Exploring the Golden City of India – A Guide to the Top Attractions in Jaisalmer

Jaisalmer, nicknamed “The Golden City”, is a popular tourist destination in the western Indian state of Rajasthan. Founded in 1156 AD by Rawal Jaisal Singh, Jaisalmer is renowned for its rich cultural heritage, ancient fortress, breathtaking havelis (mansions), thrilling desert safaris, and mouthwatering cuisine. This blog provides a comprehensive travel guide to help you plan your perfect Jaisalmer vacation and make the most of its top tourist attractions.

Jaisalmer

It also provides information on other popular spots like Nachna Haveli, Vyas Chhatri, Amar Sagar Jain Temple, Kuldhara Village, Tanot Mata Temple, and Longewala Border.

So let’s get started!

How to Reach Jaisalmer

Jaisalmer is well connected by air, rail, and road so you can easily reach here from major Indian cities.

By Air

The Jaisalmer airport is located around 5 km from the main city center. Daily flights operate from Delhi and Jaipur to Jaisalmer. Taxis and auto-rickshaws are easily available outside the airport.

By Train

Jaiselmer railway station has direct trains connecting to Delhi, Jaipur, Jodhpur and other major Indian cities. You can also board the luxury Palace on Wheels train that covers Jaisalmer.

By Road

A good network of state-run and private buses operate Deluxe, Volvo, and luxury coaches to Jaisalmer from Jodhpur (285 km), Jaipur (570 km), Udaipur (310 km), and other cities of Rajasthan. You can also drive down to Jaisalmer by road via a rental car or your own vehicle.

The convenient connectivity makes it easy to reach Jaiselmer.

Best Time to Visit

The period from October to March is the best time to visit Jaisalmer when the weather is pleasant. Summers from April to June can get extremely hot. Winters are quite cold here with the temperature sometimes dropping below 5°C at nighttime.

Jaisalmer

Avoid visiting Jaisalmer during the monsoon months of July-September when the roads get slippery and mosquitoes infest the whole region.

The peak tourist season is from December to February. So if you want to avoid crowds and benefit from lower prices, plan your trip before or after the peak months.

Top 12 Tourist Attractions in Jaisalmer

Here are the top attractions and places that you must visit on your Jaiselmer tour:

1. Gadisar Lake

Built in the 14th century by Maharawal Gadsi Singh, Gadisar Lake was the only source of water for Jaisalmer city during ancient times. This man-made reservoir has a beautiful construction with many small temples and shrines around it.

The entry to the lake is through Tilon ki Pol which is regarded as the ‘Heart of Jaisalmer’. Boating facilities are available on the lake which makes for a romantic escape. You can also take a walking tour of the lake periphery and enjoy snacks and beverages at the lakeside cafes.

Boating in Gadisar Lake

2. Patwon ki Haveli

Regarded as the largest mansion in Rajasthan, Patwon ki Haveli is a cluster of 5 ornately carved havelis built by Guman Chand Patwa in 1805. The havelis have over 60 balconies and arched roofs with intricate architectural designs. One part of the haveli complex has been converted into a museum displaying items of historic importance.

The entry fee is Rs 20 for Indians and Rs 100 for foreigners. Do not miss visiting this important Jaisalmer icon that gives you a peek into the lives of wealthy Rajput families.

Jaisalmer

3. Jaisalmer Fort

Jaiselmer fort, also called the ‘Sonar Quila’ (Golden Fort), is a World UNESCO Heritage Site constructed in 1156 CE by the Bhati Rajput ruler Rao Jaisal. This iconic fort stands tall on Trikuta Hill and has witnessed many battles in the past.

You can visit the Raj Mahal (royal palace) located inside the fort which has a Rs 50 entry fee and showcases the rich history of Jaisalmer rulers. The seven-storied fort also houses many beautiful Jain temples carved out of yellow sandstones. Walking along the fort walls offers stunning panoramic views of Jaisalmer city dotted with stone havelis.

Jaisalmer

4. Enjoy Thrilling Desert Safaris

No trip to Jaiselmer is complete without enjoying desert safaris on camelback or in SUVs. The Sam Sand Dunes located around 40 km from Jaisalmer is the most popular place for desert camps and safaris. Camel rides during sunset among the golden sand dunes make for extremely captivating experiences.

