Deep in the heart of the Thar Desert, Jaisalmer is one of the last princely bastions in the region. Founded on what was the cross-roads of lucrative trade routes, this remote 12th century fort came to be celebrated for the valour of its rulers, and for the aesthetic sense represented by their palaces and havelis. Delicately carved sandstone mansions with facades with sculptural filigree, screen windows, pavilions and beautiful balconies - this is a real architectural feat.
Jaisalmer is famous for its fort which stands on a ridge dominating the city. Unlike many other such buildings, Jaisalmer’s fort is still occupied by over a thousand people, sharing their narrow alleyways with temples and palaces. The fort is accessed by a steep cobbled road leading through four gate. Inside there are several Jain temples open to the public and filled with incredible carvings and sculptures.
Outside the fort, there are many fine havelis or mansions, carved out of golden sandstone which glows in the desert sunlight. The largest is Phatwon Ki Haveli, built in the early 19th century by a wealthy merchant and now preserved as a museum. Jaisalmer is also the base for exploring the Thar Desert, and it is possible to take trips to the nearby sand dunes at Sam to watch the sunset.
Time: GMT +5½ hours
Flight time from London to Delhi is 8 hours 30 minutes and to Mumbai is about 8 hours.
Language: The official language is Hindi, which about 30% of the population speaks. English is very widely spoken and is used for official and commercial purposes.
Required for British travellers. Other nationalities should obtain advice from their embassy.
There are no compulsory vaccinations.