Jaisalmer Travel Information

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Introduction

Jaisalmer, exotic, remote, and beautiful, is a bit of a paradox. Set so deep in the heart of the desert that one would expect barren near-desolation, this frontier town is today one of Rajasthan's best-loved tourist destinations. Local colour and warmth prevail over the inhospitable and forbidding terrain, imbuing the medieval town with a special magic.

Jaisalmer was founded in 1156 AD by Rawal Jaisal, a descendent of the Yadav clan and a Bhati Rajput, on a hill called Trikuta as the new capital of his territory. In medieval times, its prosperity was due to its location on the main trade route linking India to Egypt, Arabia, Persia, Africa and the West. The narrow streets in the old walled city still preserve a traditional way of life with craftsmen still working at the ancient crafts of weaving and stone carving, the making of silver jewellery and embroidery. And the stately, nonchalant camel is everywhere.  Walking through Jaisalmer one ends up savouring the medieval glory of old Rajasthan, a marvellously rewarding travel experience.Winter is the perfect time to visit for it is then that Jaisalmer's.
Jaisalmer is a combination of culture and harsh climatic conditions, together amounting to a memorable experience for the visitor.

Climate: Jaisalmer is given to extremities in weather. With temperatures in summer ranging from a minimum of 20°C to a maximum of 49°C, summers are not the preferred months for travel. The winters though, with temperatures hovering between maximum temperatures within mid twenties to 5-6°C at the lowest are a great time to visit.

Best time to visit: An extensive green cover ensures a pleasant season during spring and early winter. The best season to visit the city though remains between October and March.

Places of interest

Salem Singh Haveli

It is at an unhurried pace that the havelis (houses of rich merchants) should be seen and admired. These havelis are the pride of Jaisalmer architecture, a part of the national heritage. Salem Singh haveli, at the eastern end of the city, is an Arabian Nights structure, which, like a wild flower, blossoms at the top. Salem Singh Haveli It is at an unhurried pace that the havelis (houses of rich merchants) should be seen and admired. These havelis are the pride of Jaisalmer architecture, a part of the national heritage. Salem Singh haveli, at the eastern end of the city, is an Arabian Nights structure, which, like a wild flower, blossoms at the top.


Patwon ki Haveli

Near the city center is the Patwon ki Haveli, built by Guman Chand Patwa and his five sons, dealers in brocade, gold and silver embroidery with business stretching between Afghanistan and China. The five suites built between 1800 and 1860 are virtually the showpiece of Jaisalmer's legendary architectural wealth. The carving on stone far surpasses in beauty the work on brocade and gold. The balconies are so delicately chiseled you would stand mesmerized by the splendor of it all, particularly when viewed early in the morning or in late afternoon. Oblique sunrays create enchanting and dramatic shadows, highlighting the carving and infusing a new life of its own. It is the grandest mansion in Jaisalmer, a veritable museum piece in the open.

Nathmal Haveli

The third haveli belongs to Nathmal, a later day prime minister who gifted it to the Rawal and was allowed to retain it. Built by two brothers in 1885, this haveli has two identical looking portions, which are in fact two different parts united by a common façade. Look for the projected balconies wh9ch seem to emerge from books of poetry. So ethereal, so charming. The carving never looked better. A perfect example of jeweler's art applied to stone carving. The Muslim silavats (artisans) did a wonderful job here and left a marvelous legacy of craftsmanship excellent in detail and flawless in conception. If only for viewing these havelis a trip to Jaisalmer is more than amply rewarded.

Special Festivals

The Jaisalmer Desert Festival
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Desert Festival, celebrated in January/ February. The desert seems to bloom in a thousand colours with the colourful costumes of the locals and the decorations on the camels. There are camel races and folk dances, craft bazaars and traditional ballad singing, a sound and light spectacle on the sand-dunes of Sam on the full moon night of Purnima; and all the colour and excitement of the best in Rajasthan - folk dances, exciting competitions and contests, especially the turban-tying contest , the light-hearted Mr. Desert contest and camel races enhance the festivities.

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