Salim Singh Ki Haveli
This haveli was built in the first half of the 18th century and a part of it is still occupied by descendants of the original residents. The high arched roof is supported by carved brackets designed in the shape of peacocks. Legend has it that there were two additional wooden storeys that made it match the Maharaja's palace in height, but he ordered for the upper level to be demolished.
this Haveli is slightly different from the other Havelis in terms of art and sculpture. The roof of this Haveli has been built in the form of a peacock. At the entrance of the Haveli, there are tuskers made of sand stones guarding the haveli.
This haveli has 38 balconies and each balcony has its own artistry. The name given to this Haveli is Jahaz mahal because of the front of the haveli resembling ship stern. Welcome incredible India recommends a visit to this Haveli to see how beautiful art can be.
Patwon ki Haveli
The Patwon Ji ki Haveli is an interesting piece of Architecture and is the most important among the havelis in Jaisalmer. This is precisely because of two things, first that it was the first haveli erected in Jaisalmer and second, that it is not a single haveli but a cluster of 5 small havelis. The first among these havelis was commissioned and constructed in the year 1805 by Guman Chand Patwa and is the biggest and the most ostentatious. It is believed that Patwa was a rich man and was a renowned trader of his time. He could afford and thus ordered the construction of separate stories for each of his 5 sons. These were completed in the span of 50 years. All five houses were constructed in the first 60 years of the 19th century.
The havelis are also known as the 'mansion of brocade merchants'. This name has been given probably because the family dealt in threads of gold and silver used in embroidering dresses. However, there are theories, which claim that these traders made considerable amount of money in Opium smuggling and Money-lending.
This is the largest Haveli in Jaisalmer and stands in a narrow lane. This haveli is presently occupied by the government, which uses it for various purposes. The office of the Archeological Survey of India and State art and craft department is situated in the haveli itself.
Nevertheless, even after these encroachments and abuse you can find a good amount of paintings and mirror-works on the wall. The other important aspects are its gateways and arches. You will notice individual depictions and theme on each and every arch. Although the whole building is made yellow sandstone, the main gateway of the Patwon Ji ki Haveli is in brown color.
Nathmalji Ki Haveli
Nathmalji Ki Haveli was the residence of the Prime Minister of Jaisalmer, Diwan Mohata Nathmal, and it was built in yellow sandstone in Jaisalmer. The most interesting fact about it is that all its art effects are done by a jeweler and not a stone carver. It has an extraordinary exterior, dripping with carvings, and the 1st floor has some beautiful paintings using 1.5kg of gold leaf. The left and right wings were the work of two brothers, whose competitive spirits apparently produced this virtuoso work – the two sides are similar, but not identical. Sandstone elephants guard the entrance. On a tour to Jaisalmer, visitors can't afford to miss the magnificent architecture of Nathmal Ji Ki Haveli. As per the facts, the construction of this mansion started from two points at the same time. One can see elephant carvings on yellow stones, and intricately carved exteriors and interiors. A huge statue of an elephant made of yellow sandstones welcomes every tourist and shopper in this Haveli.
Did you know that Kuldhara is one of the most haunted village in India? The deserted, narrow and ancient streets of Kuldhara are the source of myths, spooky folklore ,and stories of ghosts and paranormal activity.
17 kilometers from Jaisalmer, nestles a town called Kuldhara, which was once prosperous but now, it lies in ruins and all that is left are various open houses in the state of despair. At first sight, this curse ghost town, Kuldhara, gets the thinking caps on and immediately increases people's faith in metaphysical and the paranormal activities.
The story of this village dates back to the 1800s, when it was a prosperous village of the Paliwal Brahmins. According to the popular folklore, the villagers were supposed to pay the taxes levied on them to the minister of the state, Salim Singh. While visiting Kuldhara, Salim Singh's eyes fell upon the chief's beautiful daughter and he expressed his desire to marry her. He threatened the Kuldhara villagers that if they refused to give him the girl, he would levy exaggerated taxes on them. Instead of marrying his daughter to the minister, the chief of the village along with those of 84 adjoining villages decided to leave behind Kuldhara and migrate to some other place. No one saw the villagers leave nor did anyone know where they all went. But how could so many villagers vanish in a single night? This still remains a mystery!
