Both Indians and foreign visitors who visit the lovely state of Rajasthan favour the town of Jaisalmer as a tourist attraction. What sets it apart is its location in the centre of the huge Thar Desert, where it provides some of the greatest desert safaris in the world. In addition to adventure and sports, the city is deep in history, with historic palaces and forts towering tall as testaments to the craftsmen’s workmanship. Here’s a head start on some of Jaisalmer’s greatest tourist attractions for visitors wishing to get a flavour of the city.
Best places to visit in Jaisalmer
1. Jaisalmer Fort
The fort is claimed to be one of the world’s largest tourist forts. Rao Jaisal, a Bhati Rajput prince, erected it in the 12th century and named it after him. Throughout its history, the fort that currently stands as a focal point in the vast Thar Desert has experienced many fights. The huge yellow sandstone walls of the fort are a tawny lion colour during the day, then fade to honey-gold when the sun sets, blending the fort into the golden desert. Because of its gold coloured sandstone exterior, the fort is also known as the ‘Golden Fort.’ It is one of the most frequented for its charm and ageless beauty.
It is thought to be one of the few “living forts” in the world (together with Carcassonne, France), as roughly a quarter of the population of the ancient city still lives within the fort. The fort was the city of Jaisalmer for the larger portion of its 800-year existence. The earliest dwellings beyond the fort walls are reported to have appeared in the 17th century to accommodate Jaisalmer’s expanding population.
2. Jaisalmer Desert Festival
A trip to Jaisalmer includes attending the famed desert festival, which takes place every year in February. The Desert Festival is an extravaganza of folk dance, puppet plays, and a variety of other festivals that celebrate Rajasthan’s rich culture. Camel races and competitions ranging from the biggest moustache to a tug-of-war between residents and visitors make it worthwhile, and the hospitality of the Rajasthani people will leave you with lifelong memories.
2023 Jaisalmer Desert Festival. The Desert Festival Jaisalmer depicts Rajasthan’s traditional culture with a comprehensive image of folk songs, tinges, and twines framed in the sand dunes. The event would spray its colours, play its sounds, and whirl its heels from the centre of Thar Desert in order to reach the eyes of global viewers. The folk blend from Jaisalmer will undoubtedly capture the eye of numerous tourists as soon as you emerge from your winter wools and stroll into the cosy flowering taste.
Now it’s your chance to immerse yourself in the thrilling day-long event, which takes place in the midst of historical forts, old havelis, Jain temples, gorgeous palaces, and indigenous culture over the course of three days. As a result, the Jaisalmer Desert Festival 2023 is seen as a wonderful break from the Modern era, as it collapses into a collage of vivid art and old-fashioned grandeur from the Implausible India diorama.
3. Sam Sand Dunes
A trip to the that Desert would be incomplet without you visiting a sand dune ride. The Sam Sand Dunes are a long swath of spectacular sand dunes that may be travelled by camel. The camel safari takes you deep into the desert, where you may relax and enjoy some alone time. As night strikes, nothing beats a campfire with fellow travellers while listening to Rajasthan’s rustic music and dancing. This is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Jaisalmer.
Sam sand dunes are one of the most authentic desert dune sites in India, with 30-60 metre tall sand dunes and many tourists enjoying camel or jeep safaris. Sam is 45 km west of Jaisalmer city, and you can reach it by hiring a car from Jaisalmer and then staying in one of the many desert camps built within a 2-3 km radius of the sand dunes.
The ideal time to see Sam sand dunes is in the evening (sunset) between 4 and 7 p.m., or early in the morning, between 4 and 6 a.m. To go to the sunset location, which is 20-30 minutes from the campsite, you may hire a camel or a vehicle (both of which are available at desert camps).
The best time to visit Sam or even Jaisalmer is from October to February (Feb), as all of the camps are closed during this period and only a few camel riders are accessible. You won’t be able to attend the nightly musical event at Sam (in the desert camps) during the summer and monsoon months, as many tourists like it.
