Jaisalmer is also known as 'Golden City' as it has awesome charm of the desert. Read further to know more on Travel & Tourism in Jaisalmer.
Rajasthan Travel : Jaisalmer India
Travel to Jaisalmer - Jaisalmer is spectacular. Approaching it from the desert, it seems suddenly to rise out of the desert haze, a magnificent stretch of massive yellow sandstone walls and bastions bathed golden in the afternoon sun. The city has thus become popular as the Golden City and is sure to cast a magical spell on the visitor. Perched atop the Trikuta Hill, Jaisalmer stands tall against miles of gleaming sand epitomising the desolate awesome charm of the desert. Legend says that the Lord Krishna, the head of Yadav clan, had prophesied that a remote descendant of the Yadav clan would one day build his kingdom atop the Trikuta Hill. In the 12th century a Bhati Rajput prince, Maharawal Jaisal, came here to seek the blessings of a sage, Eesul, and learning that the Maharawal Jaisal descended from the Yadav, told him of Lord Krishna's prophecy. His prophecy was fulfilled when Maharawal Jaisal shifted his capital here from the nearby Lodurva and founded the city of Jaisalmer in 1156. The sage, Eesul, had also prophesied that this new city would be sacked two and a half times. Tourism is the pillar of Jaisalmer's economy The camel safari through the surrounding desert region and the annual Desert Festival attracts people from India as well as all over the world.
History of Jaisalmer :
Rajput history is full of dramatic episodes, intrigues and high courage. The subsequent history of Jaisalmer is derived from Barhats who still sing of the events that began with Sultan Alauddin Khilji's siege to Jaisalmer at the end of the thirteenth century. A treasure caravan of the Sultan of Delhi was ambushed and captured by Jaisalmer's three princes. The Sultan Alauddin Khilji of Delhi launched a punitive expedition and the siege lasted for almost eight years. During the siege the Maharawal died and his son Mulraj-I ascended the throne. But towards the end of 1294, the food and ammunition were practically exhausted and eventually Jaisalmer fell, but not before thousands of its women performed Jauhar led by the queens of the Mulraj brothers to prevent themselves from falling into the hands of the enemy. The men donned their wedding robes over their armour bound the 'mor' (a glittering peacock coronet) and these 3800 surviving warriors rode out to certain death.
In time the surviving Bhatis reoccupied Jaisalmer. Maharawal Duda's descendants continued to rule till 1315. The second sacking of Jaisalmer occurred when one of the princes daringly stole the prize stud of the then Sultan of Delhi, Feroz Shah when he passed through Jaisalmer enroute to Ajmer. Jaisalmer could not escape vengeance. Once again the women folk of the fort performed Jauhar and the Maharawal Duda and his son Tilaski died with 1700 of their loyal warriors.
The half sacking took place in the 16th century when a neighboring chieftain from Afghanistan played a Trojan horse trick on Jaisalmer, by bringing into its fort screened palanquins supposedly carrying the ladies of his court, but actually held armed men. A hand to hand fight broke out and sensing defeat, the Maharawal of Jaisalmer killed his queens with his own sword - since there was no time to prepare a massive funeral pyre. Tragically, to the shock of the Maharawal, it turned out to be in vain, as rescue came in the shape of reinforcements and the traitors were wiped out. The menfolk survived, hence the half jauhar, fulfilling the ancient prophecy.
The Maharawals of Jaisalmer continued to be attacked by the Mughals but resisted courageously. Later in 1650, Maharawal Sabal Singh recognized the sovereignity of the Mughal Emperor Shahjahan and under his patronage, annexed vast areas and a new era of prosperity began for Jaisalmer. The coffers of the Jaisalmer rulers and the rich Jain merchants were used to build exquisite palaces and havelis (mansions). Religion and the fine arts flourished, the temples dedicated to Jainism were allowed to be constructed within the fort with sculptural depictions of both Hindu and Jain images.
Jaisalmer lay on the ancient trade route of the orient linking India with the trading centres of the central Asia. The feudal chiefs lived off the forced levy on the caravan laden with precious silk, spices and dry fruits that crossed the territory enroute Delhi or Sindh.
The growth of maritime trade between India and the West saw the decline of Jaisalmer. By the 19th century Jaisalmer was touched by the influence of the British Raj and was the last of the Rajput states to sign a treaty with them.
Even today, the life within the citadel conjures up images of medieval majesty visible in its narrow lanes strewn with magnificent palaces, havelis, ancient Jain temples, skilled artisans and ubiquitous camels. Every house here is exquisitely carved, having filigreed work all over. The town's strategic importance for India is paramount for it borders with the neighboring Pakistan. The Indira Gandhi Canal to the north is beginning to transform the desert landscape. In addition there are major prospects for natural gas beneath the desert sands.
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