Jaisalmer Fort is a monument worth visiting and worth retaining in your conscious mind. Like various other cities of Rajasthan, in Jaisalmer too you will find different facets of its own glorious heritage. Though you can find historical monuments scattered all over the city, the Jaisalmer Fort will immediately command your attention. Made of sand stones and locally known as Sonar Quila, the Jaisalmer Fort is a dominating structure amidst sands.
The city is said to be founded by one Raja Rawal Jaisal, a Bhatti Rajput ruler, in approximately 1156 A D. Legends go by that he did it on the behest of a local hermit named Eesaal. The raja choose Trikuta hill as the new site for his fort as his earlier adobe at Luderwa(16 k.m from present Jaisalmer) was too vulnerable to his comfort. But it should always be kept in mind that these legends are most of the time product of conscious minds that are very vulnerable to the oriental exaggeration.
Jaisalmer fort is the second oldest in Rajasthan. Two hundred and fifty feet tall and reinforced by imposing crenellated sandstone wall 30 feet high; it has 99 bastions, 92 of which were built between 1633 and 1647. Wells within the fort still provide a regular source of water. Even today, you will find that nearly one fourth of the old city's population resides within the fort. If you are a student of cross-cultural merging, the subtle fusion of Rajput and Islamic architectural styles, visible in this fort, will catch your fancy. Ganesh Pol, Akshya Pol, Suraj Pol and Hawa Pol are a must see.
Known as SONAR QUILA, rising from the sand, the mega structure merges with the golden hues of the desert ambience and the setting suns in its most colorful shades gives it a fairy tale look. It's simply a magic, the bastions envelops a whole townships that consist of palace complex various security sources and the havelis of rich merchants carved with an incredibly light touch, several temples and the residential complexes of the armies and traders placed strategically on the trade route, from where the ancient caravans passed en-route passing all the riches for the prosperity to an otherwise non source full kingdom. These merchants served and acquire a great deal of power and noble status in the royal courts of Bhatti Rajputs who founded the state in the 12th century and proceeded further. But the rich merchant inspired by the classic style of the royals, constructed huge mansions (havelis) adjacent to each other in the nature of medieval culture and profusely decorated walls and ceilings and intricately carved outdoors and interiors. The colourful art forms and somehow side kind the royal heritage and made it appear paler in comparison. The craftsmen were usually muslims who were induced on their journey to exhibit their skills. The results were architectural purity that cannot be seen elsewhere. Deep in the heart of the Thar Desert is Jaisalmer, one of the last princely bastions in the region. Founded on what was the cross - road of lucrative trade routes, this remote settlement came to be celebrated for the valor of its rulers, and for the aesthetic sense represented by their palaces and havelis.
The Gadisar Lake in the city of Jaisalmer is one of the primary tourist attractions of the region, originally conceived as a water conservation tank to fulfill the water requirements of this acrid city, by the then maharaja of Jaisalmer, Maharwal Gadsi Singh, around the year 1400 AD. Being of such paramount importance, it is perhaps natural to find many shrines and temples dotting the precincts of the lake that have with time become spots of pilgrimage. The most popular among them is perhaps the Tilon Ki Pol, a yellow sandstone gateway that was made by a courtesan by the name of 'Tilan', despite the contempt of the Maharaja. Tilon dedicated the structure to the Lord Satyanarayan, or Krishna, by placing the statue of Vishnu in the year 1908, which resulting in its declaration as a Krishna Temple, and despite the King' repeated attempts, ensured its subsequent survival.
Although no longer serving its historic purpose of supplying water to Jaisalmer, the lake still retains most of its rainwater. Come winters and the visiting tourists are treated to a plethora of migratory birds, which venture to the lake due to its proximity to Bharatpur. It is always advisable for bird lovers to carry a pair of binoculars, and a quality camera to capture these birds of flight in all their unabashed natural glory. The place is also famous as a picnic spot, and visitors can also enjoy boating in the lake.
The major tourist attraction of the Gadsisar Lake is the lake surrounding temples and migratory birds. If you are lucky enough you might just be able to spot a migratory bird. There are a number of temples around it making it a famous pilgrimage spot.
Desert National Park
Covering an area of 3162 sq km, Desert National Park (DNP) is one of the largest national parks in the country. Located in the Thar Desert, 40 km from Jaisalmer, Desert National Park is situated very close to the India-Pakistan border in Rajasthan. It was accorded the status of a national park in 1980.
