One of the largest fortifications on the planet, Jaisalmer Fort is the only living fort in Rajasthan.
Home to some 3,000 people, Jaisalmer Fort has within its walls houses and businesses, homestays and cafes and temples galore.
The Jaisalmer Fort also goes by the name Sonar Quila (Golden Fort) as it rises from the desert itself and seems to become one with the golden hues of the sand. The fort’s massive yellow sandstone walls are a tawny lion colour during the day, fading to honey-gold as the sun sets, thereby camouflaging the fort in the yellow desert.
The fort is constructed in the classic style of the royals by local craftsmen. It also has four fortified entrances or gates from the town side, one of which was once guarded by cannon. Other points of interest within the fort’s walls and grounds include:
- Four massive gateways through which visitors to the fort must pass, situated along the main approach to the citadel.
- The Raj Mahal Palace, the former residence of the Maharawal of Jaisalmer.
- Jain Temples: Inside Jaisalmer Fort, there are 7 Jain temples built of yellow sandstone during 12-16th century.
- Askaran Chopra of Merta built a huge temple dedicated to Sambhavanatha. The temple has more than 600 idols with many old scriptures.
- The Laxminath temple of Jaisalmer, dedicated to the worship of the gods Lakshmi and Vishnu.
- Numerous Merchant Havelis- These are large houses often built by wealthy merchants in Rajasthani towns and cities in North India, with ornate sandstone carvings. Some havelis are many hundreds of years old.
- The fort has an ingenious drainage system called the Ghut Nali which allows for the easy drainage of rainwater away from the fort in all four directions of the fort.
The dominant hilltop location makes the sprawling towers of its fortifications visible for many miles around. It is not only a UNESCO World Heritage Site under the group Hill Forts of Rajasthan but also a must-visit for history buffs and those keen on learning about the heritage of Rajasthan.
Indians: Rs 30
Foreigners: Rs 50