Jaisalmer India  Jaisalmer, the “Golden City”, is located on the westernmost frontier of Rajasthan India. It is close to the border with Pakistan. This city is known for its proximity to the Thar Desert. You may enjoy the desert safari in the exotic sand dunes that is an unforgettable experience. Jaisalmer city is dominated by the Jaisalmer Fort, that is the living fort in India unlike most of the forts. You may find shops, hotels and historical havelis inside the fort. It was once a sleepy desert city that has transformed itself into one of the major tourist destinations in India. It is located amid picturesque Thar Desert.

Jaisalmer the beautiful desert city is an important tourist attraction with its ultimate sand dunes and thrilling camel safaris. The city is strategically situated on the international border is drought-prone desert backwater. The completion of a railroad in 1968 connected this remote town with the rest of India. This important rail link helped to develop this beautiful desert city an important tourist attraction of India. At present it is one of the major tourist destinations of India. It is also known for its historical mansions that are known as Havelis too. There are many Havelis but Salim Singh ji ki haveli and Nathmal ji ki haveli have their own significance. In 1156 Rawal Jaisal established his new capital in the form of a mud fort and named it Jaisalmer after him. During the Islamic invasion of India, Jaisalmer escaped direct Muslim conquest due to its geographical isolation and the natural protection provided by the desert. Territorial stability was obtained during the reign of Maharawal Mulraj (1762 to 1819) when in 1818 he signed a treaty with the British, which protected Jaisalmer from invasion provided it was not the aggressor and guaranteed the royal succession. Jaisalmer was one of the last Rajput states to sign a treaty with the British. The Royal Family still commands a lot of respect from the people.

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Jaisalmer consists important historical monuments and mesmerizing sand dunes. Jaisalmer Fort is the most imposing among all monuments and Havelis towering above the city. Three are following sightseeing attractions of Jaisalmer to give an idea about the treasures of this beautiful tourist city in India.

Jaisalmer Fort: Rajput ruler Jaisala built this fort in 1156. It is one of the best attractions in Jaisalmer. It is the yellow fortress, which rises above the city on Trikuta Hill. It is surrounded by 99 bastions and high walls. It is the erstwhile residence that is still inhabited by nearly a quarter of Jaisalmer’s population. This fort contains one third of the city’s population within the small houses on the narrow lanes. Many houses provide budget accommodation to visitors and house curio shops. This fort is entered through a forbidding series of massive gates leading to a large courtyard. It stands proudly amidst the golden stretches of Thar Desert. This historic fort has been the scene of many battles. Its yellow sandstone walls are a tawny lion color during the day, fading to honey-gold as the sunsets, thereby camouflaging the fort in the yellow desert. Hence it is also known as the “Golden Fort”.

Palaces Inside the Jaisalmer Fort: The fort has five palaces called Sarvottam Vilas, Akhai Vilas, Gaj Mahal, Rang Mahal and Moti Mahal. These palaces are interconnected behind the seven-storied facade.

Sarvottam Vilas: The seven-storied palace complex has several interconnected palaces built between 16th and 19th centuries. It was built in mid-18th century that stands out with its blue tiles and glass mosaic work.

Rang Mahal: It was built by Mool Raj II has some exquisite murals painted on arches and spandrels. There were music and dances soirees were held for royal ladies. You may enjoy a terrific view of the mammoth ramparts from the balconies.

Jain Temples: The rich and influential Jain community was the financers of Rajputs. This community enjoyed special status among Rajput royals and was given full religious liberty in that period. They built many temples in and around Jaisalmer. The Jain Hermits built these ancient and impressive Dilwara style temples dating back to the 12th century. You will find three beautifully carved Jain temples dedicated to Rikhabdev and Sambhavanth along with the Astapadhi temple within Jaisalmer Fort complex built between 12th and 15th centuries. You will also find the emerald icon of Lord Mahavira that is an unparalleled gem. The walls of the sanctum are carved with animal and human figures.

Shitalnath Temple: The 16th century Shitalnath temple is one of seven Jain temples within the Golden Fort. It was built in 1536 A.D that is dedicated to the 10th Tirthankara, Shri Shitalnath. This temple is known for its Rajput style architecture and religious significance. You will find an attractive idol of Shitalnath, which has been molded from 8 precious metals.

