Jaisalmer Fort

Jaisalmer, Rajasthan

Jaisalmer Fort

Fort in Jaisalmer

should-see attraction

Address: Manak Chowk, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan

Ticket price: Free

Visit duration: People typically spend up to 2 hours here

Jaisalmer Fort, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan
Street inside Jaisalmer Fort, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan

About Jaisalmer Fort

India is known for its rich history and the Jaisalmer Fort stands tall as an epitome of the grandeur of the days of yore. The Fort dominates the Golden City of Rajasthan, Jaisalmer.

Walking through the fort, you get to live the numerous historic moments that the fort witnessed for centuries. Since the release of the renowned Indian film, Sonar Kella, directed by the Oscar-winning director, Satyajit Ray, the Jaisalmer Fort is often called Sonar Kella which means the Golden Fort.

History of Jaisalmer Fort

Jaisalmer Fort is a symbol of utmost strength. The Fort was built in 1156 by Rawal Jaisal, a Rajput ruler, who decided to establish his new capital in Jaisalmer.

Before it became a famous tourist attraction in Rajasthan, it served as a strategic site for the continued war between India and Pakistan from 1965 to 1971.

As you walk back in time, before the independence of India, it was under the control of the British Raj. They took the authority from Gaj Singh, grandson of Mulraj who had a treaty with the East Indian Company.

The Jaisalmer Fort was a territory of the Mughals till Maharawal Mulraj seized control of the fort. The Mughal ruler, Humayun conquered the fort from Rawal Lunakaran. Rawal Lunakaran offered his daughter in marriage to Akbar, Humayun's son, to maintain a peaceful relationship.

The fort witnessed a dark tragedy during Rawal Lunakaran’s reign as an Afghan Chief, Amir Ali, attacked the fort. When Rawal Lunakaran realised that he was going to lose due to a lack of reinforcements, he decided to sacrifice the women of his kingdom as time was insufficient to commit Jauhar. Tragically, reinforcements arrived only after the deed was done.

The fort also survived another attack by Alauddin Khalji of the Delhi Sultanate during the rule of Rawal Jait Singh I. He and his men lost the battle against the Sultan's forces while the women committed Jauhar.

Portait of a Rajasthani woman at Jaisalmer Fort, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan

Architecture of Jaisalmer Fort

The Jaisalmer Fort has an appealing structure that resembles a honeycomb. It is made of yellow sandstone. The fort stretches 1500 feet in length, 750 feet in width and 250 feet in height.

The base of the fort has a tall wall in the form of a ring that forms the outermost defence system providing the court with a tripled defence architecture.

The fort comprises resident areas and temples that are guarded by four massive gateways. The impressive gateways are called Hawa Pole, Akshay Pole, Suraj Pole and the Ganesha Pole. Their zigzag, narrowing lanes are all connected to the citadel.

Seven Jain temples were built between the 12th and the 16th century inside the fort. Among them, one temple was built by Askaran Chopra, and it was dedicated to Sambhavanatha. The temple has a library of ancient scriptures and more than 600 idols.

The temple of Laxminath worships the God Vishnu and the goddess Laxmi. Another temple worth paying a visit to is the Ashtapadh temple built by Chopra Panchaji.

The fort incorporates numerous Havelis, most of which are still inhabited by the family lineage. One such noteworthy haveli is the Vyas Haveli. It was constructed in the 15th century and continues to be dwelled by members of the same family. Another is the Shree Nath Palace which had once provided asylum to the prime minister of Jaisalmer. Maharawal of Jaisalmer was once a resident of the Raj Mahal Palace.

The fort continues to be both ancient and contemporary. The architecture places it in the past while the population locates it in the present.

Jaisalmer Fort dominating the city, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan

Tips to visit Jaisalmer Fort

  • The Jaisalmer fort is situated in the heart of the desert. So in summer, the temperature rises as high as 50 °C and in winter, it gets as warm as 25 °C. In summer it would be advised to wear light-coloured clothes and have a surplus supply of drinks.

  • The sunset at Jaisalmer fort should be definite on the bucket list. To witness the different shades of yellow outside a canvas is a rare opportunity in life.

  • The elegant structure of the Jaisalmer fort is an attention snatcher. One must wear comfy shoes as the whole trip across the Fort takes up to two hours as the detailed architecture of the fort is guilty as charged.

Facts and tips about Jaisalmer Fort

  • The unique fact about the Jaisalmer Fort is that it is one of the two forts in the world where people are taking free shelter for years, making it called India’s only “living” fort. The other fort is in France, the Carcassonne Fortress.

  • Located in the Great Thar Desert of India, the yellow sandstone walls of the Jaisalmer Fort radiate a honey-gold effect that camouflages the Fort in the yellow desert.

  • In 2013, UNESCO declared the Jaisalmer Fort as one of the World Heritage Sites, categorising it as the hill fort of Rajasthan along with five others.

How to reach Jaisalmer Fort

Jaisalmer Fort is the heart of the city. All the well known Jaisalmer Havelis are within a few minutes walk.

Other attractions near Jaisalmer Fort

  • Patwon ki Haveli - 450m
  • Gadisar Lake (Gadi Sagar Tank) - 2.0 km
  • Thar Desert (Sam Sand Dunes) - 40 km

FAQs about Jaisalmer Fort

1. Why is Jaisalmer Fort famous?

Among its distinctive features, one notable mention is that the fort is situated near one of the ancient famous Eurasian trade routes, the Silk road.

2. Can you click photographs and shoot videos inside the fort?

Yes, you can click photographs and shoot videos inside the fort.

3. Is there any place to eat near Jaisalmer Fort?

Yes, there are restaurants inside the fort. You can get food from different cuisines along with authentic Rajasthani delicacies.

4. Is there any place to shop around Jaisalmer Fort?

Yes, there are nearby local shops from where you can buy souvenirs for your loved ones.

Maharaja Palace inside Jaisalmer Fort, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan
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