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the middle of the Thar Desert, lies the honey-hued illusion of
Jaisalmer. The deserted cliff of Trikuta Hills faced weather-beaten dry
winds and a sweltering desert sun for thousands of years to win an
outstanding fort of yellow sandstone as its tiara in 1156. It is said
that Lord Krishna, the head of Yadav clan, had prophesized its
materialization long before it was built. Rawal Jaisal, a Bhatti Rajput,
who established his new capital at Jaisalmer, founded it after deserting
his fort at Lodurva. Once the trade and commerce center of the ancient
silk route, the city with its breathtaking beautiful scenery and extreme
climate leaves a lasting impression on every mind.
Jaisalmer charms the tourists with its magical legends and feel of
valor and idealistic zeal and the 'only living fort'. It is the most
intriguing blend of the old worldly charm with the stirring quality of
the contemporary. There are churning sands and towering monuments with
latticed stonework. The golden sands of the daytime take on almost
fairy-tale facade by the silvery moonlight of the night along with the
mellow music and perfect rhythmic performances of the multicolored
desert people. There are camels that seem to walk out of the leaves of
the 'Arabian Nights' and there are unruffled waters and serenity of the
The elaborate stonework of Jaisalmer is well known. One may opt for the
skillfully carved wooden boxes instead that replicate the intricacies of
the stone carvers in wood. Tie and dye fabrics, mirror-work, unique
embroidery patterns, typical Rajasthani silver jewellery, brilliantly
hued traditional rugs, hand-woven blankets and shawls with typical
Rajasthani weave are also good keepsakes to look out for. The items made
out of camel leather are a specialty.
Suspended on the 250 feet high hilltop, Jaisalmer fort is the second
oldest fort in Rajasthan and provides an euphoric overview of the desert
land all around. There are three fort walls and four gates through which
one has to pass to reach the palaces within, namely, Akhai Pol (Ganesh
Pol), Suraj Pol, Bhuta Pol and Hawa Pol.
Salem Singh ki Haveli, Patwon ki haveli and Nathmal ki Haveli
These 'Havelis' (translated as the 'Rich Merchants' house') are the
gems of the exceptional and grand architecture of Jaisalmer. Salem Singh
Haveli looks as if a wild flower is blossoming at the top. Guman Chand
Patwa and his five sons who dealt in brocade, gold and silver embroidery
that was famous from Afghanistan to China built Patwon ki Haveli. It is
said to be the most magnificent mansion in Jaisalmer. The third Haveli
was built by Nathmal, who was a later day prime minister, and his
brother in 1885, as a gift to the Rawal but was allowed to retain it.
The serene waters of this rainwater lake with its green environs,
clusters of small temples and a picturesque museum at its periphery is
more known for its rich folklore tales than its beauty.
Sam Sand Dunes
Situated at the fringes of the Desert National Park, 42 km away from
Jaisalmer are the most pictographic Sam sand dunes. The best way to
travel around the region is the camel ride. The sunsets and sunrises in
the desert are unexpectedly beautiful.
It is a three-day long festival and is the best display case where one
can see all one wants about the rich and colorful and rich culture of
the desert region of Rajasthan. The major attractions of the festivals
are Gair and Fire dancers. Camel polo and camel dance are two exclusive
feature events of the fair just as the turban tying competition and
flaunting of the most glorious moustaches.
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