Jaisalmer Fort is the second largest fort in India located at the heart of Jaisalmer town. This is one of the forts that is well preserved and the locals also call it as the only “living” fort. That is because there are quite a few people who still live in that fort. The fort has several houses, guest houses, restaurants, shops, temples and so on. The fort is still used by the people just the way it was used centuries ago when it was built!
Jaisalmer Fort is built on a natural high platform made of soil. The super strong walls of the fort were built using the golden sandstone that is available in this region. When the sun reflects its light on the stone, it gives a golden look. The color of the stone is preserved even after so many years, which is a natural wonder! During the day, the fort bears a liony-yellow color, and during the sunset/sunrise time, it bears a honey-yellow color, beautifully camouflaging the surrounding Thar desert filled with yellow sand! Due to this, it is also called Golden Fort or Sonar Quila.
Near the entrance to the fort
Jaisalmer Fort was built by the first ruler of Jaisalmer, Rawal Jaisal, after whom the fort and the city are named. The fort then changed hands several times over a period. From Alaudin Khilji, Humayun, Akbar, Maharawal Mulraj, Gaj Singh were all once the rulers from this fort. This fort also served as a refuge spot during the ancient trade route which is now called as Silk Route. However, this route gradually declined in economic importance after British developed several ports for the trade.
Three layers of wall
One of the entry gates to the fort (Ganesh Pol)
Although at one time the whole town of Jaisalmer lived within this fort, today, the population of Jaisalmer has grown a lot. Of the nearly 80000 people, only about 4000 still live inside the fort. The local administration do not allow people to buy or sell houses, or guest houses within the fort, and thus it is well preserved within the descendants or earlier residents only.
Shopping at Jaisalmer Fort
Jain Temple at Jaisalmer Fort
Artistic Jain Temple
Inside Jain Temple
Jaisalmer Fort is about 1500 ft long, 750 ft wide and built on Trikuta Hill that is at a height of 250 ft. The fort has four entrance doors and are named Ganesh Pol, Rang Pol, Bhoota Pol and Hava Pol. These entrance gates are well sculpted with a beautiful and elegant design. There are several havelis (palaces) that are decorated with well carved doors, windows, archways and balconies. All the carvings are handmade and most of them are preserved from the ancient times. While the newer constructions had carvings from machines, you can easily distinguish the machine-made carvings from the man-made ones. The man-made ones still look much more elegant!!
One of the well carved Guest Houses inside the fort
As the fort is located on hill, there are several places in the fort where you can step up and get a glimpse of the whole town of Jaisalmer. It is a spectacular sight to observe all the building in the town are made up of the yellow sandstone and gives the city a “golden” look. It is due to this reason that Jaisalmer is also called “Golden City”.
Where to Stay?
- Tents or mud cottages at Sam Desert
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