The golden city of Jaisalmer springs like an oasis in the heart of the Thar desert in the Rajasthan state of India. The city of Jaisalmer built in the golden sandstone lures tourists and travelers to experience the magic of the perpetual golden deserts. One of the top places to visit in India the rich cultural heritage of Jaisalmer is evident from the architectural treasures the city has to offer to its guests.
Join us as we take you on a virtual tour of the golden city with the list of places to visit in Jaisalmer:
Top Places to Visit in Jaisalmer India
The artificial lake built by Maharawal Gadsi Singh in the 14th-century was once the only source of water to this arid land of Jaisalmer. The lake is frequented by the people seeking a tranquil aura away from the bustling city. The lake is is one of the top tourist places in Rajasthan. It is dotted with numerous beautiful temples, cenotaphs, and monuments. One can go boating on the calm waters of the lake and do look for some exotic migratory birds that flock to the lake in winter.
Located six km off the city of Jaisalmer the Bada Bagh has some of the beautiful cenotaphs of the royal family of Bhatti Dynasty. Bada Bagh literally means ‘big garden’ which was built by Jai Singh II in his effort to make some space for greenery in the barren land of Jaisalmer. It is here in 16th-century the first cenotaph was built by Lunkarani to commemorate his father Jai Singh II’s contribution. The garden is visited by the travelers for the stunning sunset it offers.
The cenotaphs at Vyas Chhatri are quite similar in structure to those at Bada Bagh but fewer in number. Unlike that of Bada Bagh, the Vyas Chhatri is still used as a cremation ground for the Brahmin community. Vyas Chatri is also a well-known sunset point.
Haunted Kuldhara Village
The cursed village of Kuldhara once inhabited by Paliwal Brahmins today houses ruins of temples and houses. Located 18 km away from Jaisalmer the Kuldhara village exudes a sense of mystery around the villagers who evacuated the village overnight. The villagers cursed the land of Kuldhara Village which even to this day remains uninhabited and deserted. The haunted village is visited by enthusiasts to learn about the legend.
Tanot Mata Mandir
Tanot Mata Temple located about 120 km from the city of Jaisalmer India is maintained by the Indian army and is close to the Indo-Pak border. The temple has an interesting mystery surrounding it as it is believed that during the Indo-Pakistan War of 1965 all the bombs dropped by the Pakistani Army on the temple failed to explode. The temple interior exhibits a collection of the unexploded bombs that were dropped by Pakistan and details of the historical events. One can also visit the war memorial at Longewala built to commemorate the valiant Indian soldiers who fought the battle of Longewala in December 1971. The memorial has a small cafe and an audio-visual theater for a short film on the battle.
The best time to visit Jaisalmer is from November to March but do keep in mind that winters may turn freezing cold in the desert at night so appropriate warm clothing items need to be carried. Plan to visit the Jaisalmer Desert Festival held in February to witness the explosion of vibrant colors and folk events in the arid desert land of Jaisalmer.
Top Things to do in Jaisalmer
Explore the Fortified City of Jaisalmer Fort
The majestic Jaisalmer Fort is also known as the ‘Sonar Quila’ or the ‘Golden Fort’ was built by the King Rao Jaisal in the year 1156 AD. The city within the fort’s ramparts is home to around 4000 people and houses several restaurants, palaces, museums, and handicraft shops. The palaces within the fort premises have some of the remarkable architectural marvels with intricate stone carvings and fine latticework.
Marvel at the Jain Temple
The stunning Jain temples are situated within the ramparts of the Jaisalmer fort. The group of temples built between the 12th and 15th centuries is an outstanding example of Dilwara style architecture. The temples built with yellow sandstones are embellished with intricate carvings on walls and pillars and several beautiful statues.
Explore the Patwon ki Haveli
Patwon ki Haveli is a group of five Havelis and is truly an architectural wonder of Jaisalmer. The walls of the haveli built in the golden sandstone have stunning intricate carvings on the archways, balconies, and gates. The first haveli is the most ornate of all with some of the exquisite mirror work and an exhibit of important artifacts from the bygone era. The haveli also has a shop for authentic Rajasthani handicrafts.
Shopping in Jaisalmer
The Sardar Bazaar close to the Jaisalmer Fort is a busy market with an assortment of locally produced products. One can for leather products like bags, wallets and jackets, embroidered handicrafts, carpets, bedsheets, puppets, and tapestries. These items also make for great takeaway souvenirs or mementos from the golden city of Rajasthan.
Go on a Desert Safari at Sam Sand Dunes
Located around 40 km from the city of Jaisalmer are the golden stretches of the Sam sand dunes of the Thar Desert. A visit to the Sam sand dunes is on top of every Rajasthan Itinerary. The dunes entice tourists and travelers with a wide array of desert activities like camel ride, Jeep safari, desert camping, and dune bashing. Several of the Sam sand dunes desert camps arrange for folk programs like folk dance, puppet shows, and other cultural event shows for their guests followed by a scrumptious traditional Rajasthani dinner.
Day Trips from Jaisalmer
Jaisalmer to Pokhran
Pokhran is a couple of hours’ drive from Jaisalmer. There are plenty of buses plying between the cities all day.
The main attraction in Pokhran is a 14th-century fort known as Balagarh which majestically stands amid the desert. A part of the fort has been converted into a heritage hotel. The fort also has a museum displaying weapons and other items from the royal collection.
There are also numerous beautiful Havelis like Salim Singh-ki-Haveli and the Patwon Ji-ki-Haveli built in the early 1800s which are a must-visit. The Baba Ramdev Temple is a popular religious attraction of Pokhran which draws locals as well as tourists.
Day Trip to Khichan
Khichan is a small town in Rajasthan, about an hour from Pokhran. The town draws visitors every year in winter to watch the Demoiselle Cranes. While you are here do take a walk around the small town where you will find some not so famous stunning Havelis in the small alleys. The Havelis have elaborate doors and artworks.
Have you been to these popular attractions on Jaisalmer tour? Do you think we are missing something? Let us know in the comments.