The music of sand dunes, the rainbow of colors, the opulence of architecture , the golden beauty of desert, the gleams of silver jewellery, the richness of history, the shine of zardozi jutis, and the flavor of baati choorma – what do they remind you of? Jaisalmer, one of the three cities filmed in the movie Meenakshi: A Tale of Three Cities by the renowned painter Maqbool Fida Husain. Jaisalmer Desert Festival in February is one of the international events when many tourists from US, Canada and other parts of the world fly to India. Indian Eagle presents a brief Jaisalmer travel guide in response to their query, “What to see in Jaisalmer?”
Jaisalmer Fort – the Sonar Qilla
One of the largest historic forts in the world, Jaisalmer Fort stands tall defying the blows of all-conquering time. Built by the Rajput King Rawal Jaisal in the 11th century, the fort is a stronghold amidst the vast expanse of golden sand. The backdrop of Jaisalmer’s desert beauty, it has witnessed many battles from the day of its foundation. Made of yellow sandstones, the fort experiences a change in its color from bright gold to soft gold with the passing of the day from sunrise to sunset. That is why it is nicknamed “Golden Fort” or “Sonar Qilla”. The Academy Award winning Satyajit Ray had shot one of his famous detective films here. Another highlight of Jaisalmer Fort is the blend of Rajput and Islamic architectural styles in the construction.
Manak Chowk – the beehive of trade
Take a walk through Manak Chowk, the chief marketplace in the town. It was a bustling trade hub during the royal times of Rajasthan. Traders from the Middle East countries used to trade here. There are delicately sculpted beautiful havelis (palatial buildings) around Manak Chowk. Turbaned men with twisted moustaches, and colorful Ghaghara clad women from the outskirts of Jaisalmer make the market look resplendent in the glories of the past. The women adorn themselves with ivory and silver ornaments. On visit to the market, you will feel the ancient charm of the places that you have heard about in fables.
Gadi Sagar Lake – the elixir of life
Gadi Sagar Lake used to be the savior of lives in the bygone eras when water is scarce in Jaisalmer. The lake was built as a reservoir to store rainwater which was supplied across the city in times of water crisis during summer. What makes Gadi Sagar Lake a must-see tourist attraction is the majestic landscape dotted with temples, shrines, gardens and ghats. Surrounded by shrines and temples, the lake has been consecrated as part of pilgrimage in the city. For the idyllic setting with space for boating, it has come alive as a suitable picnic spot.
Sam Sand Dunes – waves on desertscape
Jaisalmer is as much known for its desert beauty as for its royal history. The picturesque desertscape is dotted with sand dunes miles after miles. The wavy dunes make the desert a scenic landscape. A camel ride across the sand dunes gives the thrilling feel of a rollercoaster. When a whirling wind blows over the dunes in the backdrop of the twilight sky, the ambience feels magical, musical and mirthful. The joy of sleeping on the dunes, under the starry sky and in the open is no less than a divine experience.
Patwon Ki Haveli – the magic of mirror
Jaisalmer is a city of richly decorated mansions or havelis. Most of the mansions were constructed in the 18th and 19th centuries. The most famous mansion is Patwon ki Haveli, built by a wealthy silver merchant Guman Chand Patwon, in 1805. The mansion consists of five houses with sixty balconies and sprawling courtyards. The ceilings and walls are lavishly embellished with delicate mirror work, the beauty of which is inexplicable.
Jaisalmer Desert Festival is scheduled to continue from February 12 to 14 this year. Respond to the call of sand dunes by booking the cheapest flight to Rajasthan, India on IndianEagle.com.