Jaisalmer “The Golden City”, is a significant and one of the best tourist destinations in Rajasthan. It is known as the golden city because of the golden hills, houses, Havelis, and forts clad in golden sandstone. Jaisalmer is a popular tourist place where one of the largest forts in the world “Jaisalmer Fort” is dwelled like a crown to the city. This destination provides an unmatched holiday experience with its cultural and historical environment. It is also known as the “Queen of Thar” as it lies in the heart of the Thar desert.
Jaisalmer was founded by Rawal Jaisal (Ruler of Bhati Clan) in 1156 AD and named after him. The city is beautified with Havelis, Lakes, temples, and Fort. Here, one can experience the perfect blend of Rajasthan’s architecture, the beauty of nature, and enthralling adventure. Camel safari followed by camping under the night sky in the desert would be an unforgettable experience.
Being a former ancient trading center, a trip to Jaisalmer is not completed without visiting the local markets. Sadar Bazaar is the most popular market in the city, offering jewelry, ethenic footwear, clothes with mirror works, stonework souvenirs, leather bags, and other products. Jaisalmer is a must-visit tourist destination for the shopaholic travelers and those who love to buy souvenirs.
The most popular event here is the Jaisalmer desert festival, organized by the Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation in February every year. It is celebrated in the Thar desert where local people dress up in colorful and traditional attires. There are lots of activities in the festival which majorly include camel races, tug of war, singing, turban tying competitions, and a march from the fort to the desert.
Jaisalmer is undoubtedly a great tourist destination, especially for off-beat travelers. With all these fascinating aspects of this city and heartwarming hospitality of Rajasthan, Jaisalmer is awaiting you with an unsurpassed travel experience.
Do you want to experience a wonderful trip and travel this Golden city with ease like a local? Then have a look at the list of top tourist attractions and the best places to visit in Jaisalmer. Ensure you add them to your itinerary before your upcoming trip to Jaisalmer.
(October – March) Jaisalmer is in the Thar desert region, hence winter is the ideal time to visit this city, however, February is the best time to visit during this period when the Jaisalmer desert festival is organized (every year).
Places to Visit in Jaisalmer
1. Jaisalmer Fort
Jaisalmer Fort, also known as the “Sonar Qila” and “Golden Fort”, is one of the largest forts in the world. It is the most popular monument in the city. Jaisalmer fort was built by Rawal Jaisal in 1156 AD and named after him. The fort stands on Trikuta hills on the southern part of the city, this triangular fort has a majestic height of 250 ft and 30 ft of walls surrounding it. From the top, you can witness a marvelous and scenic view of the city.
This structure is an example of a constructive blend of Mughal and Rajputana architecture. Fort has 4 entrance gates; Ganesh Pol, Akshaya Pol, Suraj Pol, Hawa Pol. The most attractive structures inside this complex are; Raj Mahal, Laxminath temple and Jain temple. Apart from these, the fort comprises a museum, temples, Havelis, wells, hotels, shops and houses and most of them are crafted with yellow sandstone.
Jaisalmer fort is one of some rare living forts in the world, it is like a tiny town with around 3 thousand people (around ¼ population of the city) living inside. This is surely one of the best gems of Rajasthan tourism.
- Ticket: Free entry for the fort (ticket applicable for museum and palaces inside the fort)
- Opening hours: No time restriction (as it is a residential site)
- Duration: 2-3 hrs
2. Tanot Mata Mandir
Tanot Mata Mandir (temple), established in the early 8th century is located in a small village (Tanot Village) in Jaisalmer district. The temple is devoted to Tanot Mata who is believed to be the avatar of the Hinglaj Mata and it is a significant spot for those visiting the Thar desert.
There are lots of legends associated with the temple that can surely make you wonder and curious towards its divine power. The temple is currently maintained by the Border Security Force (BSF) of India since the battle of Longewala in 1971.
Longewala battle is one of the greatest battles in the history of Independent India. In 1971, a miracle happened when Indian soldiers were at the edge of annihilation. Pakistan army dropped bombs (believed to be around 3000) at the army base near this temple. But mysteriously none of them exploded in the vicinity of the temple. The unexploded bombs are kept for display in the Tanot museum in the temple premises.
Pakistan’s General visited the temple as he requested to see the temple after knowing the power and the miracle. There are some places that are situated in uneasy locations hence visited very rarely. Tanot Mata temple is one of those gems as it lies very close to the Indo-Pak border.
Temple is around 130 km from Jaisalmer and the best way to reach here is by road. This is one of the most popular Hindu temples in Rajasthan and you can feel the presence of some holy and blissful vibes.
- Ticket: No entry fee
- Opening hours: 6:00 am – 7:00 pm
- Duration: 1-2 hrs
- Visit the museum and witness the unexploded bombs.
- Enjoy Camel rides near the temple
3. Bada Bagh
Bada Bagh is an assemblage of cenotaphs (Chhatri) set up as a garden complex in Jaisalmer district. These cenotaphs are memorials for the Nobel heroes who fought for the city. It is situated on a small hill rock, about 6 km north of Jaisalmer.
The current structure of Bada Bagh was built in a period of a long time as the basic garden was first built by Maharawal Jai Singh and later on, in 1743 his son built a chhatri there in memory of his father. Later on, it was adopted as a new tradition and many chhatris were built in the memory of descendant rulers of the Bhati dynasty.
On entering the Bada Bagh from the bottom of the hill you will see the two different rows of cenotaphs in order from new to older. The size of the Chhatris are based on the greatness of the ruler it was built for. The bigger size of chhatri resembles the greatness of the ruler.
A very interesting fact about the place is that the cenotaphs and even their smallest carvings haven’t changed color to date. Being the same color as the surrounding, this place seems like a mirage in the desert. Also, there are lots of windmills in the distance that add up the beauty to this site.
- Ticket: INR 20/-
- Opening hours: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
- Duration: 30 minutes -60 minutes
- Enjoy the enchanting sunset and sunrise.
- Apply sunscreen to avoid skin burns due to direct contact of strong sun light.
- Wear light cotton clothes to roam freely in those harsh environment and feel the blissful surroundings.
4. Patwon ki Haveli
Patwon ki haveli is the second most popular tourist spot in the city, after the Jaisalmer fort. It is situated in the heart of the Jaisalmer city. Patwon ki haveli is a beautiful 5-story mansion made out of yellow sandstone with traditional construction and intricate detailing. Each floor is a different and unique haveli, where the mansion on the ground floor is the largest and the oldest.
Patwon ki haveli was built by Guman Chand Patwa in the early 1800s. When Guman Chand made more profit in trading he decided to build 5 separate Havelis for his sons. The current structure of this beautiful building took around 60 years to complete and then it became the largest mansion in Jaisalmer.
This magnificent building has about 60 balconies, unique arches, decorated walls with elegant mirror work and beautiful paintings, lattice carvings, high ceilings, and pillars. Altogether, these amazing design and hypnotizing interiors made this Haveli unique in architectural aspects. It is also one of the most maintained heritage site of this region.
- Ticket: INR 20/-
- Opening hours: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
- Duration: 1 – 2 hours
- Photography is permitted inside Patwon ki Haveli with a small fee for carrying your camera.
- Patwon ki Haveli is well connected with the major roads but after a certain point visitors have to go on foot to reach the Haveli as the path is a bit narrow.