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iXiGOers Dec 09 2012

What are the top attractions in Jaisalmer?

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Historically an important stop over on the trade link between India and Central Asia, Jaisalmer has evolved to become one of India’s favourite tourist destinations. With such an animated cultural fabric and architectural beauty on offer, you are going to be mesmerised by all that you will see in this city!

  • Jaisalmer Fort
    Built in the 12th century, the Jaisalmer Fort is one of the few living monuments in the world and home to a fourth of the city’s population. Built in yellow sandstone, this wondrous monument looks like a ship in a sea of golden sands from afar, giving it the name of Ship Fort as well. The rising and setting sun is said to adorn the mighty walls and paved ways of this fort in another colour and trust me on this one, seeing is believing. Life seems to go in this place endlessly, with children running down streets chasing butterflies and women walking about with pots of milk.

    The main courtyard of this massive structure is known as the Dussehra Chowk, which is dotted with small shops, eateries, hotels, people and decked in all imaginable hues and colours. It is easy to lose yourself to the architectural majesty of this fort as you walk around. Guides will find you at the entrance Gopa Chowk itself and its advisable to hire one for easy maneuvering around the place. Don't settle for anything more than INR 400.

    There’s no timing and entry fee for the Fort, its always open for all.

    Address: Jaisalmer Fort
  • Gadisar Lake
    Set to the south of the city, Gadisar Lake is an unadulterated treat for one’s eyes and mind. Enjoy a calm boat ride on these waters as the sun sets to close a hectic day of sightseeing in peace. A number of shrines and pavilions dot the lake banks and a domed pavilion in the middle adds tremendously to the aesthetic appearance of the lake. A interesting fact about this lake is that its never dry (even though its in the middle of a desert) as it is fed by the Indira Gandhi Canal. You can also buy bread and feed the numerous catfish to whom the Gadisar Lake is home sweet home.

    Entry Fee: Free, Boating up to INR 300
    Timings: Advisable to go early morning or evening for the views.

    Address: Gadisar Lake
    Opposite Desert Cultural Museum
  • Tazia Tower
    A gift of muslim artisans to then rulers of Jaisalmer, Tazia Towers is an enchanting five storied structure which has numerous balconies. Pulling travellers for its delicate and intricately carved balconies, all of which have different designs, the Tazia Tower makes for a mesmerising sight. Mounted atop the Badal Palace, this structure resembles the Tazia, an important float in the celebration of Muharram.
    Timings: Sunrise to Sunset

    Address: Amar Sagar Pol
  • Patwon ki Haveli
    One of the most ornate carvings you will ever set your eyes on, the designs on the facades of these five havelis will speak to you like poetry in stone. These multi storied buildings are all in the traditional Rajasthani style, with rooms set around a central courtyard. You may spot a few worn out paintings on the walls here, which are still breathtaking with all their minute intricacies. One thing you absolutely cannot miss is the view of the Jaisalmer Fort from the terrace; this is one sight which will surely live with you for a lifetime.

    Keep water or energy drinks handy while walking around, the climb up and down many stories is bound to sap your energy levels.

    Timings: 9am to 6pm
    Entry Fee: Between INR 3 and INR 20, depending on Haveli. Cameras upto INR 20.

    Address: Near Gopa Chowk
  • Jain Temples
    A set of seven temples which will take your breath away with their serene hallways and delicate stone work, the Jain Temples inside the Jaisalmer Fort will prove to be a highlight of your trip to the place. Take a walk down these serene pillar lined hallways, revel in the energy and enthusiasm of the musical aartis or simply observe a Jain priest go about his routine in a calm and devoted manner, all at the Jain Temples.

    Most notable among these temples is the Parsvanath Temple, which is largest in size and holds some of the finest carvings. You will be required to remove your shoes and leather belts before entering the premises, (which can be deposited in the safes near the ticket booth) so make sure you have clean socks and well fitted pants on! Women are advised to dress such that their shoulders and knees covered.

    Entry Fee: INR 10, Cameras cost an extra INR 100.
    Timings: 8 am to noon

    Address: Near Dussehra Chowk
    Jaisalmer Fort
  • Desert Cultural Museum
    A landmark place in the city of Jaisalmer, any trip is incomplete without a walk down the corridor of the Desert Cultural Museum. From exhibits displaying local musical instruments, ancient coins and currency, traditional jewellery of the womenfolk and hunting gear of men to the historical displays of rulers and kings and the artillery and armour of the armies of bygone times, the museum displays it all. There is also a small bookshop located here where you can lay your hands on an interesting read about the city. The place also holds an entertaining puppet show every evening at 6.30 pm and 7.30 pm which is a delight to watch for kids and adults alike. After the show, the puppet group also puts on some puppets for sale which you can pick up as gifts or memorabilia.

    Do remember to buy tickets to the puppet show in the morning if you are travelling during the on season, as the show runs to a packed house during these times.

    Timings: 10am to 5pm, Friday closed
    Entry Fee: INR 35 per person, without the puppet show

    Address: Gadi Sagar Road
  • Sam Sand Dunes
    Located at a 40 km distance from Jaisalmer, these attractions aren’t inside the geographical map of the city, but are a must see for the tourist. Why do I say so? Because this is the place where you will see your picture postcard image of the Thar come to life. These shifting mounds of dry white sand come to life in the evenings as a number of cultural performances breathe colour into the barren landscape. You can even enjoy a night of camping here in the winter months between November and March. The average cost per person varies between INR 3000 and INR 7000, depending on the package and its inclusions. Contact hotel travel desk or local travel operators for deals and details.
  • Kuldhara Village
    An abandoned village on the outskirts of Jaisalmer, Kuldhara was once a prosperous village. Once home to the learned Paliwal Brahmins, this village was deserted when the lusty king laid his eyes on the beautiful daughter of the village chieftain. The leaving Brahmins cursed death on anyone who tried to live in the village and it is said that every now and then, skeletons are discovered in this village. Let the howling winds send shivers down your back, as you walk through the hair raising place.

    Address: Kuldhara Village

Other places you can check out when in the Golden City are Bada Bagh, Thar Heritage Museum, Mool Sagar and Lodurva. With such enticing monuments drawing you to the exotic Golden City, don't you have another excuse to visit the city? if yes, then pick any of these Jaisalmer tour packages, pack your bags and go ahead with your excuse to visit Jaisalmer.

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