Despite this, Jaisalmer is neither a solitary traveler’s paradise or a spot where you feel like you’re the only person on the planet. From October to December, the Sam dunes attract a large number of domestic and international visitors, but these dunes will still provide you with room to capture photographs of wide deserts, people welcome you at camps, safari sellers following you for a paid camel ride, and so on.
4. Patwon Ki Haveli
The five-story Haveli in Jaisalmer is the city’s biggest Haveli. Its architectural splendour harkens back to the days when Rajasthan reigned supreme. The Haveli’s façade is covered with intricate decorative work. This home complex was created by a rich trader called Guman Chand Patwa, and the first of the residences was completed in 1805. Over the period of 60 years, the entire home complex with all of its splendour grew. The original home, on the other hand, remains the most opulent of them all. In Jaisalmer, it was the second haveli to be built. Despite the fact that the Haveli has been taken over by government officials, it remains a tourist attraction.
Local transportation is available from Jaisalmer to the haveli. There are two main bus stations in the city from which a lot of buses to the haveli depart. In Jaisalmer, there is also a railway station that may be utilised to go to other locations.
Badal Mahal, the Folklore Museum, and other tourist sites are all adjacent to the Patwon ki Haveli. In Jaisalmer, there is a Sunset Point where you may see a spectacular sunset on a clear day. There’s also the Jaisalmer fort, which is composed of sandstone and shimmers like gold in the sunshine.
Vyas Chhatri is a remembrance of Sage Vyas, who is credited with finishing the Mahabharata’s 300,000-page epic. The Vyas Chhatri, which gives an unrivalled perspective of Jaisalmer’s cityscape, is also regarded as one of the top tourist attractions in Jaisalmer, with a spectacular view of the setting sun on the horizon. A wonderful place to visit and spend a relaxing evening. This is one of the oldest tourist attractions in Jaisalmer.
The cenotaphs in Jaisalmer are one of the city’s most beautiful buildings and a popular tourist destination. Vyas Chhatri is a cremation place for Brahmins and is dedicated to Sage Vyas, the author of the epic poem Mahabharata.
The cenotaphs are made of yellow sandstone and have delicately sculpted chhatris on top of artistically carved pillars.
They are a stunning example of Rajasthani design. Built on a hill, the Golden Fort of Jaisalmer could be seen in the distance, as well as stunning sunset vistas.
You may take your time and look around because there are so many cenotaphs here. Pay careful attention to the fine carvings on the pillars and the elaborate decorations of the chhatris (umbrella-shaped domes).
Early morning and evening are the finest times to visit, since the sunrise and sunset vistas are among the greatest in Jaisalmer.
Vyas Chhatri has a very attractive face. Take selfies, sunsets, and landscape photography with your smartphone or DSLR camera.
6. Silk Route Art Gallery
If you’re searching for some classic Rajasthani handicraft, stop by the Silk Route Art Gallery, which has some of the greatest quilt and carpet artwork on display. The gallery keepers are helpful to the point of giving you information about the culture of the area as well as the manufacture and type of artwork on show. It is also one of Jaisalmer’s most popular tourist destinations.
7. Gadisar Lake
This is one of Jaisalmer’s most famous and wonderful tourist attractions, and it’s the ideal destination to spend your evening on your vacation. The Gadisar Lake, a man-made lake, is surrounded by the natural beauty of ghats, chhatris, and temples, creating an environment of total tranquilly and relaxation. Anyone visiting here should take a boat trip on the lake.
Gadisar Lake is a man-made lake. It is situated in the city of Jaisalmer’s southern outskirts. Rawal Jaisal, the founder of Jaisalmer, constructed this lake. It was once known as Jaisalasar Lake as a result of this. It was the Jaisalmer region’s only supply of water at the time. Gadsi Singh renovated the lake later, and it was called Gadisar Lake as a result. There are a lot of tourists from other countries right now. There are also several chhatris and temples dedicated to Hindu Gods and Goddesses around the lake.
8. Desert Cultural Center Jaisalmer
The Desert Cultural Center is where you should go if you wish to learn more about Jaisalmer’s unique cultural practises and traditions throughout your trip. A rich collection of antiques, manuscripts, and engaging puppet plays bring the history of Rajasthan and Jaisalmer to the forefront.
