The Golden city
Jaisalmer is the true desert city of Rajasthan, carrying the shimmering shade of gold that the sands of the city look like from afar. Known as the Golden City, Jaisalmer lies right in the heart of the Great Indian Desert and is the administrative headquarters of the district of the same name.
Jaisalmer is much deeper into the desert than the other popular cities of Rajasthan and brushes shoulder to the Pakistan border in the west and south-west. In fact, the district shares an international border with Pakistan for a stretch of 471km.
Tracing back the history of Jaisalmer, one shall reach way back in the 12th century. When the Rawal of Deoraj passed away, the throne of Lodurva was passed on to a younger half-brother instead of the eldest heir RawalJaisal. So he went looking for a new place and constructed a mud fort where now stands the whole city of Jaisalmer. Local folklore often adds a legend of Lord Krishna to the story, where a sage mentions a prophecy where a descendant of Yadhuvanshi clan finds the same spot for a new kingdom in the desert.
The city life of Jaisalmer still revolves around the fort. Jaisalmer Fort, also known as SonalQilla (Golden Fort) because of the bright yellow colour its limestone reflects, towers over the city. From afar, its hues make it look like one with the sand, and it seems that the fort has risen like a magical palace from the sand itself. But unlike other forts, this one is still very much lived in and used. There are hotels, shops, restaurants and small havelis where generations continue to live. The fort plays an important role in Satyajit Ray’s famous movie Sonar Kella (The Golden Fortress).
The magnificent architecture of Salim Singh ki Haveli is a treat to the artistic eyes and mind. the high arched roof and the carved brackets, with intricate Rajasthani style carvings all-over in golden, is a festival of everything artistic. Badal Palace is also among the places that deserve a visit, with its five-storey grandness further enhanced by the Islamic-style Tazia Tower on top.