• Luxury Rajasthan Travel - Jaisalmer's Ludwara Jain temple on the edge of the Thar desert
  • Luxury Rajasthan Travel - Jaisalmer the fortified desert town
  • Luxury Rajasthan Travel - light and shadow at the Ludwara Jain temple in Jaisalmer
  • Luxury Rajasthan Travel - Jaisalmer Fort and Palace, the city within its walls
  • Luxury Rajasthan Travel - Jaisalmer stone, ochre in colour and ideal for intricate carvings
  • Luxury Rajasthan travel - including Jaisalmer

  • Luxury Rajasthan travel - including Jaisalmer

  • Luxury Rajasthan travel - including the Ludwara Jain Temple

  • Luxury Rajasthan travel - including The Jaisalmer Fort

  • Luxury Rajasthan travel - including Jaisalmer

Jaisalmer

Climbing out of the Thar desert, the breathtaking Jaisalmer Fort claims its place alongside the other landmark defences of Rajasthan. In many ways the old city appears to be the land that time forgot, with people living and working amongst the narrow streets and ancient buildings. It's quite easy to imagine life when Jaisalmer was an important stop on the trade routes, with camels and other pack animals laden down and winding their way through the twisting streets and alleyways. Now you too can have a taste of that atmosphere on your Rajasthan travel.

In stark contrast, around Jaisalmer there are clear signs of the 21st century, with the emergence of wind turbines helping to provide electricity for this, one of the most remote corners of the State.

More from Jaisalmer

Jasialmer's Jain temples

Jaisalmer also has Jain temples inside the fort and whilst they are recognizable from the outside shape of the buildings, they are different from most Jain temples as they are made from the local yellow sandstone. Inside the carvings are in both sandstone and white marble, including a ceiling piece carved from a large single piece of marble. Its worth remembering that unlike most Jain temples that are only open to visitors in the afternoon, here the visitor hours are in the morning, closing at midday.

Jasialmer - border town

Jaisalmer is about 40 miles from the Pakistan border but they take border control very seriously. The line of wind turbines marching onto the horizon is used to power the Indian army's border controls which include a flood lit 20 mile exclusion zone along the border and there is a heavy army and airforce presence in the city. You need a special permit to enter the exclusion zone so there's no danger of accidentally ending up in another country here.

Jasialmer Fort Palace

The Fort Palace has been converted into a museum in Jaisalmer and has an informative if slightly long winded audio tour included as part of the entrance fee. There are lots of local legends included on the audiotour that explain many of the paintings and the tour is clearly marked with numbered signposts for each track so you can take it at your own pace. Towards the end of the tour is a scale model of the entire fort, carved out of a single piece of sandstone which was constructed using satellite images and laser cutting and puts the fort into perspective. The view from the rooftop also gives spectacular views of the city and its isolation in the middle of the desert.

Jaislamer sandstone

Jaisalmer fort is different from most forts you'll find in Rajasthan as its still lived in by 25% of the towns population. Built by Rawal Jaisal in 1156, the fort is constructed of the local soft yellow sandstone, allowing it a certain amount of camouflage in the desert and for the stone to be carved in fantastic, intricate designs. The fort stands at the top of the Trikuta hill and is the second oldest in Rajasthan. One of the most interesting things to do is take a wander around the side streets and alleyways in the early evening as you'll get an insight into how people live and the locals are friendly and helpful and will direct you to view points up on the ramparts or point out details you might have missed. Another tip to make the most of a walk around Jaisalmer fort is to look up! Shops, homes and cafes that may look unispiring on the ground floor often have stunning windows and balconies, some old, some new but all utterly beautiful. Jaisalmer is nicknamed 'The Golden City' thanks to the soft buttery yellow sandstone it is built from which, depending on the light, can appear to be anything from a dark tawny colour through to bright tumeric yellow to a honey gold as the sun sets. It also develops a glossy sheen when polished, as seen in the gateways leading up to the fort where people have stopped for a rest over the decades.

Jaisalmer - Trio restaurant

The Trio restaurant in the town has a reputation for being the best restaurant in Jaisalmer, with enthusiasts waxing lyrical about the black dahl in the thali. They clearly get a lot of tourist traffic so if you like your Indian food spicy, make sure you tell them at the time of ordering or you may end up with blander “visitor friendly” food. The terrace has a great view of the fort lit up in the evening.

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