The Desert Cultural Center and Museum is a site where you may learn about Jaisalmer’s rich cultural heritage and practises. It is a famous tourist attraction in Rajasthan. So, if you’re short on time and can’t get a coffee at the library, this is the place to go. The site is well-kept and houses unique coins and manuscripts linked to the history of Jaisalmer and Rajasthan as a whole.
Traditional Rajasthani textiles, utensils, weaponry, musical instruments, and fossils are on display in this museum. The traditional opium mixing box, known as ‘Karal,’ is particularly popular among Westerners. Tourists can attend showcase programmes held at the location on a regular basis. To prevent a rush, try to arrive before the scheduled time.
9. Jain Temples
The Jain Temples dedicated to Shantinath, the 16th Tirthankar, and Parshvanath, the 23rd Tirthankar, are a monument to Jaislamers’ previous greatness when the Jain community was the city’s life and blood. The ancient temples amidst the ruins will take you to another dimension. It is one of the best Jaisalmer tourist attractions, providing tranquilly and happiness.
Seven Jain temples are located near the Jaisalmer fort and are examples of magnificent structural architecture. Every portion of this temple is embellished with mirrors, frescoes, sculptures, and so on, from the ceilings to the tombs to the entrances. These temples are dedicated to numerous Jain Tirthankars and were erected during the 12th and 15th centuries (Hermits). Animal and human figurines carved in the famed Dilwara temple style may be found on the temple walls. Many tourists are drawn to the Jain temple’s Gyan Bhandar, or library.
10. Bada Bagh
Bada Bagh, which translates to “large garden,” is a popular Jaisalmer tourist attraction. It was built in the 16th century by Maharawal Jait Singh. Bada Bagh was once utilised as a monument for aristocrats and their families who were cremated. Despite its remote location, the location provides a breathtaking perspective of the surrounding area. Shutterbugs should surely go to Bada Bagh at dawn and sunset to catch the stunning scenery on their cameras. This is one of the most fascinating Tourist Attractions in Jaisalmer.
During his reign in the 16th century CE, Jait Singh II (1497–1530), a descendant of Maharawal Jaisal Singh, the founder of Jaisalmer State, commissioned a dam to establish a water tank. This turned the desert in this area green.
Lunkaran (1530-1551), Jait Singh II’s son, erected a lovely garden around the lake and a monument chhatri cenotaph on a hill overlooking the lake after his father’s death. Many other cenotaphs for Lunkaran and other Bhattis were also built here. The last chhatri, intended for Maharawal Jawahir Singh, was begun in the twentieth century but never completed following India’s independence.
Bada Bagh is perched on a tiny incline. The memorial chhatri cenotaphs were all carved out of sandstone blocks, but they came in at least four distinct sizes – for the governing kings, queens, princes, and other members of the royal family. A marble slab with inscriptions about the departed king and a symbolic picture of a man on a horse adorns each cenotaph.
11. The Thar Heritage Museum
The Thar Heritage Museum in Jaisalmer is a private museum in the heart of the city that is a living land of culture, architecture, history, and all things beautiful. Mr LN Khatri is the brains behind the museum. In his day, the guy was a history student and folklorist. He gathered everything that struck his sight and moved his heart and displayed it in a stunning museum for everybody to see. Musical instruments, fossils, manuscripts, and turbans fill the halls of this private museum.
The museum serves as a living representation of Rajasthani culture and traditions. Though tiny in size, the Thar Heritage Museum displays Jaisalmer’s archives in the form of artefacts, coinage, and royal family portraits. The warm hospitality of the owner himself, and how he walks you through his treasured collections and shares his stories and anecdotes with everybody, is something that is much spoken about and remembered by all. Every relic and fragment in the collection is double-checked.
