Jaisalmer Fort is in the city of Jaisalmer, Rajasthan and is also one of the oldest forts in the state. Almost one-fourth of the old city’s population still lives inside the fort. It is known to be the only “living forts” in the world. For the most part of the history, the whole city of Jaisalmer was in the fort. The very first settlements were made in the 17th century to shelter the growing communities of Jaisalmer.
It was established by Rajput ruler- Jaisal in 1156 CE and hence derives its name from him. It’s gigantic yellow sandstone walls look tawny lion color in the day time and becomes honey-gold during sunsets, camouflages the fort with the desert. Because of this, it is also called the ‘Sonar Quila’ or ‘Golden Fort’. It was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with five other hill forts of Rajasthan.
How to reach Jaisalmer
From Delhi, It is about 825 KM. You can go to Jaisalmer by train. There are plenty of trains. You can book your Train Ticket at MakeMyTrip. Alternatively, there are flights up to Jodhpur. From Jodhpur, one can go by Taxi. It takes about 4 hours. Flights can be booked through Make My Trip at a discounted price by using MakeMyTrip Flight Coupon Code.
History of Jaisalmer Fort
According to the legends, the fort was constructed by a Bhati ruler – Rawal Jaisal. Near 1293-94, Rawal Jethsi suffered a siege for 8-9 years by Sultan Alauddin Khilji of Delhi as revenge. After facing defeat, the male warriors died in the battle and the women committed Jauhar. The fort remained abandoned for a few years and eventually got reoccupied by some Bhatis.
Around 1530–1551 during Rawal Lunakaran’s reign the fort was attacked by Amir Ali. When it seemed that they are fighting a losing battle, the women of their community were slaughtered by him as there wasn’t enough time to conduct a Jauhar. Fortunately, help arrived right after that and the army of Jaisalmer successfully defended the fort.
It is said that Humayun also attacked the fort. Rawal Lunakaran fought with him. Later there was some talk about the marriage of his daughter to Akbar. Hence, the Mughals ruled the fort till 1762. It was under the Mughals until 1762 when Maharawal Mulraj took over. From 1818, Mulraj controlled the fort and protected it from invasion. This was the result of the treaty between him and the East India Company. After his death in 1820, his grandson Gaj Singh got control of the fort.
The British rule led to an emergence of trade and later growth of the port of Bombay resulted in the gradual economic decline of the city. After independence, the ancient trade route was closed and it did not hold up as a military post, Jaisalmer is still able to earn revenues through tourism.
Please see the following image of Jaisalmer Fort during night time.
Structure of Jaisalmer Fort
The fort is 1,500 ft in length and 750 ft in width. It stands on the Trikuta Hill which from the ground that extends across the great Thar Desert in the southern part of the city. The base has a 15 ft tall outermost wall within its triple ringed architecture. The upper bastions form a defensive inner which is 4 km long.
The fort has:
- 99 bastions and four entrances from the town side.
- There are four gateways located along the main way to the citadel.
- The Raj Mahal palace where the former Maharawal of Jaisalmer used to live.
- 7 Jain Temples built during 12-16th century by the yellow sandstone. There are more than 600 idols with several old scriptures.
- The Laxminath temple of Jaisalmer to worship Lakshmi and Vishnu.
- Numerous Havelis- There are large houses decorated with sandstone carvings. Some of them are now museums but most of them are occupied by the families that built them.
- The King of Jaisalmer used to stay at the Shree Nath Palace.
Places to Visit in Jaisalmer
1. Desert Safari in Jaisalmer
2. Indo Pak Border
3. Gadisar Lake
4. Jain Temples in Jaisalmer
5. Kuldhara Village
6. Tazia Tower and Badal Palace
7. Bada Bagh
9. Desert National Park
10. Windmill Park
13. Sam Sand Dunes
14. Desert Culture Centre and Museum
15. Nathmal Ki Haveli
16. Jaisalmer Government Museum
17. Patwon ki Haveli
18. Salim Singh ki Haveli
19. Tanot Mata Temple
20. Mandir Palace
21. Ramdevra Temple
22. Akal Wood Fossil Park
23. Jaisalmer War Museum
24. Amar Sagar Lake
25. Vyas Chhatri
26. Desert Festival
27. Khaba Fort
29. Thar Heritage Museum
30. Surya Gate
31. Shantinath Temple
32. Tazia Tower
33. Chandraprabhu Temple
34. Camping & Cultural Evening
35. Pokhran Fort
36. Pachpadra Lake
37. Parasailing in Jaisalmer
38. Quad Biking in Jaisalmer
39. Dune Bashing
Do visit the main attraction of Jaisalmer city when you visit it!