Jaisalmer was one of our favorite places during our tour of India. Despite being in the Thar Desert, more than 800 kilometers from New Delhi and not having a commercial airport nearby, we decided to include it in our itinerary. And we have no regrets! It is known as the golden city for its golden color, since it is surrounded by desert and many of its buildings are built with yellow sandstone. It’s really golden! In this post we tell you 10 things to do in Jaisalmer so you can enjoy this treasure.


1. Climb Jaisalmer Fort

Jaisalmer Fort is the main attraction of the city. In India you can visit a lot of forts, but few as special as the one in Jaisalmer. Built in 1156, it is the second oldest fort in rajasthan, so his story is incredible. However, what catches our attention the most is that, unlike the rest of the forts, there are still quite a few people residing inside. An estimated 4,000 people still live in the fort, most of them descendants of the Brahmin and Rajput communities.

In fact, it is one of the few inhabited forts on the planetlike that of Carcassonne. When the city was born, its entire population lived inside the fort, but later, in the 18th century, new settlements were born beyond the walls.

Jaisalmer has always been a very important city in the province, since It was located at the crossroads of important trade routes such as the ancient Silk Road. Now, it is a relevant tourist destination and its strength is one of the most impressive places to see in Jaisalmer.

As we have said before, there is a lot of life. You will be able to see a lot of things: be amazed by its doors, visit the Raj Mahal, the former residence of the Maharawal of Jaisalmer or some of its 7 Jain temples that are located inside. Of course, it is also home to beautiful havelis (some of them converted into hotels). Do not miss it!

The entrance to Jaisalmer Fort

2. Photograph Gadisar Lake (Gadisar Lake)one of the most beautiful places to see in Jaisalmer

Apart from the Jaisalmer Fort, this beautiful lake is the other main attraction of the city. And that’s artificial! Like the fort, it was also built by the founder of Jaisalmer, King Rawal Jaisal in the year 1156 to provide water to the entire city. In fact, At the time it was the only source of water the city had.. Although now the reality is very different!

What is most striking is that the lake has several chhatris and shrines of Hindu gods. It’s really picturesque! Take the opportunity to rest for a while enjoying the views, since it is one of the essential visits to do in Jaisalmer.

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Gadisar Lake, one of the most beautiful places to see in Jaisalmer

3. Be amazed by the architecture of Patwon Ki Haveli

Havelis are a very important part of Rajasthani culture.. We were amazed by the ones we saw in Bikaner, but those from Jaisalmer surprised us even more. If you still don’t know what a haveli is, it is basically a mansion, of great historical importance. Normally, their owners were important merchants and they stand out for their incredible frescoes and carvings. They were a symbol of family power!

Patwon Ji ki Haveli was the first haveli to be built in Jaisalmer, specifically in the 18th century. It is not a single haveli, but a group of five small havelis. Apart from its beautiful architecture, it hides a curious legend.

A Jain priest warned the Patwa brothers that their business would never prosper in Jaisalmer. So they decided to leave town. Fulfilling the priest’s prophecy, the brothers had great success in the world of finance and in response to this, the head of the family, decided to gift each of his five children a separate mansion in Jaisalmer (ignoring the priest’s advice). However, their fortunes began to dwindle upon their return to the city, so they decided to leave the city and left the havelis in the hands of caretakers, who ended up selling them to other locals.

The haveli is one of the best places to see in Jaisalmer. Entry costs 100INR per person (€1), although go early as it tends to get crowded.

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One of the most charming corners of the Golden City

4. And Nathmal Ki Haveli too!

But the previous haveli It is not the only attraction to see in Jaisalmer. A few meters away, you can visit the residence of the then prime minister Diwan Mohata Nathmal. In this case, it is more surprising for its exterior, full of incredible carvings, especially its two elephants made of limestone guarding the entrance.

It was built at the end of the 19th century and is a testament to the rich history and culture of the region. It is so important because it is a unique example of the Bhunga style, a combination of Islamic and Rajput influences. Definitely, one of the essential visits to do in Jaisalmer (and calmer than that of the Patwa).

