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This article is about the municipality in Rajasthan, India. For its namesake district, see Jaisalmer district. For the historical region and state, see Jaisalmer state.
View of the Jaisalmer Fort in the evening.
View of the Jaisalmer Fort in the evening.
Nickname(s): Golden city
Jaisalmer is located in Rajasthan
Location in Rajasthan, India
Coordinates: 26°55′N 70°54′E / 26.92°N 70.9°E / 26.92; 70.9Coordinates: 26°55′N 70°54′E / 26.92°N 70.9°E / 26.92; 70.9
Country  India
State Rajasthan
District Jaisalmer
Founded by Rawal Jaisal
 • M.L.A. Chhotu Singh Bhati
 • Total 5.1 km2 (2.0 sq mi)
Elevation 225 m (738 ft)
Population (2011)
 • Total 65,471
 • Density 13,000/km2 (33,000/sq mi)
 • Official Hindi[rajasthani]
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
PIN 345 00x
Telephone code 02992
Vehicle registration RJ 15
Website jaisalmer.rajasthan.gov.in
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Hill Forts of Rajasthan
Name as inscribed on the World Heritage List
Type Cultural
Criteria ii, iii
Reference 247
UNESCO region South Asia
Inscription history
Inscription 2013 (36th Session)

Jaisalmer About this sound pronunciation  (Rajasthani: जैसलमेर), nicknamed "The Golden city", is a city in the Indian state of Rajasthan, located 575 kilometres (357 mi) west of the state capital Jaipur. Once known as Jaisalmer state it is a World Heritage Site. 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 (the Great Indian Desert) and has a population of about 78,000. It is the administrative headquarters of Jaisalmer District.

Origin of name[edit]

Jaisalmer is named after Maharawal Jaisal Singh, a Rajput king who founded the city in 1156 AD.[1] "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.


It is the largest district of Rajasthan and one of the largest in the country. on the west & south-west by the Pakistani border,. The length of international border attached to Jaisalmer District is 471 km (293 mi).

Geography and climate[edit]

Sand dunes near Jaisalmer.

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).[2] Highest ever recorded temperature was 48.0 °C (118.4 °F);[3] the lowest ever recorded temperature being −5.9 °C (21.4 °F).[4]

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. Throughout Jaisalmer only raincrops, such as bajra, jawar, motif, til, etc., are grown; spring crops of wheat, barley, etc., are very rare.


Bada Bagh and windmill farms of Jaisalmer

Tourism is a major industry in Jaisalmer.

The Government of India initiated departmental exploration for oil in 1955–56 in the Jaisalmer area.[5] Oil India Limited discovered natural gas in 1988 in the Jaisalmer basin.[6]

Musicians and dancers are also a major cultural export from Jaisalmer to the rest of the world. Merasi (formerly Manganiyar, a derogatory term meaning "beggar"[7]) musicians have played the world over, and Queen Harish,[8] 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.

Event Destination[edit]

Jaisalmer is one of the most preferred event organizing destinations in Rajasthan. Rodies (India's T.V. show), Balika Vadhu, Maharana Pratap, and several movies were shot in various locations and famous fort structured hotels of Jaisalmer.[9]


Jaisalmer is connected to rest of rajasthan by buses provided by rajasthan state transport corporation and other private bus operators.Airport is currently inactive. Jaisalmer is connected to rest of india.There are daily trains between jaipur and jaisalmer. Jaisalmer is connected to delhi by jaipur route.Additionally there exists a luxurious train palace on wheels for tourists.




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. Prices range wildly and one has to bargain for everything, hotel rates included. Jaisalmer is known for huge mark-ups which range between 400% to 500% depending on the product. So buying shawls, carpets, jewelry 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.[10]

Visitor attractions[edit]

Jaisalmer Fort[edit]

Sign in Jaisalmer Fort in Rajasthan

Built in 1156 by the Bhati Rajput ruler Jaisal, Jaisalmer Fort, situated on Meru Hill and named as Trikoot Garh has been 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[edit]

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 War Museum
  • Akal Fossil Park Museum
  • Cactus Park Museum, Kuldhara


Gadsisar Lake

Ramdevra a village in Jaisalmer is named after Baba Ramdevji, a Tanwar Rajput and a saint who took Samādhi in 1384 CE, at the age of 33 years. He is worshiped today by many social groups of India as Ishta-deva.

