About Jaisalmer Fort
Photo Credits: Well-Bred Kannan (WBK Photography)
Also known as Sonar Quilla or Sone ka Quilla (golden fort) Jaisalmer fort stands high showcasing its beauty and elegance as it is one of the world’s largest forts located in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan. Sonar Quila is the second oldest fort in Rajasthan.
Its extensive yellow sandstone walls are bright yellow during the day and fade to honey-gold as the sun sets and due to this, it is also called the Golden fort. This dessert beauty has seen many battles while standing amidst the sandy stretches of the great Thar Desert on Trikuta hill. Jaisalmer itself is known as the golden city and offers the cultural fusion of nomadic desert and royalty which will let you experience something different.
You will be amused by the architectural beauty of Jaisalmer Fort and other sites of the golden city. Built by the Rajput ruler Rawal Jaisal in 1156 AD this UNESCO World Heritage site is the pride of the Thar desert and is a symbol of strength. Jaisalmer Fort has played a vital role from the glorious past to the present. It has been part of many amazing cultures of the different dynasty ruling.
It has kept the traditions of past safe by preserving their designs and visions. This place will never fail to surprise you from its majestic beauty and will give you a different vision towards the history, traditions, and culture of the country.
History of Jaisalmer Fort
Photo Credits: Garrett Ziegler
The Golden fort is said to be established by Raja Rawal Jaisal, who was a Bhatti Rajput ruler, in approximately 1156 A D. He selected the Trikuta hills located at the great Thar Desert for his fort to stand and symbolize the dominance and power of the royal Rajput's.
Sonar Quila is known as the second oldest fort in Rajasthan and has seen and been part of many legendary battles but even today it holds the same charm and positive vibes which will leave you aw-struck when you will witness this great structure. So, one can notice the fusion of Islamic and Rajput architecture. It has also been part of the silk trade route from the 16th to the 18th century.
Sonar Quila is a legendary structure and holds a great significance in the grand history. The fort has four grand entrance Ganesh Pol, Akshaya Pol, Suraj Pol, and Hawa Pol which have their own significance like Suraj pol named was given to one because the first sun rays over the city used to hit this very gate similarly other gates also have interesting stories related to them and are very beautifully carved and designed in a way that it is a combination of power and beauty.
The Architecture of Jaisalmer Fort
Photo Credits: PnP!
The Jaisalmer Fort is also famous for its architectural beauty. With the amazing measurement of 1,500 ft (460 m) long and 750 ft (230 m) wide it is built on a hill that rises above a height of 250 ft (76 m). You will be delighted to witness the essence of Rajasthani architectural touch with beautiful designs and patterns. Built with the gorgeous yellow sandstone the entire fort has an amazing look and shines like gold when the sun-rays fall on the walls.
With the glorious sunrise and majestic sunset, this structure changes color from tawny lion yellow to honey- gold. You will be amused to see the four entrances to the fort which are named Hawa Pole, Akshay Pole, Suraj Pole, and Ganesha Pole. There are many other places that add their importance to histories such as Akhai Vilas, the Rang Mahal, Sarvottam Vilas, Gaj Mahal, and the Moti Mahal.
The Moti Mahal is also known as Salam Singh Ki Haweli and is extremely beautiful with the amazing architecture, built-in 1815 with a peacock-shaped roof & numerous balconies this place will give a jaw-dropping view. These places too have been formed by keeping the designs, patterns, and texture at the priority and has been taken utmost care that they stand to showcase the royalty and energy of Rajput's and taking Rajasthani style on another level.
How to Reach Jaisalmer Fort
Photo Credits: Tim Proffitt-White
By Air: As Jaisalmer does not have any airport within the city so, the nearest airport to this place is Jodhpur airport which is connected with domestic and international flights to and from major places and is around 275 kilometers from Jaisalmer.
By Train: You can also choose to visit with the help of the train as Jaisalmer has good connectivity from the trains to major cities like Delhi, Jaipur, Mumbai, etc.
By Road: Jaisalmer is well connected to the major cities via roadways also so you can choose any public transport like buses or private transport like cars etc. to reach the Jaisalmer fort.
Once you reach the Jaisalmer it is very easy to reach the Jaisalmer fort as it is at a walkable distance from the city and if you don't want to walk you also have options to take an auto-rickshaw which are easily available.
Best Time to Visit Jaisalmer Fort
Photo Credits: Well-Bred Kannan (WBK Photography)
Jaisalmer fort is located amidst the great Thar Desert so the time selected to visit should be proper enough so that you can enjoy properly. Months from October to March is a good time period to visit this majestic structure.
During these months you will be accompanied by the pleasant weather which will add more fun while you explore the golden fort or the beautiful Jaisalmer city. You will be able to make memories without worrying about the climate or the mother nature as they will be supporting your plans and will let you enjoy to the fullest so that you can cherish this time later.
