Jaisalmer Fort – The Golden Fortress
The glorious Jaisalmer Fort is located in Rajasthan. It is believed to be one of the largest forts of the world. Rao Jaisal, a Bhati Rajput ruler built it in the year 1156 AD and thats how it is named after him. The fort is located on the Trikuta Hill, surrounded by the great Thar Desert, which has witnessed many a battles. The Fort is also referred to as ‘Sonar Qila’ or ‘Golden Fort’ due to the immense use of yellow sandstone. It is one of the most stunning monuments located right at the heart of City in Rajasthan. The beauty of the fort takes you by surprize and leaves lasting footprints on your mind. It deserves a special mention. The best time to visit Jaisalmer is from October to March.
Climatic conditions – Jaisalmer is typically a desert and has an arid climate. It gets really hot during the summers from April – August. In the winters, it feels pretty cool during the day and pleasant at night. At times, it might also get chilly. Being a desert, the rainfall is negligible.
How To Reach Jaisalmer -:
- By Road – Many deluxe and semi-deluxe buses are available from Jaipur, Ajmer & Bikaner to Jaisalmer. The inter-state buses connect Jaisalmer to other cities.
- By Air – The nearest airport is in Jodhpur and one can take a taxi from here. Jaisalmer is 285 Kms from Jodhpur. Jodhpur is also connected to Jaipur and Delhi by air.
- By Rail – Railway station is one of the significant stations of Western Railways. It is well-connected to all cities of India.
The Story Behind Jaisalmer Fort
The city played a key role in trade with countries like Arabia, Persia, Africa and Egypt during the medieval period. There are three layers of walls in the fort. The lower layer or the outer-most layer is made of solid blocks of stone and it strengthens the unconsolidated fragments of the Trikuta Hill. The middle or second wall serves as a boundary all around the fort. This is how the fort is protected by three walls. It is believed that the Rajput warriors had once thrown boiling hot water and oil along with solid blocks of rock at the enemies, who became entrapped between the middle and outer most walls.
In the 13th century, Alaudin Khilji captured the fort and held it for nine years. Many Rajput women committed Jauhar during this period. In 1541, the second battle took place in this fort when it was attacked by Humayun, the mughal emperor.
Important Places To Visit-:
- Raj Mahal (The Royal palace) – Constructed in 1500 AD, it is one of the most spectacular structures, in terms of architecture. It is surrounded by beautiful green lawns and graceful gardens. It has seven storeys. It is best known for its lattice work. Members of the royal family used to live here.
- Jain temples – These were built between the 12th and 15th century. They are devoted to the Jain hermits (Tirthankars)- Shambhavdev ji and Rikhabdev ji. They have been built in the Delwara style and have human and animal figures carved on the walls. These temples are also made from yellow sandstone.
- The Laxminath Temple- The Laxminath Temple is devoted to Lord Vishnu and Goddess Laxmi. Tourists and devotees flock to this temple in large numbers to view this marvelous temple which has a spartan look. It has a beautiful entrance which has been decorated with silver framework. This temple was built in 1494 during the reign of Rao Lunkaran. Maharaja Ganga Singhji later renovated it but the deity of Vishnu and Lakshmi were installed by a Brahmin – Sen Pal Shakdvipi.
- 4 Massive Gateways – These gates have been named Hava Pol, Ganesh Pol, Akshaye Pol and Suraj Pol. The Akshaye Pol which is situated on the eastern side of the fort is the main entrance. Suraj Pol which is across the road was built by Maharawal Bhim. It is surrounded by 99 heavy bastions, out of which 92 were built between 1633-47. The Suraj Pol adorned with an image of the Sun and Lord Ganesha. The Hawa Pol or wind Gate is a huge gateway which was built in the 17th century. It is connected to the palace and a courtyard which is called Dussedra Chowk. Another massive gateway which is also embellished with a figure of Lord Ganesha is the Ganesha Pol.
- Merchant Havelis – The wealthy merchants of North India used to build large houses often called Havelis and decorated them with carvings of sandstone. There are many havelis which are more than one hundred years old. Some havelis have been converted into museums, while there are others where the original families still live. One such haveli is the Vyas Haveli of the 15th century and another is Shree Nath Palace. Many of these havelis have innumerable rooms and many floors. These havelis were designed by Muslim and Hindu craftsmen.
The Jaisalmer Fort is the only fort in the world, where people still live. It is also believed that at one point of time, the entire population of Jaisalmer had stayed in this fort. Due to the increasing population, some people shifted outside and found space at the tip of Trikuta Hill. This magnificent fort is a must visit since it gives a glimpse of Rajasthan’s rich cultural heritage