|Jaisalmer Fort in the evening.|
|Nickname(s): Golden city|
|• M.L.A.||Chhotu Singh Bhati|
|• Total||5.1 km2 (2.0 sq mi)|
|Elevation||225 m (738 ft)|
|• Density||11,000/km2 (30,000/sq mi)|
|Time zone||IST (UTC+5:30)|
|Vehicle registration||RJ 15|
Jaisalmer pronunciation (help·info) (Rajasthani: जैसलमेर), nicknamed "The Golden city", is a town in the Indian state of Rajasthan. It is located 575 kilometres (357 mi) west of the state capital Jaipur. It was once known as Jaisalmer state. The town stands on a ridge of yellowish sandstone, crowned by a fort, which contains the palace and several ornate Jain temples. Many of the houses and temples are finely sculptured. It lies in the heart of the Thar Desert (great Indian desert) and has a population of about 78,000. It is the administrative headquarters of Jaisalmer District.
- 1 Origin of name
- 2 Location
- 3 History
- 4 Geography and climate
- 5 Economy
- 6 Education
- 7 Transport
- 8 Demographics
- 9 Occupation
- 10 Tourism
- 11 Visitor attractions
- 12 Desert Festival
- 13 See also
- 14 Cultural References
- 15 Further reading
- 16 How to reach
- 17 References
- 18 External links
Origin of name
Jaisalmer is named after Maharawal Jaisal Singh, a Rajput king who founded the city in 1156 AD. "Jaisalmer" means "the Hill Fort of Jaisal". Jaisalmer is sometimes called the "Golden City of India" because the yellow sand and the yellow sandstone used in every architecture of the city gives a yellowish-golden tinge to the city and its surrounding area.
District Jaisalmer is located within a rectangle lying between 26°.4’–28°.23' North parallel and 69°.20'–72°.42' east meridians. It is the largest district of Rajasthan and one of the largest in the country. The breadth (East-West) of the district is 270 km (170 mi) and the length (North-South) is 186 km (116 mi). On the present map, district Jaisalmer is bounded on the north by Bikaner, on the west & south-west by the Pakistani border, on the south by Barmer and Jodhpur, and on the east by Jodhpur and Bikaner Districts. The length of international border attached to District JAISALMER is 471 km (293 mi).
- For the history of the region, see History of Jaisalmer.
The majority of the inhabitants of Jaisalmer are Bhati Rajputs, named for Bhati, who was renowned as a warrior. The ruling family of the erstwhile Jaisalmer State belongs to Bhati Clan of Yadu Rajputs of Chandravanshi (Lunar) race who claim descent from Lord Krishna,the defied hero who ruled at Dwarka. In 1156 Rawal Jaisal, the sixth in succession from Deoraj, founded the fort and city of Jaisalmer, and made it his capital as he moved from his former capital at Lodhruva (which is situated about 15 km (9.3 mi) to the north-west of Jaisalmer). In 1293, the Bhattis so enraged the emperor Ala-ud-din Khilji that his army captured and sacked the fort and city of Jaisalmer, so that for some time it was quite deserted. Some Bhatti's from the Royal family migrated to Jaisal (Now in Pakistan), a place near to Chiniot Distt and some migrated to Talwandi, now Nankana Sahib in Distt. Nankana Sahib (Punjab, Pakistan) and others settled in Larkana (in Sind, Pakistan)under the name of Bhutto. In Nankana Sahib, the Bhatti Clan can be traced from the lineage of Rai Bhoe and Rai Bular Bhatti. After this there is nothing to record until the time of Rawal Sahal Singh, whose reign marks an epoch in Bhatti history in that he acknowledged the supremacy of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. The Jaisalmer princes had now arrived at the height of their power, but from this time till the accession of Rawal Mulraj in 1762 the fortunes of the state rapidly declined, and most of its outlying provinces were lost. In 1818 Mulraj entered into political relations with the British. Maharawal Salivahan, born in 1887, succeeded to the chiefship in 1891.
The Maharajas of Jaisalmer trace their lineage back to Jaitsimha, a ruler of the Bhatti Rajput clan. The major opponents of the Bhati Rajputs were the powerful Rathor clans of Jodhpur and Bikaner. They used to fight battles for the possession of forts, waterholes or cattle. Jaisalmer was positioned strategically and was a halting point along a traditional trade route traversed by the camel caravans of Indian and Asian merchants. The route linked India to Central Asia, Egypt, Arabia, Persia, Africa and the West.
During the Islamic invasion of India, Jaisalmer escaped direct Muslim conquest due to its geographical situation in the desert region. The Rawals of Jaisalmer agreed to pay an annual tribute to the Delhi Sultanate. The first siege of Jaisalmer occurred during the reign of Alauddin Khilji. It was provoked by Bhatis' raid on a caravan filled with treasure. According to local ballads, the Bhatis defended the fort for seven years until the enemy army forces breached the ramparts. Bhatis, facing certain defeat, proclaimed the rite of jauhar. Later, Sultan Ferozshah also besieged Jaisalmer after the rulers of Jaisalmer raided his camp at Anasagar lake near Ajmer. The siege led to another jauhar. Jaitsimha's son Duda perished in the attack. Duda's descendants ruled over Jaisalmer for about two centuries. Duda's descendant Lunakarna had a fight with Humayun when the latter passed through Jaisalmer en route to Ajmer.
