Founded in the mid-12th century by Rawal Jaisal, Jaisalmer has since evolved into a hub of royal history and cultural heritage. From its artistic constructions to local historical sites and abandoned villages, there’s no shortage of interesting places to visit in Jaisalmer. Dubbed the “Golden City”, Jaisalmer offers a unique blend of beauty, history, and culture. Jaisalmer is also known for its stunning yellow stone fort, the Jaisalmer Fort or “Sonar Quila”. As the gateway to the Thar Desert, Jaisalmer is the perfect destination for a cultural getaway. Whether you’re a history buff, culture lover or simply looking for a new adventure, this city has something for everyone. With that in mind, plan your trip around the 15 best places to visit in Jaisalmer this season.
Also Read: Pushkar: The Holy Town of Rajasthan
1. Jaisalmer Fort
The Jaisalmer Fort, also known as the “Sonar Quila”, is a magnificent yellow sandstone stronghold located in the heart of Jaisalmer, Rajasthan. Built-in the 12th century by the Bhati Rajput prince Rao Jaisal, this fort stands tall on the Trikuta Hill and offers breathtaking views of the city. The fort’s walls, windows, and doors are intricately carved and showcase the rich cultural heritage of India. The Jaisalmer Fort is home to several Havelis, temples, and gateways, including the Raj Mahal.
The two canon positions within the fort offer panoramic views of the city and are popular tourist attractions. The fort’s tawny-brown rampart turns golden at sunset, providing a stunning visual experience. The Jaisalmer Fort is one of the most amazing places to visit in Jaisalmer, making it a must-visit destination for history and architecture enthusiasts.
2. Sam Sand Dunes
The Sam Sand Dunes on the outskirts of Jaisalmer, located around 40 kilometers from the fort city, are unquestionably one of the best sites to see in Jaisalmer. With stretches of sweeping dunes, camel safaris over beautiful crests and troughs, and a crimson horizon at sunset, the exanimate mood transports you to a delightful joyful scene. Don’t miss the gypsies’ rustic and earthy music and folk dance, which represents the Rajasthani folk’s rural culture. The greatest time to see the Sam Sand Dunes is during the Jaisalmer Desert Festival, which is normally held in February each year.
3. Desert National Park
The Desert National Park in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan is a unique and fascinating destination for nature and wildlife enthusiasts. Located in the Thar Desert, the park is home to a variety of rare and endangered species of animals, including the great Indian bustard, blackbuck, and chinkara. The park is also a haven for bird lovers, with migrating species such as the Saker falcon, eastern imperial eagle, and Eurasian griffon vultures.
Visitors to the park can take part in exciting jeep safaris and camping trips, which add an element of adventure to the experience of learning about the desert ecosystem. Whether you’re a wildlife enthusiast, a nature lover, or just seeking a new and exciting adventure, the Desert National Park is a must-visit destination in Jaisalmer.
4. Gadi Sagar Lake
The Gadi Sagar Lake in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan is a historic and picturesque destination that is well worth a visit. Originally built as a water conservation tank in the 14th century, the lake today serves as a popular spot for sightseeing and recreation. Surrounded by temples, including the Krishna Temple on top of the Tilon Gate, the lake is a beautiful and peaceful place to relax and take in the scenery.
During the winter months, migratory birds flock to the region, making birdwatching a popular activity. Visitors to the lake can also enjoy boating or attend the Gangaur Festival in March or April. Whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, or just seeking a peaceful escape, the Gadi Sagar Lake is a must-visit destination in Jaisalmer.
5. The Haveli of Salim Singh
The Haveli of Salim Singh, a magnificent mansion in the heart of Jaisalmer, was built by the former Prime Minister of Jaisalmer, Salim Singh. The Haveli boasts 38 beautifully carved balconies, each with its own unique style, and is considered one of the most stunning examples of architectural design in Jaisalmer. The roof of the Haveli is particularly noteworthy, featuring a sprawling arched design in the shape of a peacock. The Haveli is a must-visit for anyone interested in the city’s rich cultural and architectural heritage. Whether you’re an architecture enthusiast or just want to admire the beauty of this historic building, the Haveli of Salim Singh is sure to captivate you.
Source: Wikimedia commons
6. Patwa Ki Haveli
The Patwa Ki Haveli, built in the 19th century, is a stunning example of Rajasthani architecture and a must-visit destination in Jaisalmer. The Haveli was once the residence of wealthy trader Guman Chand Patwa, who gifted it to his sons. The Haveli comprises five magnificent buildings, known for their intricate wall paintings, beautifully carved balconies, arches, and entrances.
The first haveli was later purchased by Jeevan Lal Ji Kothari and renamed as Kothari Patwa Haveli. The Patwa Ki Haveli is a testimony to the rich cultural heritage of Jaisalmer and a tribute to the opulence of its past residents.
