Jaisalmer was founded by Rawal Jaisal in 1156 A.D. In 17th century, business and commerce flourished in Jaisalmer due largely to the opening of trade route between India and the rest of Asia. In those days goods were sent through camels to Middle East via Jaisalmer.
Just like other towns of Rajasthan, Jaisalmer was also built centering around the fort or Sonar Kella. To the south of the town there is 76m high Trikut Hill and a fort is situated on it. The security arrangement of the fort is really unique. There are 99 towers, some of which possess canons even today.
Inside the fort there is the Juna Mahal which is famed for its lattice work. To the west is Jenana Mahal. On the upper part of the Hawa Pole there is Rang Mahal which is decorated with glass and murals. The glass mosaic designs of Sarbottam Bilas is a stupendous architectural specimen. The Mote Mahal or Flower Palace in the days of yore used to be the King's Durbar Hall or meeting place. There is also the magnificent Badal Bilas or The Tower of Clouds.
The Parswanathji's temple built way back in 1417 is well known for its architectural marvel. The temples of Rishavnath, Shantinath and Sambhabnath too are very impressive.
One of the attractions of Jaisalmer is the Jinabhadra Suri Gyan Bhandar, which has a rich collection of artifacts, 1126 pages of palm leaf manuscripts and 2257 pages of paper manuscripts.
Today Jaisalmer is the bastion of rich business merchants who have built their palatial havelies, which have been designed by highly skilled artisans.
The superbly built Patwon Ki Haveli, which is all of 5 storied stands gracefully and is renowned for its lattice engravings. There is also the Nathmalji Ki Haveli and its parapets are engraved with a fine collection of miniature paintings. The Gadisagar Lake is another great attraction of Jaisalmer where many famous temples are located. The Fakrole Museum too is worth visiting.
Jaisalmer is world famous for its Desert Festival held on the full moon day in February. The 3 day festival is a riot of colors and stick dance, bhangra dance, bull fight, colorful tableaus are all part of the festival. The spectacular camel races are an integral part of the festival.
There is a majestic picnic spot 9 km West of Jaisalmer on the way to Sam known as Mul Sagar. If you travel 40 kms further you will reach the stupendous Sam Sand Dunes, which is the starting point of Camel Safaris. The sunset at Sam is absolutely ethereal. You can have a date with the Desert Wilderness by visiting the Desert National Park located 9 kms. West of Jaisalmer. The great Indian bustard, chinkaras, black buck, gazels and foxes are some of the resident species of this park.
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