Swathed by the sands of the Thar Desert lies Jaisalmer sharing border with Pakistan. As the prime location for camel trade routes before Bombay (Mumbai) developed as a trade port, Jaisalmer is today largely known as a tourist destination and strategic security post.
Founded in 1156 by Maharaja Jaisal Singh, the place is named after its founder. Looming over the landscape is the Jaisalmer fort. Given the epithet Sonar Kela by none other than the renowned film maker Satyajit Ray, the golden fortress that radiates a royal tawny glow in the day exudes an amber gleam during sunset. This is because of the use of yellow sandstone in its construction. So prominent is its presence that the entire city is known as the “golden city”.
As with many parts of Rajasthan, Jaisalmer too is replete with Jain influence. The golden fortress houses the palace and Jain temples. Fine sculpture and intricate architecture characterize the several temples that include the Parasvanath temple, Chandraprabhu temple and Rishabdev temple.
A sacred refuge is the Samadhi of Baba Ramdevji. The patron saint of Ramdevra since 1384 CE, he draws groups of devotees from various parts of the country. Yet another divine presence is the Tanot Mata temple. In the Indo-Pak war of 1965, none of the several bombs that targeted the temple exploded. Try to schedule a visit to the temple museum that houses the unexploded bombs.
Satiate your hunger for spookiness by checking out the Kuldhara village that was mysteriously abandoned overnight in the early 19th century after having been inhabited for around seven centuries.
Time seems to take another dimension as the lanes of a bygone era are dotted with havelis even as the city exudes a cosmopolitan character. The natural desert wildlife is showcased in the Desert National Park inhabited by the desert foxes, chinkaras and blackbucks.
So go ahead, breathe in the magic, explore the mystery and absorb the hue of the golden city.