Although 20 per cent of the park is covered with sand dunes, the park has abundant bird-life. Over 120 resident and migratory birds can be found in the park. The most commonly spotted birds include various species of eagles, vultures, falcons, harriers, kestrels, larks, shrikes, buzzards, etc.
Desert national park is home to some of the rarest species of birds like the Great Indian Bustard. A lot of migratory desert birds can also be seen at the park.
Chinkara, desert fox, Bengal fox, desert cat, blackbuck, hedgehog, etc are some of the commonly seen species of animals in the park.
It is home too to a great variety of reptiles such as Russell viper, saw scaled viper, monitor lizard, krait, etc. There are over 40 species of reptiles in the park. The fauna cover is limited to thorny shrubs, cacti, grasses and a few other plants and trees.
Lakes such as Gadsisar, Padam Talao, Rajbaugh and Milak are the main sources of water for the animals and birds in the park.
Fossils dating back to over 180 million years have also been discovered in the park.
in the 16th century Maharawal Jai Singh II, the then king of Jaisalmer commissioned a dam with a view to solving the water problem of the kingdom. Later after his death on September 21, 1743, his son, Lunakaran build a beautiful garden next to the lake and also a cenotaph in beloved memory of this father. Later on, much more cenotaphs were constructed, including that of Lunakaran and other Bhattis. The cenotaphs of Maharawal Jai Singh who reigned from 1470-1506 is the oldest among all the cenotaphs. The cenotaph of Maharaja Jawahar Singh, the last Bhatti king is still uncompleted due to the death of one of the prince of Bhatti Kingdom in mysterious disease.
The Bada Bagh is about 6 km north of Jaisalmer city and is on halfway between Jaisalmer and Lodhruva. A pillar namely the Govardhan Stambh (pillar) was constructed to commemorate the construction of the Dam and the tank. In the local dialect, the tank and the dam are known as the Jait Sar and Jait Bandh respectively. It is believed that these are based on the name of the man who constructed them. The Jait Bandh a huge structure and is about 1,200 feet in length and 350 feet in width. If it is closely observed then it can be seen that this has been built out of solid blocks of stone. The same material has been used for the construction of well as well as the tank. The unique historic significance of Bada Bagh and its surrounding attracts large numbers of tourists to this place.
Tanot Mata Temple
Some 120 kilometres away from Jaisalmer is the Tanot Mata Temple. Goddess Tanot is believed to be the incarnation of Goddess Hinglaz which is located in Lasvela district of Baluchistan. In 847 AD foundation of Goddess, Tanot was kept and idol was installed. Generation of Bhati Rajput takes care of this temple.
Earlier during the Indo-Pak war of 1965, Tanot Mata temple did not even touch by targeted bombs by Pakistan Army whereas all the bombs did not explode which falls in the vicinity of the temple due to Goddess Tanot divine power. Those unexploded bombs now can be seen in the Tanot Mata temple museum. After the war, Border Security Force of India continues to manage this holy temple till date. Located very close to the battle site of Longewala- Jaisalmer , visitors cannot go beyond the temple.
Now Tanot Mata turn out to be a popular tourist destination and a perfect place to explore in the Thar desert. Best time to visit Tanot Mata temple is October to March.
Tanot Mata Temple or Mateshwari Tanot Rai Mandir is the same temple you have seen many times in the Bollywood 'Border' movie. Tanot Mata temple remained untouched despite the heavy shelling by Pakistan during Indo-Pak war of 1971. The temple is located very close to India - Pakistan Border and tourist are not allowed to go beyond this temple.
Miracle at Tanot Mata temple
During the Indo-Pak War of 1965, the Pakistani army specifically targeted the temple and dropped several bombs. Over 300 bombs were dropped on the village and about 45 landed on the premises of Tanot Mata temple. The bombs failed to cause damage to the premises, as none of them exploded. While the village succumbed to this severe bombing by the army of the enemy, the temple survived without a scratch.
Army performing aarti
After the war, Border Security Force was handed over the responsibility of safeguarding Tanot Mata Mandir by the temple's management. On date, BSF jawans man the temple, and duly perform the aarti. The temple management even built a museum that holds collection of the unexploded bombs dropped by Pakistani army, symbolizing ‘Good defeats evil'.