Jaisalmer, exotic, remote, and beautiful is a bit of a paradox. Set so deep in the heart of the Thar Desert that one would expect barren near-desolation, this frontier town is today one of Rajasthan's best-loved tourist destinations. Local colour and warmth prevail over the inhospitable and forbidding terrain, imbuing the medieval walled sandstone town that perches dramatically on a flat-topped hill with a special magic.
Jaisalmer was founded and its fortress built on an 80-m high hill in 1156 AD by Rawal Jaisal, to serve as the new capital of his territory. In medieval times, its prosperity was due to its location on the main trade route linking India to Egypt, Arabia, Persia, Africa and the West. The old fort city rises up just like a giant and majestic sandcastle, its ancient and narrow streets and alleyways still preserving a traditional way of life with craftsmen still weaving and stone carving, shopkeepers trading and housewives gathering.
About a quarter of the old city’s population resides within the fort walls. Entry is through a forbidding series of gargantuan gates leading to a long courtyard. Off here are a tangle of alleyways and streets lined with little shops, a few Jain temples and the old palace of the former ruler, a portion of which is open to the public.
Camel safaris in the close and surrounding desert are a popular activity. In January/ February, the Jaisalmer Desert Festival has camel races, folk music, dancing and singing and attracts hoards of colourfully dressed Rajasthanis.
To get you started with planning your holiday to Jaisalmer, we have showcased below some popular itineraries requested by our clients which we hope will inspire your visit to India
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