7. Tanot Mata Temple
The Tanot Mata Temple, located about 150 kilometers from Jaisalmer, is a must-visit for travelers interested in exploring the rich cultural and historical heritage of the region. The temple is revered by the local communities and is closely associated with the Longewala battle that took place during the Indo-Pak war in 1971. The shrine is maintained by the Border Security Force of India and is known to house unexploded bombs from the conflict as a testament to the bravery of the Indian forces.
Although not as popular as other tourist destinations, visiting the Tanot Mata Temple is an opportunity to experience a unique and lesser-known side of Jaisalmer and Rajasthan. The temple was also featured in the popular Bollywood film, Border.
8. Jain Temples
The Jain Temples in Jaisalmer are a unique blend of religious and architectural heritage. Located within the Jaisalmer Fort, these temples are a fascinating testament to the rich cultural history of the city. The temples, dating from the 12th and 15th centuries, are made of yellow sandstone and are built in the Dilwara style, renowned for its intricate carvings and sculptures. The Parshvanath Temple is the most famous of these temples and is a testament to the skills of the craftsmen who built it.
The temple features intricate carvings of animals and humans on its walls, a beautifully crafted dome, and a water container in the shape of a lotus flower. Other Jain temples in the area include the Rishabhnath Temple and the Sambhavnath Temple at Lodurva, both of which are worth a visit for their architectural beauty and religious significance.
9. Kuldhara village
Kuldhara is an abandoned village located on the outskirts of Jaisalmer, Rajasthan. Dating back to the 13th century, it was once the largest village in a community of 84 villages. However, in the early 19th century, all the residents of Kuldhara and the surrounding 83 villages vanished overnight, leaving behind a mystery that still persists today. Legend has it that the village was cursed, leading to its abandonment, and making it one of India’s most haunted places.
Despite the eerie atmosphere, visitors can still see the remains of great architectural works such as temples and step wells, which provide a glimpse into the village’s rich history spanning seven centuries.
10. Bada Bagh
Bada Bagh, located just 6 kilometers from the bustling city of Jaisalmer, is a stunning and serene destination for tourists. The site boasts a collection of magnificent cenotaphs belonging to the royal dynasties of the 16th to 20th centuries, offering a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of the region.
The area is also home to a well-manicured garden, a tranquil tank, a beautiful dam, and the towering Govardhan Stambh, among other captivating sights. Bada Bagh is known for its breathtaking sunset views, making it one of the most popular tourist attractions in Jaisalmer.
11. Khaba Fort
The Khaba Fort is a historic fort located near Jaisalmer, in the Indian state of Rajasthan. The fort was originally inhabited by the Paliwal Brahmins for nearly 200 years and is now an abandoned fort, surrounded by little human activity. Despite being abandoned, the fort is an interesting tourist attraction and a popular spot for photography. The fort structure is well preserved and is a testament to the architectural and cultural heritage of the region.
Additionally, the fort also houses a small museum, which showcases various antiquities, providing an opportunity for visitors to learn about the rich history of the region.
Source: Koshy Koshy (Flickr)
Lodhruva, located 16 kilometers from the city of Jaisalmer, is a hidden gem of Rajasthan. Once the ancient capital of Jaisalmer, the town is now known for its magnificent Jain temples, which showcase the region’s rich architectural heritage.
Visitors can admire the intricate carvings, Jali works, and Maru Gurjara style architecture, making Lodhruva an ideal destination for architecture and history enthusiasts. Besides the Jain temples, Lodhruva also offers breathtaking views and is famous for the tragic love story of Princess Mumal and Mahendra, still remembered in local folklore and songs.
Source: Wikimedia commons
13. Akal Wood Fossil Park
Akal Wood Fossil Park in Jaisalmer is a unique and fascinating destination for history enthusiasts and nature lovers. With the preserved ancient redwood tree trunk, it showcases the wonders of a magical forest from around 180 million years ago.
Visitors can learn about the planet’s past as they explore the park, which is protected by a tin roof to keep the age-old tree logs intact. The Akal Wood Fossil Park is truly a one-of-a-kind experience that provides a glimpse into the distant past and a chance to witness something truly unusual.
14. The Mandir Palace
The Mandir Palace in Jaisalmer is a historic monument that showcases the intricate work of artisans from the 9th and 10th centuries. It was once the home of the rulers of Jaisalmer and is a prime example of the rich cultural heritage of the region.
The palace is adorned with stunning balconies, canopies, and screens that have been carefully carved and adorned. Visitors to the Mandir Palace can witness the beauty of the sandstone edifice of the Badal Vilas, which can be seen from the palace grounds.
Jaisalmer is a treasure trove of history, culture, and beauty that you must experience for yourself. Whether it’s exploring the grand fort, admiring the intricate carvings of the Havelis, or witnessing the majestic beauty of the desert, you are sure to have an unforgettable time in this desert city. So, what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and embark on a journey to Jaisalmer today!
Let us know which places you loved the most and what you experienced while exploring this beautiful city. Happy travels!