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Jaisalmer City Tour Guide


Jaisalmer is a region of southwestern Rajasthan state in western India. It lies in the southern part of Thar Desert. Region includes the present-day Jaisalmer District. It is bounded on the north by Jangladesh region, on the east by Marwar region.

 

Geography
Jaisalmer is almost entirely a sandy waste, forming a part of the great Indian desert. The general aspect of the area is that of an interminable sea of sandhills, of all shapes and sizes, some rising to a height of 150 ft.
Those in the west are covered with log bushes, those in the east with tufts of long grass. Water is scarce, and generally brackish; the average depth of the wells is said to be about 250 ft. There are no perennial streams, and only one small river, the Kakni, which, after flowing a distance of 28 m., spreads over a large surface of flat ground, and forms a lake orjhil called the Bhuj-Jhil. The climate is dry and healthy. Throughout Jaisalmer only raincrops, such as bajra, joar, motif, til, etc., are grown; spring crops of wheat, barley, etc., are very rare. Owing to the scant rainfall, irrigation is almost unknown.


The majority of any inhabitants of Jaisalmer are Bhati Rajputs, who take their name from an ancestor named Bhatti, renowned as a warrior when the tribe were located in the Punjab. Shortly after this the clan was driven
southwards, and found a refuge in the Indian desert, which was henceforth its home. The Maharajas of Jaisalmer trace their lineage back to Jaitsimha, a ruler of the Bhati Rajput clan. Deoraj, a famous prince of the Bhati family, is esteemed the real founder of the Jaisalmer dynasty, and with him the title of rawal commenced. In 1156 Rawal Jaisal, the sixth in succession from Deoraj, founded the fort and city of Jaisalmer, and made it his capital as he moved from his former capital at Lodhruva (which is situated about 15 km to the south-east of Jaisalmer).

The major opponents of the Bhati Rajputs were the powerful Rathor clans of Jodhpur and Bikaner. They used to fight battles for the possession of forts, waterholes or cattle. Jaisalmer was positioned strategically and was a
halting point along a traditional trade route traversed by the camel caravans of Indian and Asian merchants. The route linked India to Central Asia, Egypt, Arabia, Persia, Africa and the West.

During the Islamic invasion of India, Jaisalmer escaped direct Muslim conquest due to its geographical situation in the desert region. The Rawals of Jaisalmer agreed to pay an annual tribute to the Delhi Sultans. The first siege of Jaisalmer occurred during the reign of Alauddin Khilji. It was provoked by Bhatis' raid on a caravan filled with reasure. According to local ballads, the Bhatis defended the fort for seven years until the enemy army forced beached the ramparts. In 1294, the Bhatis so enraged the emperor Ala-ud-din Khilji that his army captured and sacked the fort and city of Jaisalmer, so that for some time it was quite deserted. Bhatis, facing certain defeat, proclaimed the rite of jauhar.

Later, Sultan Ferozshah also sieged Jaisalmer after the rulers of Jaisalmer raided his camp at Anasagar lake near Ajmer. The siege led to another jauhar. Jaitsimha's son Duda perished in the attack. Duda's descendants ruled over Jaisalmer for about two centuries. Duda's descendant Lunakarna had a fight with Humayun when the latter passed through Jaisalmer en route to Ajmer. Mughal emperor Akbar was married to one of the Jaisalmer princesses.

Later, Jaisalmer was ruled by a noble called Sahal Singh, whose reign marks an epoch in Bhati history in that he acknowledged the supremacy of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. The Jaisalmer princes had now arrived at the
height of their power, but from this time till the accession of Rawal Mulraj in 1762 the fortunes of the state rapidly declined, and most of its outlying provinces were lost.

In 1818 Mulraj entered into political relations with the British. Jaisalmer was one of the last states to sign a treaty with the British. During the British Raj, Jaisalmer was the seat of a princely state of the same name,
ruled by the Bhati clan of rajputs. Maharawal Salivahan, born in 1887, succeeded to the chiefship in 1891.
The present descendant of the ancient dynasty is Brijraj Singh. Though the country is under the governance of the Government of India, a lot of welfare work is carried out by him and his family. The Royal Family still commands a lot of respect from the people.