5. Refuel with good views at Café The Kaku, one of the best things to do in Jaisalmer

You can’t leave Jaisalmer without visiting this cafe. The views are amazing! This place offers quite a variety of food, but above all, an incredible panoramic view of Jaisalmer and its fort. We couldn’t find a better one! We recommend going at sunset, although there are more people. However, the space is quite large and you should have no problem finding space. Of course, arrive about 45 minutes early to ensure a good spot.

The view is amazing!

6. Enjoy a Jeep Safari in Sam’s Dunes at sunset

One of the main reasons we traveled to Jaisalmer was to get lost in its desert. The city is located in the desert and one of the best-known parts are Sam’s Dunes. They are incredible! In Jaisalmer everyone will offer you camel safari, jeep safari or they will sell you one or two night tours in desert camps.

We decided to do a Jeep Safari, since we do not like to ride camels, since most of them are exploited. The Jeep Safari was amazing; Navigating those dunes at high speed is a magnificent experience that you cannot miss. Definitely, one of the essential activities to do in Jaisalmer, especially at sunset.

An incredible sunset experience!

7. Sleeping in the desert (or nearby), one of the best things to do in Jaisalmer

However, One of the highlights of our trip to Jaisalmer was having the opportunity to sleep in this luxurious hotel in the middle of the desert. It seemed like a fictional place! In addition, we were the only guests, so we practically enjoyed the facilities alone.

Sleeping in a desert camp is one of the best things to do in Jaisalmer. We did it in these beautiful cabins Gobindgarh Jaisalmer. It is located about 20 kilometers from Sam’s Dunes, in a super quiet and picturesque environment. Even our cabins had a pool!

While it is true, There are other camps that will offer you a more authentic experience that will include camel rides and other experiences. However, we avoid getting on these animals, since as we have mentioned before, the vast majority are exploited.

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Our cabin in Gobindgarh Jaisalmer

8. Get close to the royal cenotaphs in Bada Bagh, one of the most impressive places to see in Jaisalmer

Before leaving Jaisalmer, we were lucky enough to meet Bada Bagh. There you can visit a huge set of chhatris (royal cenotaphs), built by the Majaras of Jaisalmer in the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries.

Basically, Chhatris are memorials in honor of important people, the vast majority belonging to the royal house. In their customs, bodies are always cremated and the ashes are thrown into the water of sacred rivers or lakes. At the place of cremation, these commemorative cenotaphs are usually built, very common in India.

Those at Bada Bagh are carved from sandstone blocks, in four different sizes, depending on whether they were built for kings, their queens, princes or other members of the royal family. Visiting it is one of the essential things to do in Jaisalmer, especially at sunset.

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One of the most interesting places to see in Jaisalmer

9. Visit the Jaisalmer War Museum (Jaisalmer War Museum)an interesting visit to do in Jaisalmer

Unfortunately, India and Pakistan have been locked in conflict since India’s independence from the United Kingdom in 1947. In fact, they were once the same country, although the Muslims decided to create a separate state from India, which has a Hindu majority.

Since then, There have been several wars between the two nations, those of 1965 and 1971 being of great importance.. In fact, this museum features war exhibits on the operations of these two campaigns. You can see vehicles and other objects used in the conflict. Although basically, the museum was created to show the bravery and sacrifices of the Indian Army during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965 and 1971.

You should know that Jaisalmer is located very close to the border with Pakistan, in an area controlled by the Indian Air Force. Although the conflict has not stopped, the area is calmer, although it is still a hot spot (hence the large military presence). If you are looking for something different to do in Jaisalmer, visiting this museum is really interesting to understand the conflict.

10. Don’t miss the Desert Festival!

And finally, to finish this article on the best things to do in Jaisalmer, we could not forget to mention the famous Desert Festival. Held once a year, this event is the perfect time to enjoy the rich cultural heritage and folk traditions of Rajasthan.

It is normally celebrated in the month of February for three days. The golden landscapes of the Thar Desert and the architecture of the Golden City become a riot of color and music, where folk dances are the protagonists. Especially, the Dance of Fire, made by the Banjara community. If you get a chance to visit Jaisalmer in February, you won’t regret it.


On the following map you will find marked all things to see in Jaisalmer so you can plan your visit.

Source: https://lostraveleros.com/que-hacer-en-jaisalmer/

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