The very reason I went to a long Rajasthan vacation along with my family was for the sole purpose of visiting Jaisalmer. The famous Jaisalmer Fort or I should say Sonar Kella according to most Bengalis have forever etched a mark in our mind and the main reason for this is Satyajit Ray. If you are not a Bengali you will not understand the reason why so I would request you to see the famous sleuth classic Sonar Kella.
Jaisalmer is the extreme western part of India whereas I belong to Kolkata which is the easternmost part of the country. Considering the fact that I had my toddler daughter with me I avoided long distance train and thus planned my journey with breaks. My plan was Jaipur -> Ajmer – Pushkar -> Jaisalmer -> Jodhpur, I have already blogged about the first two stops thus this blog is dedicated to Jaisalmer fort only. There are more tourist attractions in this town but I will write about them in my next blog.
We took an evening train 14659 – Malani Express from Jaipur which departs at around 11.45 PM and reaches Jaisalmer next day at 11.30 AM. I wanted to book 3 AC but being Durga Puja season tickets were not available so had to settle for Sleeper Class, however, being October the train journey was comfortable. By the time we got up next morning the train was travelling across sandy plains signalling that we were near to the Thar heartland.
All my hotel bookings during this trip were done online and I was not disappointed at all, the owner of the hotel was waiting for me at the station and after welcoming he escorted me to a waiting Auto (not the typical small auto but a bigger cousin). The hotel which is more of a home stay was just a stone throw away from the Jaisalmer Fort and from its balcony had a grand view of the entire fort.
Without wasting much time right after lunch we sent to explore the world heritage site of Jaisalmer Fort. Due to its short distance from the fort walls we just simply walked towards the main entrance.
Unlike any other heritage site this fort still has an active population residing within its walls. The fort is actually built on a small hill locally known as Trikuta. The fort was built in the year 1156 AD by Rawal Jaisal who was a Rajput ruler and thus, the city gets the name Jaisalmer from his name.
The fort walls are made of red sandstone, the uniqueness of these stone is that the colour significantly changes according to the position of the sun. So throughout the day, you will get hues from light yellow to dark oranges depending on the sun and your position of viewing. At a particular time in the later afternoon, the fort glows like a gold with bright yellowing orange colour thus the name Sonar Kella.
The fort consists of four main gateways with a double layer defence wall. These were specifically built to stop enemies by trapping them between the walls. There is also the Raj Mahal which is the main royal palace, there is also a small museum here where you will be able to see the history of this fort.
Other famous structures are Laxminath Temple and several Haveli’s which are houses built by rich merchants and ministers during the reign of the maharajas.
From the top of the fort, you get a fantastic panoramic view of Jaisalmer town and I would surely recommend spending one full day in and around to fort to enjoy its wonderful architecture and the construction techniques.
If you feel hungry do not worry there are several shops inside the fort walls and you will be spoilt for choice. I would obviously recommend traditional Rajasthani food and being a Bengali with an enormous sweet tooth I would definitely recommend the Jalebies fried in Desi Ghee, Ghotua (Laddoo) & Mawa Kachori.
There are many curio shops within the walls of the fort and if you want some dress materials this is the place to get them. However be warned that the shops here can be a bit pricey thus do bargain for the best price.
If you want to dine at one of the best restaurants in the town then I would recommend The Trio. Since it happened to our fifth wedding anniversary when we were in Jaisalmer so we decided to spend it in style with a grand dinner at The Trio. Try the mutton here it’s prepared in a different style and with the beautiful background of Jaisalmer town, you will love to spend an evening here.
That’s it, for now, will be back with my next blog on the other attractions of the town. Hope you enjoyed this virtual safari.