Jaisalmer was one of the last states to sign a treaty with the British. During the British Raj, Jaisalmer was the seat of a princely state of the same name, ruled by the Bhati clan of Rajputs. The present descendant is Brijraj Singh. Though the city is under the governance of the Government of India, a lot of welfare work is carried out by him and his family.
Traditionally, the main source of income was the levies on the caravans. However, the glory of Jaisalmer faded when Bombay emerged as a port and the sea trade replaced the traditional land routes. The partition of India in 1947 lead to closing of all the trade routes on the Indo-Pak border and rendered Jaisalmer a drought-prone desert backwater on the international border. Ironically, skirmishes between India and Pakistan gave Jaisalmer a strategic importance and made it serviceable as an army supply depot. Later, the Rajasthan Canal served to revive the surrounding desert areas. Roads and railroads were then built, knitting the hitherto remote town with the rest of Rajasthan. Later, the Government of Rajasthan decided to promote Jaisalmer as a tourist destination.
Geography and climate
Jaisalmer has an average elevation of 229 metres (751 ft). It is situated near the border of India and Pakistan in West Rajasthan, and covers an area of 5.1 km2 (2.0 sq mi). The maximum summer temperature is around 41.6 °C (106.9 °F) while the minimum is 25 °C (77 °F). The maximum winter temperature is usually around 23.6 °C (74.5 °F) and the minimum is 7.9 °C (46.2 °F). The average rainfall is 209.5 millimetres (8.25 in). Highest ever recorded temperature was 48.0 °C (118.4 °F) and the lowest ever recorded temperature being −5.9 °C (21.4 °F).
Jaisalmer is almost entirely a sandy waste, forming a part of the Thar desert (great Indian desert). The general aspect of the area is that of an interminable sea of sand hills, of all shapes and sizes, some rising to a height of 150 feet (46 m). Those in the west are covered with log bushes, those in the east with tufts of long grass. Water is scarce, and generally brackish; the average depth of the wells is said to be about 250 feet (76 m). There are no perennial streams, and only one small river, the Kakni, which, after flowing a distance of 48 kilometres (30 mi), spreads over a large surface of flat ground, and forms Lake Orjhil ("The Bhuj-Jhil"). The climate is dry and healthy. Throughout Jaisalmer only raincrops, such as bajra, jawar, motif, til, etc., are grown; spring crops of wheat, barley, etc., are very rare. Owing to the scant rainfall, irrigation is almost unknown.
|Climate data for Jaisalmer|
|Average high °C (°F)||23.7
|Average low °C (°F)||7.6
|Precipitation mm (inches)||1.5
|Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm)||0.6||1.0||0.9||0.4||0.8||1.1||3.9||3.9||2.1||0.4||1.1||0.5||16.7|
Climatological information is based on monthly averages for the 53-year period 1948–2000.
Distances: Bikaner (330 km or 210 mi), Barmer (150 km or 93 mi), Jodhpur (293 km or 182 mi), Jaipur (568 km or 353 mi), Ahmedabad (636 km or 395 mi), Agra (802 km or 498 mi), New Delhi (874 km or 543 mi), Mumbai (1,177 km or 731 mi).
Tourism is a major industry in Jaisalmer.
Musicians and dancers are also a major cultural export from Jaisalmer to the rest of the world. Manganyar musicians have played the world over, and Queen Harish, the dancing desert drag queen, is touring the world and has featured in international movies.
Jaisalmer is also known for its leather messenger bags, made from wild camels native to the area.
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Jaisalmer is the terminus of a Broad gauge branch railway of Indian Railways, which joins with the main system at Jodhpur. The Palace on Wheels has a scheduled stop at Jaisalmer. Previously, Kingfisher Airlines provided flights during the time of the Desert Festival - however, due to an expired license, this service has been discontinued. There are no other kown regular air services. Jaisalmer is highly connected by road also. Many sleeper and sitting buses ply between Jaisalmer and Jodhpur, Jaipur, Barmer, Bikaner throughout the year.
As of the 2001 India census, Jaisalmer had a population of 58,286. Males constitute 57% of the population and females 43%. Jaisalmer has an average literacy rate of 64%, higher than the national average of 59.5%: male literacy is 73%, and female literacy is 50%. In Jaisalmer, 16% of the population is under 6 years of age.
The main part of the population lead a wandering life, grazing their flocks and herds. Large herds of camels, horned cattle, sheep and goats are kept. The principal trade is in wool, ghee, camels, cattle and sheep. The chief imports are grain, sugar, foreign cloth, piece-goods. It suffered from famine in 1897, 1900 and other years, to such an extent that it has had to incur a heavy debt for extraordinary expenditure.
