer area. Oil India Limited's discovered
in 1988 in the Jaisalmer
basin. Also known for their fine leather messenger bags
made from wild camels native to
Musicians and dancers are also a major cultural export of Jaisalmer
to the rest of the world, Manganyar musicians played the world over
since decades, and Queen Harish, the dancing whirling desert drag
queen, certainly the most talented dancer from Rajasthan, is
touring the world extensively and features in international
is the terminus of a Broad gauge branch
railway of Indian Railways,
junctioning with the main system at Jodhpur.
Road sign to Bikaner and
Palace on Wheels
has a scheduled
stop at Jaisalmer.
India census, Jaisalmer had a population of 58,286. Males constitute 57% of the population and females 43%. Jaisalmer has an average literacy rate of 64%, higher than the national average of 59.5%: male literacy is 73%, and female literacy is 50%. In Jaisalmer, 16% of the population is under 6 years of age.
The main part of the population lead a wandering life, grazing
their flocks and herds. Large herds of camels, horned cattle, sheep
and goats are kept. The principal trade is in wool, ghee, camels,
cattle and sheep. The chief imports are grain, sugar, foreign
cloth, piece-goods. It suffered from famine in 1897, 1900 and other
years, to such an extent that it has had to incur a heavy debt for
While Jaisalmer may always have been remote, it is filled with many
artistic structures and monuments of local historical importance.
Jaisalmer's medieval mud fortress and walled township make it a
popular tourist destination. The surrounding desolate landscape
evidences a stark, austere beauty. Camel safaris through the nearby
desert dunes are popular with tourists; competition for business is
fierce. A few quiet days spent wandering around the town and the
surrounding desert can be a wonderful way of unwinding from the
chaos of larger Indian cities.
Tourist accommodation is available inside the fort itself. However,
eco-conscious tourists might consider staying outside the fort to
avoid putting additional pressure on the fort's archaic sewage
system (three of the 99 bastions have already crumbled because of
water seeping into the foundations). In the past year, there have
been hotels and residents inside the fort taking initiatives to
help with restoration and avoid displacement. Visitors may want to
check with the local hotels inside the fort and ask what they are
doing to contribute. This action could lead to tourists inside the
fort supporting expedited conservation efforts through awareness
Built in 1156 by the Bhati Rajput ruler Jaisal, it is situated on
Trikuta Hill and had been the scene of many battles. Its massive
walls are a tawny lion color
during the day, turning to a magical honey-gold as the sun sets.
The famous Indian film director Satyajit
wrote a detective novel and later turned it into a film –
Fortress) which was based on this fort. This is a living fort and
about a quarter of city's population still live inside the fort.
The main attractions inside the fort are: Raj Mahal (Royal palace
temples and the
The main havelis
in Jaisalmer are:
- Patwon-ki-Haveli: Guman
Chand Patwa (and later by his five sons), a wealthy merchant and
banker who had over three hundred trading centres from Afghanistan to China. This
ornate five-storey complex took fifty years to complete. This is
the largest, the most magnificent, and the most elaborate of
- Salim Singh-ki-Haveli: It was built by the
scheming Prime Minister Salim Singh
in 1815. It has a beautifully arched roof capped with blue cupolas and carved brackets in the form of peacocks.
- Nathmalji-ki-Haveli: Built by a Prime Minister
of princely state of Jaisalmer. Its
facade is a riot of ornamentation: flowers, birds, elephants,
soldiers, a bicycle and even a steam engine.
- Simla Haveli': this is a 500 year old building in
- Haveli Shreenath: Prime Minister House Of
Jaisalmer This beautiful 450-year-old haveli was once
inhabited by the prime minister under the maharaja. The gorgeous
archways, alluring alcoves, sizable rooms opening onto small
balconies and rich ambiance must have been grand back in the old
Shree Nath Fort Jaisalmer
: Heritage Haveli Hotel
in Jaisalmer. Shree Nath Palace is a wonderful example of an old
Rajasthani haveli, set in the golden fort of Jaisalmer.
- Mehra haveli: Built by Gopikishan Mehra, Mayor
of Jaisalmer city. He named Haveli after his grandmother Parwati
Davi Parwati Sadan
- Desert Culture Centre & Museum
- Jaisalmer Folklore Museum
- Government Museum
- Mehra Haveli
Excavated in 1367 by Rawal Gadsi Singh, it is a scenic rainwater
lake surrounded by small temples and shrines.
This is held over three days in Jan/Feb every year. This is the
best time to visit Jaisalmer to witness many performing arts like
Kalbelia dances and folk songs and music.
- Bhati, Hari Singh. 2002. ANNALS OF JAISALMER: A
Pre-Mediaeval History. Kavi Prakashan, Bikaner.
- Gahlot, Sukhvirsingh. 1992. RAJASTHAN: Historical &
Cultural. J. S. Gahlot Research Institute, Jodhpur.
- Somani, Ram Vallabh. 1993. History of Rajasthan. Jain
Pustak Mandir, Jaipur.
- Tod, James & Crooke, William. 1829. Annals &
Antiquities of 'Rajasthan or the Central and Western
Rajput States of India. 3
Vols. Reprint: Low Price Publications,
ISBN 81-85395-68-3 (set of 3 vols.)
Government of Rajasthan - Official home page
- Tourism Department of Rajasthan - Tourism Home
- Jaisalmer - The Golden City
- Jaisalmer and the Thar Desert - Photo
- Hotels in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan
- Jaisalmer city info
- Jaisalmer breeds thoughts - Creative Photographs and
Poetry at Jaisalmer
- Haveli Hotel
Safari Planner's - Desert Safari Planner's provides all kinds
of safari packages..
fulasar village near falsund 53 km from pokharan ( rajpurohit
village sidhap gotra)