Many safari packages also include cultural performances such as kalbeliya dance, turban tying, juggler shows, and puppetry. Indulge yourself in traditional Rajasthani cuisine at the desert camps followed by a night of folk music and dance under the starlit sky. It is sure to be the highlight of your Jaisalmer trip.

Jaisalmer

5. Camping in Sam Sand Dunes

I booked my night camping in Sam Sand Dunes through a tour operator which cost me Rs 3000 per person. It included pickup-drop, welcome drink, Rajasthani cultural show, dinner and breakfast.

We reached the campsite at sunset. The views of the setting sun over the expansive sand dunes were extremely beautiful. After relaxing for some time in the camps, local musical and dance performances were organized post dinner. Sleeping overnight in luxury tents in the Thar desert under billions of stars was an extremely unique and memorable experience!

Jaisalmer

6. Visit the Jaisalmer War Museum

Devote some time to visit the famous Jaisalmer Museum located around 10 km from the main city. The entry ticket costs Rs 30 and it remains open from 10 am to 6:30 pm.

Built as a tribute to the war heroes of India, the Jaisalmer War Museum has three main sections – (a) Longewala Hall exhibiting photos and equipment used in the 1971 Indo-Pak Battle of Longewala, (b) Indian Army Hall covering history from British rule to Kargil War and (c) Audio-Visual Hall screening patriotic movies on war heroes.

Jaisalmer

You can also view vintage military equipment like tanks, artillery guns, simulators and other war memorabilia that transport you back in history. There is also a cafeteria inside the museum complex to relish refreshments.

7. Marvel at the Bada Bagh Cenotaphs

Drive 6 km north of Jaiselmer city to visit the Bada Bagh garden complex housing royal Chattris (Cenotaphs) of Maharajas and other nobles. Built in the memory of Maharaja Jai Singh II, there are over 20 beautifully carved Chattris in Bada Bagh that make for excellent photo backdrops. The place has spectacular sunset views.

Jaisalmer

8. Enjoy the Local Vegetarian Cuisine

Jaiselmer has a lot to offer food lovers. Some must-try local dishes include Dal Bati Churma, Murgh-e-Subz (Green Chicken), Ker Sangri (special desert beans), and Laal Maas (Spicy Red Meat).

For the best dining experience in Jaisalmer, visit Restaurant Trio located opposite the fort and Cafe The Kaku near Gadisar Lake.

Jaisalmer

Other Attractions to Cover

If time permits, also explore these spots located within 100 km radius of Jaisalmar:

  • Amar Sagar Jain Temple – Built in 1928, it is dedicated to Lord Parshavanath
  • Kuldhara – The abandoned haunted village established in 1291 CE
  • Tanot Mata Temple – Survived bombardment of 3000 bombs dropped by Pakistan in the 1965 war
  • Longewala Border Post – Visit the battle site of the 1971 Indo-Pak war
  • Vyas Chhatri – Cenotaphs with sunset point built in honor of Sage Vyas

So this completes my recommended itinerary to cover Jaisalmeer’s top attractions. The desert city has plenty of magnificent sites that provide a peek into Rajasthan’s rich history and culture. Exploring them by foot is the best way to absorb the vibe of the place. I hope you found this travel guide useful. Let me know in comments if you need any other Jaisalmer trip information!

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some commonly asked questions about traveling to Jaisalmer:

How many days are enough to visit Jaisalmer?

2-3 days are sufficient to leisurely explore Jaisalmer’s top attractions. Within this time you can cover the fort, lakes, temples, havelis, museums and also enjoy camel safaris in the desert.

What is famous to buy in Jaisalmer?

Popular things to shop in Jaisalmer include Bandhej sarees and fabrics, hand embroidered textiles, silver jewellery, carved wooden souvenirs, antique items, oil lamps, puppets, mojris and traditional Rajasthani attire.

Is alcohol available in Jaisalmer?

Yes, you can find restaurants and hotels serving alcohol in Jaisalmer as it is a popular tourist destination. However, consumption at public places is prohibited.

How far is Longewala border from Jaisalmer?

The Longewala border post is located around 100 km from Jaisalmer city. It is the site where the famous Battle of Longewala was fought during the 1971 India-Pakistan war.

What can we see in Kuldhara village?

Kuldhara is an abandoned haunted village established in 1291 AD that was suddenly vacated by Paliwal Brahmins under mysterious circumstances. You can see the ruins of homes and buildings giving it a ghost town feeling.

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