The Golden city of Jaisalmer, Rajasthan
Departing from Jodhpur around mid-morning, we reached Jaisalmer after a good five-hour drive. Although the journey was not arduous, we were quite tired as it was sunny and hot throughout the trip and the fairly chilled room at the Hotel Gulaal came as a welcome change for us. After spending an entire evening in the comforting interiors of the Hotel, we were ready to explore and enjoy the Golden City of Jaisalmer the next morning.
Jaisalmer city as the name suggests is an endless sight of yellow sandstone structures located in the heart of the Thar Desert. The city can easily be explored by foot and in every corner one will find traditional Rajasthani flavor and also unique architectural sights. Our first destination was the famous landmark of the city, the Fort of Jaislamer, a massive fort standing atop the Trikuta hill. It was built in 1156 AD by the then ruler of Jaisalmer, Rawal Jaisal and is one of the oldest existing forts of Rajasthan. The fort is a maze of narrow streets and alleys with several street shops selling souvenirs and we were quite amazed when we learnt that there are more than 2000 people residing within this ancient fort even today.
Compared to the organized tour of the Mehrangarh Fort, we found it tad bit difficult to explore this place, as we could not find any information office. After some aimless wandering we had to concede defeat and take up one of the local guides to show us around. He conducted a detailed tour of the seven Jain Temples and the Raj Mahal (Royal Palace).
The Jain Temples were built as a part of relocation of the prayer place for the community after the numerous attacks on Lodurva Jain temple and hence one can see similarity in the architecture of both the temples. We loved how they tried to recreate the beautiful artwork of the ancient temple and also further adding on some new artistic elements.
We then moved on to the Raj Mahal, which is now the Jaisalmer Fort Palace and Heritage Centre, located at the main chowk of the fort. It is a five-storied structure of intricate sandstone carvings on the walls, windows and ceilings. The palace lacks the decorative mirror work or colourful paintings usually found in Rajathani palaces, however the skilled craftsmanship on the stones gives somewhat a rustic charm to the place.
Outfit details: Suma: Tee: Forever21, Trousers and scarf: Zara Hema: Dhoti pants Jaypore, Top: H&M, Scarf: Darjeeling Market
After the Raj Mahal, our guide walked us around the Queen’s Palace, The Rani Mahal, which however is along stretch of various rooms sans all the grandeur and glory one expects in queens quarters. Completing the tour of the palace, we walked along the narrow streets passing some old houses that were just as beautiful to look at. At the end of the street our guide took us to the old cannon point where could catch a 360 degree view of the city. The Jaisalmer fort along with five other ancient forts of Rajasthan (Hill forts of Rajasthan) was declared as UNESCO World Heritage Site in the year 2013 for it’s extensively planned architecture.
As we had visited Jaisalmer during the colourful festival of Holi, the markets were filled with vendors selling various colours and little kids messing around and playing Holi. The city celebrates the festival in a merry way with everyone gathering at the fort and smearing each other with colours. Although we could not participate in the festivities in the fort, our Hotel organized a special celebration for all the guests and we got to enjoy a fun-filled Holi with them on our last day in the city.