Salem Singh Haveli: This beautiful 300 yrs old Haveli is located at the eastern end of the city that looks like a wild flower blossoms at the top. A part of this Haveli is still occupied. Salim Singh commissioned this haveli, the then Prime Minister of the kingdom under king Rawal Gaj Singh. This haveli has a distinct architecture; the arched roof has brackets and has been constructed in the form of a peacock. Two large tuskers made of sand stone guard the haveli’s entrance. The haveli consists of 38 balconies and each one is distinctly designed. The front facade of the haveli resembles a ship stern hence it is sometimes referred as Jahazmahal. This beautiful Haveli (mansion) in yellow stone is covered with intricate carvings that have an elaborate projecting balcony on the top. This mansion is one of the most notable of the array of Havelis. As stories go, it is believed that at one point of time this haveli had two additional wooden stories. That made the haveli as high as the king’s palace. The king got displeased and got the upper story demolished. The existing haveli has been built on the remains of the older haveli.

Patwon-Ki-Haveli: Guman Chand Patwa and his five sons, dealers in brocade, gold and silver embroidery built this haveli who had business that stretched up to Afghanistan and China. These five wonderfully ornate houses built between 1800 and 1860 are inter connected from inside that are virtually the showpiece of Jaisalmer’s legendary architectural wealth. It is the grandest mansion in the city that is a veritable museum piece in the open. The carving on stone surpasses in beauty the work on brocade and gold. The balconies are delicately chiseled which can mesmerize you particularly when viewed early in the morning or in late afternoon. This is one of the largest, magnificent and elaborate Havelis in Jaisalmer that stands in a narrow lane. It has exquisitely carved pillars, extensive corridors and chambers. There are remnants of beautiful paintings and mirror work on some of the walls. It is divided into six apartments, two owned by archaeological Survey of India, two by families who operate craft-shops and two private homes. There is Basant Art Emporium inside the haveli that is one of the best places for regional handicrafts.

Nathmalji ki Haveli: This haveli was the residence of Diwan Mohata Nathmal, who was the then Prime Minister of Jaisalmer. This late 19th century Haveli with intricate architecture is the display of sheer craftsmanship that was constructed by two architect brothers in 1885. It has two identical portions, which are in fact two different parts united by a common facade. You may see the projected balconies, which seem to emerge from books of poetry, ethereal and charming. It is the perfect example of jeweler’s art applied to stone carving. The Muslim artisans did a wonderful job and left an admirable legacy of craftsmanship excellence that is flawless. The interior walls are decorated with splendid miniature paintings. There are two life-size elephants made of yellow stone stand guarding the Haveli. There are pictures of horses, cattle and various flowers engraved on pillars and walls. The unusual thing about this haveli is that there are the drawings of modern amenities such as cars and fans etc that were never seen by architect brothers in real life; but they engraved these merely by listening to descriptions given by the people who had seen these amenities.

Gadsisar Lake: This lake is one of the major tourist attractions of Jaisalmer. It is a water conservation tank constructed around 1400 A.D by the then king of Jaisalmer, Maharwal Gadsi Singh. This lake used to be the main source of drinking water that controlled the entire supply of water to the arid city. A royal courtesan built the beautiful gateway that arches across the road down to the lake in late 19th century that is flanked by temples, gardens and flowerbeds. It is a scenic rainwater lake with many beautiful temples around. The lake is an idyllic spot. If you are visiting in winters, you might see a variety of migratory birds since it is close to Bharatpur.

Amar Sagar Lake: This lake is located 7 kms to the west of Jaisalmer. It is a small and beautiful lake cum oasis and is adjacent to a 17th Century palace named Amar Singh Palace. Maharawal Akhai Singh built this palace in honor of one of his predecessors Amar Singh. Next to the palace are pavilions with a large stairs leading down to the Amar Sagar Lake. The Amar Sagar is a five-storied haveli that is famous for its impressive murals. Amar Sagar has a grand artificial reservoir for water, an old lord Shiv temple and a promenade on the bank.

Mool Sagar: It is a panoramic picnic spot that was built in 1780 A.D by Maharawal Mool Raj. It is a popular spot for tourists and locals. Mool Sagar is the majestic reservoir surrounded by lush green sprawling lawns and the palace. There is an ancient Shiv Temple of 18th century that was constructed out of single piece of sandstone. The beautiful palace was the summer retreat for the royal family. There are three Jain temples within the palace complex dedicated to the Jain Tirthankaras.

Rishabhadeva Temple: It is one of three temples constructed on the banks of Mool Sagar that is dedicated to Adinatha or Rishabh Dev, the first Jain Tirthankara. The temple is known for its beautiful Rajasthan style architecture that was built in 16th century.

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