The Jaisalmer Fort is one of the splendid foundations and stands majestically amidst of the Great Thar Desert. Exemplary display of Indian art and craft, the Jaisalmer Fort is also admired for its military significance. This crowning glory of the Golden City of Jaisalmer, this fort has been one of the most prominent tourist destinations in the country. Today, the fort accommodates about the quarter of the city’s total population. There was a time when the entire population of Jaisalmer lived within the fort. Owing to the increase in the resident population and a great surge in the number of tourist who come to witness this magnificent structure, the fort found a place in the World Monuments Watch in 1996, 1998 and 2000. Here is a detailed account of all the aspects of this great monument. Go through and learn all about it.
Jaisalmer Fort Rajasthan
Location: Jaisalmer, Rajasthan
Built In: 1156 AD
Built By: Rawal Jaisal
Dynasty: Bhati Rajput
Tags: Was included In ‘World Monuments Watch’
Fort Of Jaiselmer
History Of The Fort
The Jaisalmer Fort was built by Raja Jaiswal during the 12th century. When his previous capital Lodurva became vulnerable and was subjected to frequent invasions Raja Jaiswal shifted his capital to Jaisalmer. In the year 1156 he fortified his capital with a giant strong fort what is today known as the Jaisalmer Fort. The fort was built on the site which according to the legends was suggested by a wise local hermit. The mystic told Jaisal that in the Indian epic of Mahabharata, Lord Krishna, the Hindu deity had praised and blessed the site and thus a fort built on this site will remain almost concealed from the enemies. However, during the British rule, in the wake of a sudden surge in the sea trade, the port of Bombay blossomed, and the city underwent a significant economic recession, which laid an impact on the fort as well. When India gained independence and Pakistan came to existence, the ancient trade route was completely ceased and the fate of the city was sealed.
- During the 13th century, Ala-ud-din Khilji attacked and conquered the fort. He held the control of the fort for about 9 years. When Ala-ud-din Khilji attacked the fort the women inside the fort committed ‘Jauhar’ or self-immolation.
- Again in the 16th century the fort witnessed a second attack this time by Mughal Emperor Humayun.
Architectural Layout Of The Fort
The fort was built lavishly with yellow sandstones. The Jaisalmer Fort is 250 feet in height and is surrounded from all sides by strong walls that climb as high as 30 feet. Apart from these, there are 99 bastions, carved of stone which were designed to serve as platforms for guns. However, 92 of these bastions were built during the period from 1633 to 1647. The fort is a five storied structure and girded with three layers of thick walls. The fort is also embellished with screen windows, beautiful pavilions and elegant balconies. The wells within the fort have been the major source of water for the people inside. The fort provides access through four of its gates named Ganesh Pol, Bhoot Pol Suraj Pol and Hawa Pol.
Despite being one of the prominent tourist sites and one of the oldest forts in the state of Rajasthan, Sonar Quila or Jaisalmer Fort is in derelict condition owing to the negligence by the authorities in concern. Due to leakage of water and poor drainage and sewage system the foundation of the fort is under great threat. However, Archeological Survey of India has taken the initiative and devising possible renovation with a budget of Rs 10 crore which have been allotted under Rajasthan Urban Infrastructure Development Project.
Best Time to Visit
Jaislmer lies in the state of Rajasthan where temperature during the summer can rise as high as 49°C. The winter months are pleasant. Period between the months of October and February is the best time to visit the city and the fort of Jaisalmer. The fort remains open to the visitors 24hours a day all throughout the year.
How To Reach
- By Air: The nearest airport to the city of Jaisalmer is Jodhpur which lies at a distance of around 185 km. Flights to all major cities in India can be boarded here.
- By Train: Through the Western Railways the city of Jaisalmer is connect to almost all the major cities in India.
- By Road: Through first-rate roadways the city of Jaisalmer enjoys great connectivity to all the important cities of Rajasthan and northern-India.
Other Tourist Spots In & Around
The fort of Jaisalmer includes five palaces, like Sarvottam Vilas, Gaj Mahal, Akhai Vilas, Rang Mahal and Moti Mahal. There are a few grand havelis which lie inside the fort premises which flaunt their opulently carved interiors and exteriors. However, in recent times the majority of the mansions have been converted to shops.
Built in the 12th century the Jaisalmer Fort has always been one of the most important monuments in this country which have sustained the test of time and survived. All you want to know ranging from the history, architecture to the accessibility of the fort have been encompassed in the article above.