Our post on top places to visit in Jaisalmer India lists a visit to the Jaisalmer Fort. The majestic fort of Jaisalmer is not just a fort but a fortified city home to 4000 people similar to the Chittorgarh Fort. The Fort city has a lot to explore from palaces, temples to handicraft shops which are some of the top things to do in Jaisalmer, India. The 12th-century fort is a world heritage site and was built by Rajput ruler Rawal Jaisal in Jaisalmer Rajasthan. The golden sandstone walls of the massive fort rising above the sandy stretch of the Jaisalmer Desert is also known as Sonar Quila or Golden Fort.
Places to Visit in Jaisalmer Fort
1. Jaisalmer Fort Walls
We parked our car and moved towards the fort main entrance. The view of the semi-circular bastions of the fort sitting high on the Trikuta Hill was spectacular. The defense system of the fort city is interesting with three layers of fortifications and 99 bastions. While the outermost layer is a simple wall built of solid stone blocks, the innermost wall was laden with heavy stones which were hurled over the invaders and then hot oil was poured over them which trapped the enemies between the inner layers of walls.
2. Jaisalmer Fort Gates
The path to the royal palace in the main square of the fort winds through four massive gates. Akhai Pol (Pol means gate), Suraj Pol (Suraj means the sun) is built to receive the first rays of the morning sun, Ganesh Pol, and the Hawa Pol which opens up into the main square of the fort the Dusshera Chowk. The positioning of the doors is another great defense system, the gates aren’t placed in a straight line but twists and turns uphill which hinders the energy of the elephants used to batter the doors and confuses the army. The gateways have beautiful carvings done on them.
The entrance to the second gate Suraj Pol is flanked by huge watchtowers known as Haathi tower (Elephant tower) and there are numerous beautiful richly carved Jharokas (windows) along the way.
3. Dusshera Chowk of Jaisalmer Fort
Dusshera Chowk is a prominent square in the heart of the fort surrounded by several imposing buildings including the splendid Maharwal Palace. The remarkable carvings and lattice work in sandstone on windows and archways reminded us of the wonderful Jodhpur fort or the Mehrangarh Fort. Next, to the entrance of the palace, a set of marble stairs lead to the marble throne where the kind addressed the public and its subject. There is a small temple in the square which also has some interesting artwork.
4. Maharwal Palace and the Fort Museum
The five-level exquisitely carved palace offers its visitors an insight into the history and heritage of Jaisalmer. The exhibit includes ornate silver throne, palanquin, huge armory collections to ornate embellished rooms. The museum also displays interesting sculptures dating back to 15th century, stamps and other artifacts. The tour of the museum ends at the rooftop terrace which has a commanding view of the golden city of Jaisalmer. One can opt for the audio tour which walks through the museum exhibits.
5. Laxminath temple in Jaisalmer Fort
Laxminath temple is one of the ancient Hindu temples in the Jaisalmer fort built in 1494 by Rao Lunkaran. The temple enshrines Hindu deities of Vishnu & his consort Goddess Laxmi (Goddess of Wealth). The guides generally tend to give this temple a miss so do remember to include this in your list.
6. Jain Temple of Jaisalmer Fort
It is generally unusual to find such a magnificent temple inside a fort. The Jain temple inside the fort was built to provide protection from Moghul invaders who had burnt the Lodruva Jain temple 18 km from Jaisalmer Fort. The fort has seven Jain temples each dedicated to different Jain Tirthankara built between the twelfth and fifteenth centuries housing shrines built in yellow and white marble. The carvings and sculptures embellishing the walls, ceilings and pillars are inimitably splendid. The temples close by noon so plan a visit in the first half of the day.
7. Explore the Jaisalmer Fort City
A stroll through the fort city is a great way to experience the Rajasthan culture and slow pace lifestyle of Jaisalmer fort residents. The city has several opulent havelis (heritage homes) decorated built in sandstone with intricate carvings on windows and facades some of which are a century old. Do not miss the five-storied Tazia tower. Explore the gorgeous doors and latticework on the buildings.
8. Cannon Point in Jaisalmer Fort
We sauntered through the narrow alleys of the maze-like fortified city exploring the houses and interesting artwork to the cannon point. A couple of stairs will lead to a small terrace which houses an old canon. The terrace offers an incredible view of the city of Jaisalmer washed in golden color. One can also spot the famous Bada Bagh Cenotaphs, Patwon ki Haveli and several other important sights of Jaisalmer from this point.
9. Shop for Rajasthani Handicrafts Items
There are several shops inside and around the fort where one can shop for local handicraft items from Rajasthani dress garments, embroidered bags, bed sheets, quilts and wooden items. The handicrafts are known for the rich embroidery, mirror work, and bright colors. one can also shop for silver jewelry items like anklets, chains, and bangles. There are several shops around the fort where one can look for leather items too.
10. Devour on some Rajasthani Specialties
There are several eateries in and around the premises of the fort where one can indulge in some savory tasting like samosas, kachoris, and a variety of sweets. Dhanraj Ranmal Bhatia is one shop we highly recommend in Amar Sagar Pol for mouth watering traditional sweets.
The Rajasthan forts are one of the top places to visit in Rajasthan. The fort of Jaisalmer along with other prominent sights boosts the Jaisalmer tourism and is one of the major revenues for the city.
Are you planning a trip to Jaisalmer Rajasthan? Then the Jaisalmer Fort should definitely make to the must-visit places as a part of Rajasthan Tourism.
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