A Peek Into The Jaisalmer Fort
Seems like waking up late in the morning is now getting into an ugly habit. I wanted to visit Sam sand dunes and Tanot, however life had something else packed for me. I woke up and went outside my hotel and saw Jaisalmer Fort shining in it’s all glory. Furthermore half of the day was already gone and it was not apt to make any long travel plans. So I decided to explore Jaisalmer Fort for few hours.
The first most noteworthy thing about Jaisalmer Fort is that it is sort of golden in color. From the sand dunes, that surround the city. To the yellow sandstone which plays a predominant part in the architectural landscape, the overall colour of Jaisalmer is golden. Punctuated by bright flashes of colour, be it in clothes, paintings and the interiors of the statuesque havelis that still stand proudly, in this fortress city. I found Jaisalmer fort to be utterly enchanting.
What Locals Call The Fort
Called as ‘Sonar quila’, by the locals, Jaisalmer fort is also India’s last living fort. Almost 3000 people still live within its walls, unlike other Indian forts which have been forsaken by the people and now are haunted only by occasional tourists and determined guides. Rajput ruler Rao Jaisal had built the eponymous fort in 1156, whose golden colour camouflages it in the desert. It has three large concentric walls that guard the fort. Inside are elaborate havelis, royal palaces, and buildings that have been adorned with the finest Rajasthani craftsmanship.
Unlike few forts which have multiple entrances, Jaisalmer fort has only one open entrance. The moment you enter the fort, you will find abundance of shops selling souvenirs. There are plenty of cafe’s and restaurants as well. I made a small video of the entrance, hope you like it.
Throughout the fort there are abundance of shops, restaurants and souvenirs selling people with a temporary shacks. I would say that they have over crowded the place. Especially relevant question that comes is how were they able to get the place inside the fort for business establishments? I had to asked this to the locals.
I have been to a number of forts and it is always prohibited to open any commercial establishments inside the forts. Consequently only government establishments are allowed to run business.
Official Story Of Dwelling
Some havelis inside the fort are hundreds of years old. Furthermore in Jaisalmer there are many elaborate havelis carved from yellow sandstone. Most of all these have many floors and countless rooms, with decorated windows, archways, doors and balconies.
Some havelis are today museums but most in Jaisalmer are still lived in by the families that built them. Among these is the Vyas haveli which was built in the 15th century, which is still occupied by the descendants of the original builders. Also another example is the Shree Nath Palace which was once inhabited by the prime minister of Jaisalmer.
The fort is occupied by the people whose ancestors owned the places inside, and what they have done is given those properties on rent. This is the primary reason for the fort to get over crowded.
Inside the Fort
When I was strolling inside the fort, I got into conversation with a lot of people. I enquired about the places that I could go and see inside the fort. The fort is huge and it almost requires a days if you want to cover the entire fort on foot. I have been walking for an hour without water, so I decided to have some juice just before the inner entrance before I walk further.
After having a quick refreshing drink, I went to see the entire Jaisalmer city from the fort’s cannon place. The view was just mesmerising. Take a look yourself.
I amalgamated few clips together to make a video of Jaisalmer Fort from inside. Please look how this place is overcrowded with people. Furthermore if the population is not contained in this heritage, it would cease to exist in coming days.
More pictures of Inside the picture tells us how much crowded this place has become.
I am not a very enthusiastic temple guy, bu if you are there are a lot of temples that you can visit inside the fort.
Furthermore the temples are beautifully carved and will be a life time experience if you are visiting India for the first time. People can buy a lot of things within the fort. This would include souvenirs and handicrafts. However do try and negotiate as unlike any other tourist destination, people would try to rip you off.
There are a lot of cafe’s in particular and all of them are nice. However there are few who offers you to scenic beauty of Jaisalmer City. Those are the best!
Time to go back
Finally it was getting dark and was time for me to leave. Seems like the expedition to the fort was finally coming to an end. As a result of sun coming down I retreated back to my hotel. While I was damn tired, the drinks were just starting and the night had something else parked for me. Thinking about Tanot I slept!!