Jaisalmer Fort – The Golden Fort in the Golden Sands

If nature and man have shaken hands in colour coordination somewhere on planet earth, it has to be here at Jaisalmer Fort – ruling with the colour golden. Nestled in the glistering golden sands of Thar Desert, Jaisalmer Fort is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that falls under the category of “Hill Forts of India”.

Jaisalmer Fort – A Quick Glance

Golden Yellow Jaisalmer Fort
Golden Yellow Jaisalmer Fort
Famous for:  UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for its rich heritage, massive architecture, and hugely spread structure.

Visiting time:  7: 00am to 6: 00pm

Visiting duration:  2 - 4 hours

Best time to visit:  October to February (January - February – to attend the desert festival)

How to reach:  Located in the heart of Rajasthan, can be reached from the railway station in rickshaw, cabs or taxis.

A Brief History

Portraying the ultimate example of ancient heritage, colossal culture, and gorgeous architectural marvel, Jaisalmer Fort stands the test of time since ages. Built in 1156 AD by Rajput RawalJaisal, the Fort is the second oldest fort in Rajasthan. The Fort stood at the crossroads of important trade routes, including the ancient Silk Road.

Jaisalmer Fort – A Gateway to Immense Discovery

Jaisalmer Fort is an outstanding rustic fusion of Islamic and Rajputana style of architecture which stands as a gigantic structure and offers a stunning sight, especially at a full moon night, or a starry dark night.

The Jaisalmer Fort is among the prime constructions built during the reign of RawalJaisal, who founded the city of Jaisalmer. The Fort is 460m (1,500ft) in length and 230m (750ft) in width, and is built on a hill at a height of 250 feet, protected by 30 feet long walls establishing a chain. The basement of the fort is 4.6m (15ft) tall construction forming like a wall and acting like a double line of defence.

The Gate of Jaisalmer Fort
The Gate of Jaisalmer Fort

Jaisalmer Fort's Walls Establishing a Chain
Jaisalmer Fort's Walls Establishing a Chain

Consisting of a total of 99 bastions, of which 92 were built between 1633 and 1647, the exotic fort showcases a perfect fusion of Islamic and Rajput architecture. The Fort offers four entrances - Ganesh Pol, Akshya Pol, Suraj Pol and Hawa Pol. Nestled at the top of Trikuta Hill, the Jaisalmer Fort has witnessed several battles, including invasion by the Muslim rulers namely Ala-Uddin-Khilji and Mughal Emperor Humayun.

Jaisalmer Fort – An Exploration Within

The Jaisalmer Fort is one of its kinds – for being the only “living” fort in the country. Serving as home to a fourth of the city’s population, the Jaisalmer Fort is not just a fort but a mini-town including houses, temples, shops, and restaurants. More than three thousand people live within the fort wallswith several entrance gates on the path up top, the last of which directs you to the most popular public square – DasheraChowk.

Right from the top, the Fort offers a stunning panoramic view of Jaisalmer city draped in golden yellow. Take a walk through the narrow mystical lanes to experience the aesthetic beauty of the entire area soaked in golden yellow. For right and obvious reasons, the Jaisalmer Fort is also known as the Golden Fort or the Sonar Qila.

Main Attractions inside the Fort

While you explore the Fort from inside, the magic unfolds and you are stunned with the architecture and mystery of the heritage that the place has to offer. Among the major attractions are Raj Mahal (Royal palace), Jain temples and the Laxminath temple that stand out. Made out of actual standards and featuring a city against the bright red-yellow background, the Jaisalmer Fort is indeed unique inside out.

The main attraction of the Sonar Qila is Maharawal Palace popular for its marble throne. Tazia Tower – a five-storied tower – stands right opposite the Maharawal Palace which adds to the overall imperialism. Jawahar Palace is yet another attraction of the Fort known for its impressive designs and majestic architecture. The Palace was used as the royal residence back then.

Shop in Winding Lane, Jaisalmer Fort
Shop in Winding Lane, Jaisalmer Fort

Food Sold in Jaisalmer Fort
Food Sold in Jaisalmer Fort

The entire complex is a maze of winding lanes with houses, temples, shops, guesthouses and restaurants lined up all over.

Interesting Facts about Jaisalmer Fort

  Mythology says that the Jaisalmer Fort was prophesized by Krishna. The Rajput king, Jaisul built this beautiful fort after meeting a sage named Eesul who told the king to build a fort on the Trikuta Hill. He added that Krishna, a Yaduvanshi descendant would establish his kingdom on the hill one day.

  Jaisalmer Fort blends perfectly both Muslim and Rajput styles of architecture, thanks to the fact that the fort has been in the hands of many Hindu and Muslim kings who contributed to its architecture from time to time.

  The yellow sandstone that contributes in the main structure of the fort camouflage perfectly by the golden rays of the sun making it almost invisible against the vast spread of the yellow desert. This was intentionally done to protect the fort from any probable enemy attacks.

  The Fort and the surrounding yellow sand dunes create the perfect ambience for desert safari, camel rides as well as a jeep safari. Sand surfing is also an exciting option on the cascading sand of the desert.

  The Jaisalmer Fort is protected by three layers of walls – the first wall is with solid stone blocks to strengthen the foundation, the second wall surrounds the entire fort serving as a defensive barrier, and the third wall was used by the soldiers to hurl boulders or to pour boiling oil on enemies catching them between the second and third layers of wall.

Building inside Jaisalmer Fort
Spectacular Building inside the Fort

Respect of the Buddha in the Fort
Respect of the Buddha in the Fort

Fairs and Festivals Celebrated in the Jaisalmer Fort

The most famous of the fairs and festivals is the popular Camel Fair held during the winters every year. Also known as the Desert Festival, camel dances, camel races, folk dance, and music are performed as major attractions during the celebration.

Jaisalmer Fort – Straight from the Pages of “Arabian Nights”

Want to have an experience amidst the pages of “Arabian Nights”? This is your place to be – the royal Jaisalmer Fort. Standing tall among the largest forts of the world, the Sonar Qila is the most popular landmark of the city Jaisalmer. Unique for being the only living fort in India, and exclusive for being the only fort in Rajasthan that houses museum, shops, restaurant, residential accommodations, hotels and many more.

Visit Jaisalmer Fort to feel the ultimate imperialism – don’t miss the chance to live majestically for at least two days here.

More Popular Attractions in Jaisalmer:

Gadisar Lake

Manak Chowk Market

Sam Sand Dunes