While Jaisalmer may always have been remote, it is filled with many artistic structures and monuments of local historical importance. Jaisalmer's medieval mud fortress and walled township make it a popular tourist destination. The surrounding desolate landscape evidences a stark, austere beauty. Camel safaris through the nearby desert dunes are popular with tourists; competition for business is fierce. Though prices range wildly and one has to bargain like for everything all at this place. Hotel rates included. Jaisalmer is known for huge mark-ups which range between 400% to 500%. Depending on the product. So buying shalls, carpets, jewellery etc. can be a very time consuming and nerve rattling experience. A few quiet days spent wandering around the town and the surrounding desert can be a wonderful way of unwinding from the chaos of larger Indian cities.
Built in 1156 by the Bhati Rajput ruler Jaisal, Jaisalmer Fort is situated on Meru Hill and Named as Trikoot Garh had seen the scene of many battles. Its massive sandstone walls are a tawny lion colour during the day, turning to a magical honey-gold as the sun sets. The famous Indian film director Satyajit Ray wrote a detective novel and later turned it into a film − Sonar Kella (The Golden Fortress) which was based on this fort. This is a living fort and about a quarter of city's population still live inside the fort. The main attractions inside the fort are: Raj Mahal (Royal palace), Jain temples and the Laxminath temple.
Jain heritage of Jaisalmer
Jaisalmer has been enriched by its Jain community, which has adorned the city with beautiful temples, notably the temples dedicated to the 16th Tirthankara, Shantinath, and 23rd Tirthankara, Parshvanath.
Jaisalmer boasts some of the oldest libraries of India which contain rarest of the manuscripts and artefacts of Jain tradition. There are many pilgrimage centres around Jaisalmer such as Lodarva (Lodhruva), Amarsagar, Brahmsar and Pokharan.
- Desert Culture Centre & Museum
- Jaisalmer Folklore Museum
- Government Museum
- jaisalmer fort palace museum
- jaisalmer fort outsidre and insidery
- Gadsisar Lake – Excavated in 1367 by Rawal Gadsi Singh, it is a scenic rainwater lake surrounded by small temples and shrines. Earlier, this lake was used to be the main water source of Jaisalmer.
- Bhattiani Sati Rani
- Bada Bagh, a complex with chhatris of Jai Singh II (d. 1743) and subsequent Maharajas of Jaisalmer
- Amar Sagar
- Mool Sagar
- Desert National Park
- Sam sand dunes
- Khuri village
- Akal Wood fossil Park
- Gadisagar Lake
- Ramgearh TV tower: India's forth tallest structure
This is held over three days in January/February every year. This is the best time to visit Jaisalmer to witness performing arts like Kalbelia dances and folk songs and music.
- Paramara Dalvi-Deshmukh of Nasik originating from Jaisalmer
- Indira Gandhi Canal
- Baba Ramdevji
- Tanot Mata
- Sonar Kella (1974) (Golden Fortress) Satyajit Ray's Bengali film, based on his eponymous novel featuring his creation, the detective Feluda, was based in Jaisalmer and surrounding areas.
- Bhati, Hari Singh. 2002. ANNALS OF JAISALMER: A Pre-Mediaeval History. Kavi Prakashan, Bikaner.
- Gahlot, Sukhvirsingh. 1992. RAJASTHAN: Historical & Cultural. J. S. Gahlot Research Institute, Jodhpur.
- Somani, Ram Vallabh. 1993. History of Rajasthan. Jain Pustak Mandir, Jaipur.
- Tod, James & Crooke, William. 1829. Annals & Antiquities of Rajasthan or the Central and Western Rajput States of India. 3 Vols. Reprint: Low Price Publications, Delhi. 1990. ISBN 81-85395-68-3 (set of 3 vols.)
How to reach
Jaisalmer is located 300 km (190 mi) from Jodhpur airport.
Jaisalmer has its own railway station.
Jaisalmer town lies on Highway No. 15. Many buses of RSRTC and also many private Bus Operators ply between Jaisalmer and Jodhpur, Jaipur, Barmer, Bikaner, Ahmadabad, Jalore and other cities of India
- Balfour, Edward (1885). The cyclopædia of India and of Eastern and Southern Asia:. Original from Oxford University: B. Quaritch. p. 406.
- "India Meteorological Department – Weather Information for Jaisalmer". Retrieved 12 October 2012.
- "Heat wave across north, Sriganganagar at 49 degrees". Zeenews.india.com. 2010-05-27. Retrieved 2012-08-19.
- [dead link]
- Sandip Roy, Special to The Chronicle (2008-07-05). "Queen H A R I S H". Queen-harish.blogspot.com. Retrieved 2012-08-19.
- Kingfisher Press Statement on 31 December 2012: http://www.flykingfisher.com/media-center/press-releases/statement-from-kfa--mumbai-december-31st-2012.aspx
- "Census of India 2001: Data from the 2001 Census, including cities, villages and towns (Provisional)". Census Commission of India. Archived from the original on 2004-06-16. Retrieved 2008-11-01.
- "Show Map The Sun City – Jaisalmer". The Indian Backpacker. December 2012. Retrieved 2 January 2013.
- "Sonar Qila". Financial Express. 9 January 2004.
- Jaisalmer Photos
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