What Not to Miss at Jaisalmer Fort
Things to do at Jaisalmer Fort
Photo Credits: Garrett Ziegler
While you visit the Golden fort you can do various things which will help to explore the place better and you will be able to witness each and every part of it without missing anything.
1. You should visit Laxminath and Jain temples as they are elegant and calm and you will get to experience some tranquility and positivity.
2. You can simply stay there and notice the beautiful look of the fort while it changes its color at different times of the day and after you notice the change you will feel that the wait was worthy.
3. You can hike and reach at the top of the hill and witness the enchanting views of the surrounding locality.
4. You will be able to see the amazing golden city and much more. You can also wander through the historical lanes and explore every corner and pillar inside the Fort so that you don't leave any interesting stories or facts related to them.
5. If you are tired and need to charge up and refill yourself with energy, you can visit the local eateries which serve delicious ethnic dishes at the Dusshera Chowk.
Places to Visit Near Jaisalmer Fort
There are several places located near the majestic Jaisalmer Fort which are worthy of your time. You can visit all those places and can enjoy your time as you will get to witness their beauty and will get to know their significance too. Some of the places are:
1. Kuldhara Village: At a distance of 21 km from the Golden City this is an abandoned village that was established in the 13th century and was a prosperous place filled with happy families but during the early 19th century it was abandoned for unknown reasons, many stories are made some say it is cursed and haunted, some say that it happened because of an earthquake and water problems.
2. Bada Bagh: Situated on a small hill it is a garden complex about 6 km north of Jaisalmer. It is a beautiful garden and has cenotaphs for rulers, queens, princes and other royal family members and also holds a description block for them respectively. You should also witness the Jaitsar Tank and the Jait Bandh, which is the dam.
3. Patwon Ki Haveli: It is an interesting piece of Architecture and is the most important among the Havelis in Jaisalmer. It is famous because it is a cluster of 5 small Havelis. it is believed that Patwa was a rich man and was a famous trader of his time. He commanded the construction of separate stories for each of his 5 sons. All the construction work was completed in a span of the first 60 years of the 19th century.
Places to Eat in and Near Jaisalmer Fort
You will get lots of delicious opportunities and places which will offer you mouth-watering cuisines along with friendly and fast service, hygienic environment and much more. Some of the renowned places which are worth visiting are:
1. Lake View Restaurant: This place offers an amazing view of the Gadi Sagar Lake and you can also witness the beauty of the golden city while you enjoy the lip-smacking food served to you by their co-operative staff. When you visit this place after or during the sunset you will be amused the view of Jaisalmer city which is dipped in lights and will give you a charming image of the place.
2. Desert Boy's Dhani: Another good option to opt for, this place is large and spacious and offers authentic Rajasthani cuisine. You will be touched by their hospitality and can taste the real taste of Rajasthan. They won’t fail to make you part of Indian traditions as they also have enclosed sitting area which has comfortable mattresses laid down on the floor with the low rise tables to give you Indian dining feel.
3. Jaisal Italy Restaurant: This place is an authentic Italian restaurant that serves both Indian and Italian cuisines. It is an amazing place with a sandy-colored stone facade. You can relax here while you are tired of exploring the fort as this place is located just inside the first fort gate.
4. Natraj Restaurant: A restaurant that gives the option of both inside seating arrangement and a rooftop experience and services various delicious cuisines. It is located near Salam Singh Haveli and will welcome you with full enthusiasm and make you feel comfortable by their service.
Other Essential Information About Jaisalmer Fort
Photo Credits: Garrett Ziegler
Location: It is located on Fort kothri para road which is 1.8 km from the main railway station of Jaisalmer.
Price: You can witness the golden fort at a very pocket-friendly price that is for Indian Rs.50 per person and for foreigners 250 per person
Timings: You can plan to visit the Jaisalmer fort between 6 am to 5 pm.
Interesting Facts about Jaisalmer Fort
Photo Credits: DJ SINGH
The Jaisalmer fort has been part of great history and story, there are a few interesting facts related to this majestic structure:
1. The architecture of The Golden Fort is the blend of Muslim and Rajput styles as it was built during the rule of the Rajput ruler and was later captured by the Islamic ruler so the fort stands to hold the designs of both the cultures.
2. The fort has three layers of walls, because of security reasons. The three were created to strengthen the foundation of the fort and reinforce the loose soil of the hill, to build a strong defensive barrier, and to create a final barrier and was used by defending soldiers.
3. The fort once witnessed a “half Jauhar” under the reign of Rawal Lunkarna in 1530-51 when the fort was attacked by Amir Ali, the chief of a local Afghan clan, but due to less time left the rituals could not be performed and the king decided to kill all the women himself. It was a cruel twist of fate.
4. It was attacked and captured by Allaudin Khilji, despite being such a strategic location this fort has witnessed few direct invasions from the Islamic rulers.