Jaisalmer, in the heart of the desert is also known as ‘the golden city’. Covered with sand dunes, Jaisalmer was founded way back in the 12th century. During the medieval period, Jaisalmer had emerged as a major trade route centre between India and the western countries.
The fort of Jaisalmer is the second oldest fort of Rajasthan. The fort is located on Trikuta Hills and has a 250 feet high pedestal. There are five beautiful palaces inside the fort- Sarvottam Vilas, Akhai Vilas, Gaj Mahal, Rang Mahal and Moti Mahal. Very strong but beautiful looking latticework screens have been installed to protect the interiors from the fierce heat and desert winds. Rang Mahal, the most popular of the palaces, features some exquisite mural paintings.
Three exquisitely sculptured Jain temples dedicated to Rishabhdevji, Sambhavanathji and Ashthapadi are another highlight of Jaisalmer. The ornamentation of the temples has been done in the style of the Dilwara temple at Mt. Abu and looks fabulous. There is also an emerald icon of Mahavira inside the temple premises.
The Havelis of Jaisalmer are examples of the architectural brilliance of the Rajputs. Some of the popular Havelis are Patwon-Ki-Haveli, Salim Sing ki-Haveli and Nathmalji-ki-Haveli. The elaborate designs on the walls and luxurious interiors give a splendid look to the Havelis.
The Desert Culture Centre and Museum has an impressive collection of traditional items of the state. These include old coins, different kinds of textiles and traditional Rajasthani instruments. Some fossils found in the desert have also been kept for display. A visit to the museum would give you a good idea of the history and culture of Rajasthan.