Jaisalmer is amongst the last of the former princely kingdoms of Rajputana before the border between India and Pakistan. The people of Jaisalmer believe Lord Krishna prophecied to jaisalmerArjuna that one of his descendants would establish a kingdom on Trikuta Hill. The Lord's prophecy was fulfilled in 1196 AD when Rawal Jaisal, a Bhatti Rajput who traced his lineage to Krisnna's Yadava clan, shifted his capital from Lodurva (16 km away) to Trikuta Hill. Jaisalmer earned great wealth and glory in its heyday, because it was strategically located on the most lucrative of trade routes between Central Asian kingdoms and the Far East. Merchants were valued citizens and their houses or havelis are legendary with ornate, intricately carved façades of sandstone. The Bhatti Rajputs of Jaisalmer grew rich living off the rich caravans that crossed their territory till their days of glory slowly came to an end with the burgeoning of the shipping trade through the port at Mumbai.
Jaisalmer's past glories can be seen in its impressive golden fort on Trikuta Hill that dominates the horizon. The fort houses a township with markets, palaces, temples and exquisite carved sandstone havelis. Today, these homes are national treasures and art museums that are still inhabited. This last outpost of the Indian Republic is valued for its heritage as much as for its brave citizens, its people and culture, colourful festivals and crafts have placed Jaisalmer on the world tourist map.
This tank, south of the city walls, once held the town water supply, and befitting its importance in providing precious water to the inhabitants of this arid city, it is sourrounded by small temples and shrines. The beautiful yellow sandstone gateway arching across the road down to the tank is the Tilon-ki-Pol, and is said to have been built by a famous prostitute, Tilon . When she offered to pay to have this gateway constructed, the Maharaja refused permission under it to go down to the tank and he felt that this would be beneath his dignity. While he was away, she built the gate , adding a Krishna temple on top so that king could not tear it down.
The late 19th century haveli with intricate architecture a display of sheer craftsmanship. The left and right wings of the mansions, which were carved by two brothers, are not identical but very similar and balanced in design. The interior walls are ornate with splendid miniature paintings.
This is one of the largest and most elaborate Haveli in Jaisalmer and stands in a narrow lane. It is five storeys high and is extensively carved. It is divided into six apartments, two owned by archaeological Survey of India, two by families who operate craft-shops and two private homes. There are remnants of paintings o Book Your Tourn some of the inside walls as well as some mirror work.
The most elaborate and magnificient of all the Jaisalmer havelis. It has exquisitely carved pillars and exquisitely carved pillars and extensive corridors and chambers. One of the apartments of this five story high haveli is painted with beautiful murals.
Patwon-Ki-Haveli is the largest and most elaborate haveli in Jaisalmer. This five-storeyed building extensively carved and is notable for its jharokhas (balconies).
In the early 19th century, the family of Ghuman Chand Patwa, an extremely rich patwa (trader of brocades and expensive embroidery) began construction of this mansion, an effort that took half a century.
This havelisalim-singh was built about 300 years ago and a part of it is still occupied. Salim Singh was the prime minister when Jaisalmer was the capital of the princely state and his mansion has a beautifully arched roof with superb carved brackets in the form of Peacocks. The mansion is just below the hill and it is said that once it had two additional wooden storeys in an attempt to make it as high as the maharaja's palace, but the maharaja had the upper storey torn down.
The golden hued fort is a sentinel to the bleak desert escape from its 80 meter high perch on the hill, housing the entire township within its ramparts. It has an enchanting cow-web of narrow lanes dotted lanes doted with some lovely havelis, three beautiful sculptured Jain temples of the 12th-15th century A.D. and five interconnected palaces. The fort is approached through four gateways-Akhaiya Pol, Ganesh Pol Suraj pol and hava Pol. Manak Chowk and Havelis : A ma Book Your Tourin market place outside the fort leads to the narrow lanes doted with famous havelis.