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Jaisalmer: The Golden City

''The city is built of yellow sandstone that renders it a yellowish golden colour, and hence the name!''

Jaisalmer was part of the famous Silk Route during the days of yore. The city’s narrow streets, splendid forts and lavish havelis take you back to the medieval times when Rajputs ruled the city. Every corner of the city smells of sand, and that’s what makes it unique from other destinations in Rajasthan. A camel safari, followed by Kalbelia dance at one of the desert resorts by the dunes is an experience of a lifetime.

LOCATION : Jaisalmer is a desert city located in the state of Rajasthan, India.

PLACES TO SEE
Jaisalmer is a city worth exploring. Here is the list of a few must do places in the city.

SAM SAND DUNES
About 50 kms from Jaisalmer city are the Sam sand dunes, where you can indulge in all kinds of fun and adventure. Apart from taking a camel ride on the dunes, you can opt for a jeep safari for a thrilling experience. In the off-season, a camel ride wouldn’t cost you more than Rs 100 per person, and a full jeep would come for about Rs 700-1,000 for a family. Follow this by Rajasthani music and dance at one of the desert camps by the dunes and finish with a luscious dinner buffet comprising authentic Rajasthani cuisines.

SONAR QUILA
In the very heart of Jaisalmer lies the Sonar Quila, which is also one of the only living forts of Rajasthan. Made of sand stone, this fort is a subtle fusion of Rajput and Islamic styles of architecture. Even today, you will find that nearly one-fourth of the old city's population resides within the fort. There are many shops and eateries as well established within the fort.

GADISAR LAKE
This lake too is located in the heart of the city and is about 100-150 metres in distance from the parking area. It is one of the major tourist attractions of Jaisalmer as this lake once acted as a reservoir that controlled the entire supply of water to the city. Now this lake is abuzz with activities like boating and fish feeding.

Charges for half an hour ride:
2 seater pedal boat: 100
4 seater pedal boat: 200
6 seater rowing boat: 300
10 seater rowing boat: 500
2 seater Kashmiri shikara: 300
(overtime charges will be extra)

BADA BAGH
Located at a distance of about 5 kms from the main city is Bada Bagh that comprises a garden, a tank and a dam. The water tank was commissioned by a descendant of Maharawal Jaisal Singh in the 16th century. The place is also full of Cenotaphs, also known as chattris, erected for the rulers of Jaisalmer. This practice was discontinued around Independence. These cenotaphs also allure visitors to Jaisalmer in large numbers. It is also the place where the a few scenes of Bollywood movie Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam starring Aishwarya Rai and Salman Khan were shot.

KULDHARA ABANDONED VILLAGE
It is believed that owing to a curse the villagers of this village vanished in dark one night. It was once the largest village of Jaisalmer that was dominated by Paliwal Brahmins, one of the prosperous communities of the city then.

THAR HERITAGE MUSEUM
Located in the main city, this museum houses Jaisalmer artefacts, from musical instruments, fossils and kitchen equipment to weapons, coins, manuscripts and photographs. You get the real feel of a desert city here.

PATWA HAVELIS
Located in one of the narrow lanes of Jaisalmer, this haveli is one of the important havelis and architectural pieces of Jaisalmer. It was one of the first havelis erected in Jaisalmer and is actually a cluster of five small havelis. The first and biggest haveli was commissioned and constructed in the year 1805 by Guman Chand Patwa for residential purposes.
These havelis are adorned with carvings on the doors, embedded ivory, golden paintings on the inner roofs and walls and Belgian glasses in the lattices and balconies. Keeping in mind the climate of Jaisalmer, the floors are made of mud, and wood has been used for the roofs so that the havelis remain cool in summers and warm in winters. Each haveli has a diwankhana, guest-rooms, kitchen, basement, staircase, safes, etc. A part of the Haveli has been now converted into a museum for the visitors to cherish its artwork.

Entry Charges:
Indians: Rs 70 per head
Foreigners: Rs 200 per head
School Students/Defence Personnel: Rs 50

SHOPPING IN JAISALMER
BELLISSIMA: This shop near the fort sells textile made by local women carrying beautiful patchworks and embroidery besides paintings, bags and rugs.

JAISALMER HANDLOOM: For bedspreads, tapestries, patchwork, applique work and other handmade stuff.

SHRI CHARBHUJA JEWELLERS & HARI OM JEWELLERS: For intricate and authentic silver jewellery.

LIGHT OF THE EAST: For souvenirs and gifts, rare and semi-precious stones.

DHARAM BOOK STORE: For all kinds of books and to surf the internet.


Source / Review By : Pramugdha Mamgain Nautiyal

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