With the narration of a personal narrative interspersed throughout the historical pieces, it becomes even more appealing. The museum in Jaisalmer contains a lovely collection of antique images, some dating back to the period when the Royal family lived in the city and depicting their lifestyle and classic automobiles. A few subsequent photographs give insight on different characteristics of the fort and structures during the period. It’s incredible to see how much the fort has changed since then. A trip to the Thar Museum transports visitors back in time. Look around for the ‘Snakes & Ladders’, a museum reproduction that is supposed to be a teaching guide to Hinduism and its spiritual path.
It is something that will undoubtedly cause a visitor to reflect and wonder for hours.
12. Mandir Palace
Mandir Palace, with its magnificent canopies, balconies, and intricately carved screens, perfectly exemplifies Rajputana artistry. It is one of the most popular Jaisalmer tourist attractions. Mandir Palace was built between the 9th and 10th century and served as the Jaisalmer monarchs’ palace for about 200 years. In Mandir Palace, there is also a towering sandstone edifice known as ‘Badal Vilas’.
13. Salim Ji Ki Haveli
The Salim Ji KI Haveli is a fine example of Rajputana-style architecture. It is a popular tourist destination in Jaisalmer for sightseeing. Salim Ji Ki Haveli was built in the 17th century and has a beautiful shape with 38 unique balconies. This Haveli’s wide arched ceiling mimics that of a peacock, making it a unique and captivating appearance. So, if you’re visiting Jaisalmer, make a point of visiting Salim Ji Ki Haveli, the city’s heritage site. This is one of the most beautiful tourist attractions in Jaisalmer.
Salim Singh Ki Haveli was established by Salim Singh, the kingdom’s prime minister while Jaisalmer was the capital, in 1815. This mansion was built without the use of cement or mortar; instead, the stones are held together by strong iron rods.
This palace is known for its unique construction, which has 38 elegantly carved balconies. This mansion’s architecture is based on a dancing peacock. The Haveli, one of the most ambitious monuments of its period, is so gorgeous that it even inspired jealousy among the rulers.
14. Desert National Park
Among the country’s major parks, Desert National Park is the finest. Because deserts are hostile environments for flora and wildlife, only species that can withstand the harsh climatic conditions of the desert may be found here. Desert National Park, on the other hand, is home to a great number of migrating birds who travel to the area in enormous numbers. Book a jeep safari in this region to see the extinct lakes and take in the splendour of the wild and stunning scenery.
Despite the fragile habitat, there is a plethora of birds to be found. The area provides a sanctuary for desert migratory and permanent birds. There are a lot of eagles, harriers, falcons, buzzards, kestrels, and vultures here. The most prevalent are short-toed eagles, tawny eagles, spotted eagles, laggar falcons, and kestrels. Sand grouse can be found near tiny lakes or ponds. The superb big Indian bustard, which is endangered, is found in reasonably large numbers. It migrates locally at different times of the year. Between November and January is the best time to visit the region. The Desert National Park features a 180 million-year-old collection of animal and plant fossils.
Dinosaur fossils dating back 60 million years have been discovered in the region.
Desert National Park’s main attraction is the endangered Indian bustard. The bustard is a metre tall with long naked legs and a long neck and is brown and white in colour. This tall and beautiful ground-dwelling bird may be found near the Sudashri waterhole.
Gadsisar Lake is a popular tourist destination in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan. Every year, thousands of migrating birds flock to this location.
15. Vyas Chhatri Sunset Point
Vyas Chhatri is a fort in Jaisalmer that was built in honour of Saint Vyasa, the renowned Brahmin sage who penned the Mahabharata, the greatest Hindu epic. It is a superb illustration of the peculiar Rajasthani style of building, as it is situated among the sand dunes. This location was also utilised for the cremation of Pushkarana Brahmins, and it now has multiple cenotaphs, or empty tombs, dedicated to them. Because they resemble an umbrella, these cenotaphs are known as chhatris. In the evening, visit Vyas Chhatri for a spectacular view of the sun lowering into the horizon.
Jaisalmer is filled with tourists all year, but the months of September to March are the best for visiting this tourist destination. Plan your vacation so that you have plenty of time to explore and learn about these 15 diverse and well-known Jaisalmer tourist attractions.