Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Jaisalmer Fort

Monuments and Memorials in India
Ajanta & Ellora Caves | Gateway of India | Jaisalmer Fort | Qutub Minar | Sanchi Stupa

Jaisalmer Fort: Introduction

jaisalmer-fort-rajasthanJaisalmer Fort, built in 1156 A.D. by the Rajput ruler Rawal Jaiswal, is situated in Jaisalmer city in the Indian state of Rajasthan. It is built of yellow sandstone and is the travel and tourism guides popularly refer to this fort as the Golden Fort.

Jaisalmer Fort Architecture

Three layers of walls secure the fort out of which the outer most layer is built of solid stone blocks, the middle layer snakes around the fort, and the innermost layer was the chief defense of the Rajput warriors from where they used to throw boiling water and oil along with huge boulders when they got trapped between the second and third walls. The royal family continues to reside in the Jawahar Palace inside the fort. And the market place located inside is known as the Manek Chowk.

Jaisalmer Fort Primary attractions

  • Raj Mahal (Royal palace): This was the palace where the royal family members or the rulers of Jaisalmer lived and it was built in 1500 AD. It is a seven-storied structure and was constructed by the most famous architects and craftsmen of the times. It is surrounded by beautiful gardens and manicured lawns.

  • Jain temples:  These temples are very ancient and highly revered places of pilgrimage apart from holding high architectural worth. They were built sometime between 12th and 15th centuries and are made of yellow sandstone. The walls of the temples have rich carvings. The Astapadhi temples situated close by are also worth visiting.

  • Laxminath temple: The Lakshminath temple was built in around 1494 during the reign of Rao Lunkaran. There one can see the idols of Vishnu and Lakshmi that were installed by a Brahmin named Sen Pal Shakdvipi. It is one of the oldest temples of Jaisalmer and also had undergone renovation by the ruler Maharaja Ganga Singh Ji.

  • 4 massive gateways:  Jaisalmer fort can be entered through the four massive gateways named Akshaya Pole, Suraj Pole, Hawa Pole and Ganesh Pole. Akshya Pol is situated on the eastern side of the fort. Suraj-Pol, across the road, was built by Maharawal Bhim and has heavy bastions apart from decorative bands. There are also carved figures of Sun and Lord Ganesh. Hawa Pol was constructed in the 17th century and has a palace and courtyard known as Dussehra Chowk attached to it. The Ganesh Pol has the image of Lord Ganesh at the top and hence the name.

  • Merchant Havelis:  There are the huge and ornate houses built of golden sandstone and are known for the intricately carved front doors, beautiful murals, arched roofs with beautifully carved brackets in the form of peacocks. They are all a part of the national heritage and stands majestically and proudly.

Best time to visit Jaisalmer Fort

The best time of the year to visit the Jaisalmer Fort is from November to March as the weather would be cooler. Summers should better be avoided due to the intense desert heat.

Connectivity by air, road, and rail

By Air: Jodhpur is the nearest airport and is 300 kms away and is connected with all major cities of India.

By Railway: Jaisalmer City is well connected both through broad gauge and meter gauge railway tracks.

By Road: Good roads connect the Jaisalmer to all the major cities of Rajasthan such as Jaipur, Bikaner, Mt. Abu, and Barmer.

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