Unravelling history bit by bit, Jaisalmer is a place that is strongly rooted in culture. The destination is beautiful, a sandcastle that camouflages itself in the night. It is the city that is widely known for being the birth town of valiant individuals, Rajput soldiers who have laid down their lives protecting the honour and freedom of their land.
Often referred to as the ‘Golden City,’ Jaisalmer has a lot to offer to anyone. History buffs, honeymooners, nature lovers, vacationers, architecture enthusiasts, avid watchers of wildlife, epicureans and explorers would all love to discover and unravel the mysteries of this destination that lies in the heart of the Thar Desert. With a number of things to do in Jaisalmer, no traveller would ever feel bored.
Best time to visit Jaisalmer: October to February
Distance from major cities:
- Delhi: 793 Kms
- Jaipur: 585 Kms
- Jodhpur: 294 kms
- Udaipur: 522 kms
13 things to do in Jaisalmer:
1. Go Camel Riding through the Thar Desert
Photo credit: imke.stahlmann - flickr
Pristine nature, endless stretches of undulating sands and beautiful areas to explore is what makes rides on the camel one of the best things to do in Jaisalmer. Enjoy the sound of mandolin and open spaces while visiting this enchanting city. Located in the heart of the Thar Desert, Jaisalmer is perhaps the best Indian destination to enjoy camel rides like a royal.
[Experience life in the deserts of Jaisalmer on our camel safari tour package]
Camel safaris are adventurous and unique, because they can fill you with joy and transport you to an era gone by. These safaris are mostly organised in such a manner that you get to explore the sand dunes of Thar, while discovering different facets and artefacts relating to the heritage, culture and history of Rajasthan.
Most of the times, these rides are organised by veteran guides, who have first-hand knowledge and experience about the Thar Desert. Therefore, the traveller gets an opportunity to see beautiful, isolated sand dunes, while revelling in sand and grass roof homes, colourful costumes of villagers and bright, cheery locations of the city.
Travellers usually prefer rides that carry lesser individuals per camel safari. For, they receive immediate attention and get all queries sorted out at once. One can even ask questions from the guide if you wish to learn more about natural and cultural resources of North India. At the same time, opt for camel safaris that take place in early in the evening or late in the afternoon. This is certainly one of the best ways to enjoy panoramic views of the city during sunset. The entire experience will give you an offbeat, newer perspective of the city.
2. Camp in the Desert
Photo Credit : Srinayan Puppala
Unlike camping in the woods or hills, camping in the desert is easy, doesn’t take a toll on your physical well being and serves as one of the best ways to acquaint yourself with the culture and lives of people in Rajasthan. This is one of the best things to do in Jaisalmer.
Camping in Jaisalmer is a nostalgic activity that will transport you to the medieval times. The luxury tents here will remind you of historical references of Mughal, Rajput and other leaders who used to stay in luxurious tents while travelling from one part of Rajasthan to the other. Camping is one of those activities that transcends barriers of time and provides you an unforgettable experience, while reminding you about the bounties of nature.
These camps, which are normally organised a few kilometres away from the city are well known for their private areas and secluded surroundings. Therefore, they are especially recommended for honeymooners and vacationers who seek to live away from the regular hustle and bustle and commotion of the city. These camps provide solace and rejuvenation of mind, body and spirit and have tranquil surroundings where you can appreciate and acknowledge the natural beauty of Thar Desert. They usually have a Courtier’s Hall and are organised in the form of a semi-circle. This way, travellers can come outside and socialize with other travellers during various recreational activities.
Providing a complete experience of Jaisalmer, these camp tents are also known for their traditional Rajasthani cuisine, which will tickle you palate and prompt you to come over and over again. Before choosing a camping trip, ensure that you opt for an accommodation that has an amalgamation of tent styles from bygone era and facilities from contemporary times. This will ensure a comfortable camping trip.