Gadsisar lake, Jaisalmer
  • Gadsisar Lake – Excavated in 1367 by Rawal Gadsi Singh, it is a scenic rainwater lake surrounded by the small temples and shrines of Amar Sagar. Earlier, this lake was used to be the main water source of Jaisalmer. Due to an increased water demand for agriculture, the lake is increasingly threatened to dry out.[11]

In neighbourhood[edit]

Ganga Sagar
Remains of houses in Kuldhara – The deserted village of Rajasthan

Desert Festival[edit]

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.

See also[edit]

Cultural references[edit]

  • 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.[12]


  • Spirit of Thar (Hindi non feature film 2014)(Universal certificate)Directed By Abenezer Inder.this film is based on traditional water step well of jaisalmer and shooted in gadsisar,amar sagar,bada bagh and many more far location of jaisalmer and this film got entery in 62 national film award 2014 in non feature film section.


Evening shot of film spirit of thar
Major shot of amar sagar and film spirit of thar has shooted in location

Further reading[edit]

  • 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[edit]

By Air:
Jaisalmer is located 300 km (190 mi) from Jodhpur airport.
A civil airport has been constructed in Jaisalmer and will soon be inaugurated.

By Rail:
Jaisalmer has daily connectivity with Bikaner, Lalgarh, Jodhpur, Ajmer, Pali, Jaipur, Alwar, Rewari, Gurgaon, Delhi, Ghaziabad, Muradabad, Kathgodam, Kashipur & Ramnagar. The weekly train connectivity with Abu road, Lucknow, Gaya, Varanasi, Mughalsarai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Vadodra, Surat & Mumbai. Occasionally special AC super fast trains or express trains available on Diwali, Deshhara, Winter leaves, Christmas, New year & Desert festival (during peak seasons) from Jaipur & Delhi. Jaisalmer is also one of the major stations in the journey by India's most luxurious train "Palace on Wheels"

By Road:
Jaisalmer town lies on Highway No. 15. It has luxury Mercedes and Volvo bus connectivity with Delhi, as well as Ahmedabad. Many buses are of the RSRTC and also many private bus operators ply from Jaisalmer to Jodhpur, Jaipur, Barmer,Udaipur, Bikaner,Mt Abu, Ahmadabad, Mumbai, Pune and other cities of India.


  1. ^ Balfour, Edward (1885). The encyclopædia of India and of Eastern and Southern Asia:. Original from Oxford University: B. Quaritch. p. 406. 
  2. ^ "India Meteorological Department – Weather Information for Jaisalmer". Retrieved 12 October 2012. 
  3. ^ "Heat wave across north, Sriganganagar at 49 degrees". Zeenews.india.com. 2010-05-27. Retrieved 2012-08-19. 
  4. ^ http://www.imd.gov.in/section/climate/jaisalmer2.htm
  5. ^ http://planningcommission.nic.in/plans/planrel/fiveyr/2nd/2planch18.html
  6. ^ [1][dead link]
  7. ^ http://www.caravanmagazine.in/reportage/desert-drummers, Yudhijit Bhattacharjee, "Desert Drummers", Caravanmagazine.in, 1 August 2013
  8. ^ Sandip Roy, Special to The Chronicle (2008-07-05). "Queen H A R I S H". Queen-harish.blogspot.com. Retrieved 2012-08-19. 
  9. ^ goldencastleevents.com
  10. ^ "Show Map The Sun City – Jaisalmer". The Indian Backpacker. December 2012. Retrieved 2 January 2013. 
  11. ^ Jaisalmer, Rajasthan by Don't Complain Travel
  12. ^ "Sonar Qila". Financial Express. 9 January 2004. 
  13. ^ Jaisalmer Photos
  14. ^ http://cbfcindia.gov.in/html/uniquepage.aspx?lang=HINDI&va=spirit%20of%20thar&Type=search

External links[edit]