Jaisalmer Fort (Jaisalmer Golden Fort or Sonar Quila)
Jaisalmer Fort, also known as Sonar Quila, is one of the largest fort in India, which was built in 1156 AD.
Jaisalmer Fort is one of very few live forts where still 25% of total Jaisalmer population lives, as till 1947, Jaisalmer city was only this fort, there was nothing outside.
The Fort get the term “golden” in it name because, when the sunlight is maximum (around noon), the yellow sandstone, which covers all the walls, shine in golden colour.
It is one of 2 major tourist attractions in Jaisalmer, other being the sand dunes in Jaisalmer, & below you will find details on Jaisalmer Fort, and what all sites you can visit here.
Normally there is no entry fees for Jaisalmer Fort, as the Fort itself is a small city in Jaisalmer, but you will be asked to pay entry fees of Rs 20-50 to visit sites like:
- Patwon ki Haveli
- Salim Singh ki Haveli
- Nathmal Ki Haveli etc
Rest for the famous temples like Laxminath Temple, the famous 7 Jain temples there is no entry fees.
Inside Jaisalmer Fort, we suggest to visit the below sites:
- Patwan, Salim Singh & Nathmal Haveli
- Laxminath temple
- Jain temple > Here is the list.
- Cannon point
- Government Museum
- Tazia Tower
- Street markets like Safar Bazar.
You must give at least 3-4 hours to explore above mentioned sites (apart from shopping time), as Jaisalmer Fort is huge.
Though the streets of Jaisalmer fort are open till late night, like you can plan a dinner at any restaurant or roof top cafe, but most tourist attractions like Haveli are open till 5:30 pm and temples are opened till 9-10 pm.
So its best to plan a tour here between 8 am to 6 pm.
Though most hotel options are outside Jaisalmer Fort, but still you will find a few option inside fort like
- Hotel Garh Jaisal
- Hotel Victoria
But not many hotels are coming inside the fort, as the locals living in Jaisalmer Fort are working hard to maintain the structure & opening more commercial units inside the fort hurts the restoration work.
To explore jaisalmer Fort, you need to understand its entry & exit points, along with which site to see first & last. The above image is of Jaisalmer Fort Map, at the Government museum inside the Jaisalmer Fort.
The Jaisalmer Fort is a hill fort & is built in a small height hill name Trikuta hill. The height of this hill fort is around 256 feet. The entrance of the fort is through a gate, named Ganesh Pol & other entrance gates are Rang Pol, Bhoota Pol and the Hava Pol.
The royal family of Jaisalmer used to live in centre of the Fort (Jawahar Palace), & the Manek Chowk is the central market of the Fort.
So when you enter the fort the 1st site you first & last are:
- Patwon ki or Patwa Haveli
- Salam Singh Ki Haveli (Moti Mahal)
- Cannon Point & city view
- Nathmal Ki Haveli, Sadar Bazar
- Tazia Tower, Sadar Bazar
Along with these sites you can explore the market of Sadar Bazar, where you will find & you can locate the above sites on google map by clicking this link.
Rawal Jaisal, was a 12th century king, who laid the foundation of Jaisalmer and even the Jaisalmer Fort. Both the fort & city are named after him, and this the Jaisalmer Fort which we see today is a 12th century marvel (1156 AD). The Fort of Jaisalmer is on a hill name, trikuta hill and has been mentioned in India’s history for more than 800 years.
We hear the name of Jaisalmer Fort in history manu times. First, when Alauddin Khalji (sultan of Delhi) attached Jaisalmer, when it was ruled by the ancestors of Rawal jaisalmer, Bhati Rajputs), because his goods, treasure which were leaving for middle east were continuously looted in Jaisalmer.
Then in 1530 AD, Rawal Lunakaran, who was at throne in Jaisalmer, was attached by Amir Ali (an Afghan chief), which resulted the death of thousands locals & even the royal family women, who performed jauhar (tradition where women kill themselves before getting in hands of enemies).
In the later years, Jaisalmer Fort saw some stability when they had marriage relations with Mughals, and even after the decline of Mughal empire, they (Jaisalmer Fort rulers) were left by the Mahartha’s because of their offbeat location.
Laten when the British controlled India, the then rulers of Jaisalmer Fort, accepted British influence but also saw a huge decline in trade & commerce as British didn’t went with the age old road route of trade from India to Middle east & then Europe, they (British) developed the sea ports (like Bombay).
Even after India independence, Jaisalmer remained a low income district. Then in the 2 Indo-Pak War, Jaisalmer name gets a mention again.
Today, Jaisalmer Fort locals, prefer to live outside the Fort, as now only around 4000-5000 people lives inside the castle & The main income of Jaisalmer is via tourism and below you will find all details on Jaisalmer Fort tourist sites.