|Jaisalmer City Facts|
|Tourist Attractions:||Gadsisar Lake, Jain Temple, Jaisalmer Fort, Manak Chowk, Nathmalji Ki Haveli, Patwon Ki Haveli, Salim Singh Ki Haveli|
|Climate of Jaisalmer||Average Summer max 46° C,
Winter min 8° C
|Best season||October to March.|
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.