Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India

Jaisalmer, Gadsisar Lake, Thar Desert, Rajasthan, India

Jaisalmer Fort and Gadsisar Lake in the Thar Desert, Rajasthan, India.

Why visit Jaisalmer?

After the ‘White City’ of Udaipur, the ‘Pink City’ of Jaipur, the ‘Blue City’ of Jodhpur comes the ‘Golden City’ of Jaisalmer.
Originally the entire town was enclosed in the yellow sandstone fort (these days it’s only about 25% of the population) and, of course, made of the same sandstone that glowed gold in the late afternoon light, so the name is realistic as well as romantic.

Gadsisar Lake is an artificial rainwater pool built in 1400 AD to provide the town’s entire supply of water. The lake is surrounded by temples, shrines, statues and other attractive structures such as the Gate of Tillon, in the centre of the picture above.

Jaisalmer attractions

Jaisalmer city walls, Rajasthan, India

Jaisalmer Fort built in 1156 and still occupied by a quarter of the town’s residents. Photo by Karin Van Der Laan.

The Fort contains – apart from a slightly medieval, claustrophobic ambience – a number of tourist attractions such as the Raj Mahal (Royal Palace), several interesting temples and some very old, elaborately ornate merchant’s houses, Havelis, that come pretty close to equalling any Maharaja’s love of dazzling colour and complex design. One of the best-preserved examples is Patwa Haveli which has guest accommodation.

Haveli house, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India

A typical Haveli exterior. Some are hotels of differing standards.

A female potter, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India

A local potter. Other than exploring the fort, town and lake, meeting colourful Rajasthani people can be a highlight of a trip to this region.

A beautifully dressed Rajasthani woman, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India

Another classic Rajasthani women in bright colours (all the better to track them in the desert) and heavy silver jewellry.

A colourfully painted wall near Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India

A village wall – near Jaisalmer – painted in startling colours by the womenfolk. Compare these colours with those of the woman above. Photo by Rene Drouyer

Then there are the popular camel safaris into the Thar Desert lasting anything from an hour to a couple of weeks, though three days seems like enough to us!

Getting there

Flights: Currently there are some limited flights to an ex-military airstrip though soon there should be a new civilian airport. Otherwise Jodhpur Airport is the nearest (300 kms away), with flights from Delhi, Mumbai, Jaipur and Udaipur.

Rail: Trains run to/from Jodhpur, Jaipur, Bikaner, Ajmer, Delhi and Mumbai.

Bus: Buses go there from all Rajasthan towns and cities.

Car/Taxi: Jaisalmer is not too far from Ajmer/Pushkar (200kms), Bikaner (240 kms), Jodhpur (300 kms), Jaipur (345 kms), Udaipur (275 kms).