Origin of name
Jaisalmer is named after its founder Rawal Jaisal (see History). "Jaisalmer" means "the Hill Fort of Jaisal". Jaisalmer is also called as the Golden city of India because the yellow sand gives a yellowish-golden touch to the city & its surrounding area.

Geography
Jaisalmer is located at 26.92 N 70.9 E.[1] It has an average elevation of 229 metres (751 feet).

Jaisalmer is situated on the border of India and Pakistan in West Rajasthan. The area of Jaisalmer is 5.1 km. The maximum summer temperature is around 41.6 C while the minimum is 25 C. The maximum winter temperature is 23.6 C while the minimum is 7.9 C. The average rainfall is 150 mm. Jaisalmer is almost entirely a sandy waste, forming a part of the great Indian desert. The general aspect of the area is that of an interminable sea of sandhills, of all shapes and sizes, some rising to a height of 150 ft. Those in the west are covered with log bushes, those in the east with tufts of long grass. Water is scarce, and generally brackish; the average depth of
the wells is said to be about 250 ft. There are no perennial streams, and only one small river, the Kakni, which, after flowing a distance of 28 m., spreads over a large surface of flat ground, and forms a lake orjhil called
the Bhuj-Jhil. The climate is dry and healthy. Throughout Jaisalmer only raincrops, such as bajra, joar, motif, til, etc., are grown; spring crops of wheat, barley, etc., are very rare. Owing to the scant rainfall, irrigation
is almost unknown.

Tourism
While Jaisalmer may always have been remote, it is filled with many artistic structures and monuments of local historical importance. Jaisalmer's medieval mud fortress and walled township make it a popular tourist destination. The surrounding desolate landscape evidences a stark, austere beauty. Camel safaris through the nearby desert dunes are popular with tourists; competition for business is fierce. A few quiet days spent
wandering around the town and the surrounding desert can be a wonderful way of unwinding from the chaos of larger Indian cities.

Visitor attractions

Jaisalmer Fort
Built in 1156 by the Bhati Rajput ruler Jaisal, it is situated on Trikuta Hill and had been the scene of many battles. Its massive sandstone walls are a tawny lion color during the day, turning to a magical honey-gold as the sun sets. The famous Indian film director Satyajit Ray wrote a detective novel and later turned it into a film - Sonar Kella (The Golden Fortress) which was based on this fort. This is a living fort and about a quarter of
city's population still live inside the fort. The main attractions inside the fort are: Raj Mahal (Royal palace), Jain temples and the Laxminath temple.

Havelis
The main havelis in Jaisalmer are:
Patwon-ki-Haveli: Built by Guman Chand Patwa (and later by his five sons), a wealthy merchant and banker who had over three hundred trading centres from Afghanistan to China. This ornate five-storey complex took fifty years to complete. This is the largest, the most magnificent, and the most elaborate of Jaisalmer havelis.

Salim Singh-ki-Haveli: It was built by the scheming Prime Minister Salim Singh in 1815. It has a beautifully arched roof capped with blue cupolas and carved brackets in the form of peacocks.

Nathmalji-ki-Haveli: Bult by a Prime Minister of princely state of Jaisalmer. Its facade is a riot of ornamentation: flowers, birds, elephants, soldiers, a bicycle and even a steam engine.

Museums
Desert Culture Centre & Museum
Jaisalmer Folklore Museum
Government Museum

Other
Gadsisar Lake
Excavated in 1367 by Rawal Gadsi Singh, it is a scenic rainwater lake surrounded by small temples and shrines.

In neighbourhood
Bhattiani Sati Rani
Bada Bagh
Bada Bagh Panorama in the afternoon
Amar Sagar
Lodhruva
Mool Sagar
Kuldhara
Desert National Park
Sam sand dunes
Khuri village
Akal Wood fossil Park

Desert festival
This is held over three days in Jan/Feb every year. This is the best time to visit Jaisalmer to witness many performing arts like Kalbelia dances and folk songs and music.

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