3. Visit the Jaisalmer Fort
Photo credit: Ana Raquel S. Hernandes - flickr
For a complete trip in this fascinating land, visit the Jaisalmer Fort. It is the biggest and among the famous tourist destination in the city. Late Satyajit Ray, an Oscar winning filmmaker of the country quoted that Jaisalmer Fort is a Sonar Quila or The Golden Fortress as the structure is made from using yellow sandstone. The same sandstone turns honey golden in the evening, thereby getting camouflaged in the sand and nearby areas of the city.
The marvellous fort is truly the highlight of Rajput legacy. Constructed by Maharaja Jaisal in 1156 AD, this ramification stands tall on the stark stretches of Thar Desert. Its architecture is an engineering marvel, which is still revered.
[Visit majestic palaces and forts of Rajasthan on our hoilday tour]
The structure consists of three layers of walls, which were designed to protect it from attacks. The lower or the outer layer is constructed from solid blocks of stone, while the second layer goes around the fort. It is the third layer from which warriors used to throw oil and boiling water on the enemies, in an attempt to throw them out.
Jaisalmer Fort is also the foreground of a number of battles. But its intricate architecture is what makes it difficult to explore. This structure features the Raj Mahal (also known as Royal Palace) where kings and queens used to live.
Apart from this, it also features stunning architecture with a number of Jain temples, Merchant Havelis and Hindu temples, which serve as a hub for those seeking spiritual enlightenment. The marvellous floors over here along with golden sandstone and long list of rooms are what give this castle an extravagant, lavish appearance. Make sure that you opt for a camel safari to complement the royal tour of Jaisalmer Fort.
4. Visit the Desert National Park
Photo credit: Jon Connell - flickr
Located in the Western Indian state of Rajasthan, Desert National Park is one of the largest national parks in the country and should be included in you list of things to do in Jaisalmer. This national park must be included in all travel and to-do lists for Jaisalmer as the park is a fine example of the ecosystem of Thar Desert and Sand Dunes.
The craggy rocks here along with company salt lake bottoms are the best places for having a rendezvous with the wild. The place has an abundance of birdlife and animals, which makes it even more alluring. Every year, thousands of travellers visit this place to see migratory and resident birds in action.
[Excite yourself with tiger spotting at Rathambore National Park in Rajasthan]
Desert National Park is home to a number of birds, including eagles, vultures, buzzards, falcons, harriers and kestrels. Bird species such as short toed eagle, spotted and tawny eagles are widely sighted here. But mostly, the park is famous for the Great Indian Bustard, an endangered species of bird, which is found in relatively fair number during the season from November to January.
Apart from elusive avian species, the park also features a collection of animals and fossils that dates back to at least 180 million years ago. Dinosaur fossils have been found in this region. Sam Sand Dunes and Gadsisar Sagar Tank are also located here.
The place is widely famous for its fauna, including chinkara, blackbuck, wolf, desert cat and Bengal fox. Reptiles such as spiny tailed lizard and Russell’s viper can be easily captured on the camera. Cranes arrive here during winter season, making this place a hub for bird watchers from all over the world. Opt for jeep safari to cover the place in a relatively small period of time.
5. Visit Kuldhara, the Abandoned Village
About 15 kilometres away from Jaisalmer is an abandoned Indian village, which narrates inspiring and fascinating tales. This destination is known as Kuldhara. The village, which looks more like a town, was once known for its large population. Travellers who wish to imagine a world through its ruins are recommended to visit the abandoned village of Kuldhara.
The streets here were wide and designed beautifully, the settlement here was planned. Aesthetics were kept in mind when it came to construction of this village. Though abandoned now, earages, temples, step wells and other structures were constructed here in large numbers.
[Enjoy yourself with rural delights of rustic Rajasthan on our village tour in Rajasthan]
While travelling through this abandoned village, tourists will hear the legend that describes why villagers left this settlement. According to this legend, the minister of the ruling kingdom was evil and wished to marry the younger daughter of a village chief. He forced him to give her in marriage and gave him a deadline. Scared, the chief called upon a meeting of chiefs from 84 villages located nearby and it was decided that the entire population of Kuldhara would leave, so that the honour of the chief’s daughter could be protected.
Today, this story is reflective of the fact that chiefs and Rajput warriors during those times kept their honour at the highest level. Their respect and self esteem was so important that an entire village decided to leave their homes and settle elsewhere so that the young daughter of the chief could be protected from the evil clutches of the minister from the ruling kingdom. This indicates how valiant Rajasthani people are.
Today the ruins of this village are a tourist site, giving travellers the opportunity to think and understand what happened centuries ago.
6. Visit the Bazaars and Havelis
Photo credit: 4ocima - flickr
Once a prime centre for trade and commerce, today Jaisalmer boasts of rich heritage and extravagant bazaars. Be it valuable gems and jewels, furnished leather products, wooden handicrafts, precious stones and other textile products, the markets in the golden city never cease to entice its visitors. Bhatia Bazaar, Sadar Bazaar, Khadi Gramodyog Bhavan and Sonaron Ka Bas are some of the bustling destinations to go shopping and added to your list of things to do in Jaisalmer.
7. Feast on Rajasthani Cuisine
Photo Credit : Eric Parker - flickr
If you want to get the real taste of Rajasthan, then relishing in the Rajasthani cuisine is the best option. Ditch fast food and other items during the trip and feast on Rajasthani cuisine, which will tickle your palate and satisfy the epicurean within you. The cooking here was influenced by war-like lifestyle of the state and its hot, desert location.
Therefore, the food tends to be spicy and loaded with clarified butter. The food is prepared in such a way that it can last for days and be eaten even without heating. So, you can even taken dishes such as Pyaaj Kachori, Mirchi Bada or Bikaneri Bhujia with you after enjoying the dishes.
[Experience authentic Rajasthani food on our tour to Rajasthani villages]
Sweet delicacies, particularly, churma and besan chakki along with gujia must be tried. Apart from this gajar ki sabji, kicha ki sabji, kadhi, lauki ke koftey and daal baati churma must not be missed during the feast.
8. Feed fish at Gadisar Lake
Photo credit: Terry Presley - flickr
The intricately carved chattris, ghats and the temples around this man-made lake adds to the beauty of the place. While strolling around the lakeside, one should not miss the opportunity to feed the shoal of catfish in the water body. You can also notice the locales of Jaisalmer feeding these fishes every morning.
9. Visit the Jain Temple
Photo Credit : Patrick Barry - flickr
Jaisalmer is the home to some of the auspicious and pious Jain temples in Rajasthan. Constructed mostly in the 12th century, these places of worships are known for their detailed architecture and intricate carvings. While visiting these sacred temples, one can get the essence of spirituality and righteousness among the Jain religious leaders.
10. Visit the Tanot Mata Mandir
Located within the closest proximity of the Indo-Pak border, the Tanot Mata Mandir is one of the ancient temples in the vicinity. It has successfully survived attempts of the Pakistani troupe during the 1971 war and now houses a museum displaying the unexploded bombs. The place is managed by the Indian Border Security Force.
11. Go to the Indo-Pak Border
After visiting the Tanot Mata Mandir, one should also make it to the Indo-Pak international borderline. Do note that in order to have a close look of the border, one should acquire the required permissions and documentations by the Indian Border Security Force and Military Forces.
12. Have a go at Dune Bashing
Photo credit: Ashraful Kadir - flickr
If you are looking for a great destination for dune bashing in India, Jaisalmer should be in your next list. The Sam Sand Dunes in the golden city are the ideal place to enjoy the golden sands and feel the thrill of dune bashing in India.
13. Watch a Puppet Show
Photo credit: Nevil Zaveri - flickr
Watch the Raja-Maharajas of Rajasthan, the characters of epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata coming back to life everyday evening. If this sounds unbelievable to you, visit the Desert Cultural Centre and Museum, where at the advent of every evening, the folk artists in Jaisalmer perform the amusing art of puppetry and incite life to several characters and tales from Rajasthan’s history. This is definitely one of the things to do in Jaisalmer.
[Contact us to customized your Jaisalmer Tour]