Located in the heart of Thar Desert, Jaisalmer charms almost every visitor. From its golden forts, narrow lanes, vibrant handicrafts, to thrilling desert safaris and street singers, Jaisalmer gives you so much more than what you expect. So, here is yet another guide about this beautiful desert city of Rajasthan.
The golden city is located 575 km west of the capital city of Jaipur, amidst the vast Thar Desert. From Delhi, the distance is 800 km by road.
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How to Get to Jaisalmer?
The city is well connected to Jaipur and Delhi and can be accessed by road, train and air.
By Road: Many interstate bus services run from Jaipur to Jaisalmer. However, there are no nonstop buses from Delhi yet. So, you might have to halt at Jaipur and board another bus if coming from the National City.
By Air: There are frequent flights from Delhi, Jodhpur and Jaipur to Jaisalmer airport, which lies just 5 km from the city center.
By Train: Jaisalmer railway station is located around 2 km from the center. So, if you wish to come via train, it shouldn’t be a problem. If looking some more luxury, book a memorable ride in The Palace of Wheels train from Jaipur.
Best Time to Visit Jaisalmer
Winter months of October to March are just ideal to visit the city. During this time, the weather is pleasant and allows you to venture out of your hotel room even during mid-day. February remains quite busy as the famous Jaisalmer desert festival takes place at this time.
Jaisalmer Places of Attraction
In the city
-Jaisalmer Local Bazaar
-Nathmal Ki Haveli
-Salim Singh Ki Haveli
-Patwon ki Haveli
In the desert
-Cultural evening in a Desert Camp
-Camel Safari on Thar Desert
-Desert Jeep Safari at Sam Sand Dunes
-Desert National Park
-Heritage walk in the villages
Accommodation In Jaisalmer
The city offers a range of accommodations to suit every pocket. From luxury heritage hotels like the Jaisalmer fort, to budget guesthouses, and lovely Rajasthani tents in the middle of the desert, you can choose the one that suits you.
How to plan your Jaisalmer Trip
The trip should be planned in such a way that you spend the first 1-2 days touring the city and covering the majestic forts and lakes. The last days can be utilized to explore the Thar Desert..
Things to Do and See in Jaisalmer
There are many things to do in Jaisalmer, so it is best to divide you trip into-discovering the royal city and exploring the desert.
Jaisalmer – The Royal City Tour
From trying authentic Rajastani cuisine, to visiting numerous havelis and shopping colorful wall hangings, the city offers many options. Our top picks are:
1.The Jaisalmer Fort
One of the most iconic structures in the city, the Jaisalmer Fort catches your attention for its grandeur and triple-ringed architecture. It is made of yellow sandstone, and is also known as the ‘sonar quila’ due to its golden shade. Built in 1156 by Jaisal, a Rajput ruler, the fort stands tall on Meru hill, at an elevation of 250 feet above the surrounding area.
A truly exceptional fact about the fort is that about a quarter of city’s people live inside it. There are various shops, roadside stalls, restaurants, houses, guesthouses and museums inside the fort, making it like a mini city, inside the big city.
Things to do Inside Jaisalmer Fort:
-Walk down the narrow lanes
Walk through the narrow lanes and be amazed at the sight of vibrant bandhani dupattas, turbans and handbags hanging from the shops. The fort has a lively atmosphere and you’ll find many street singers singing folk songs and musicians playing harmonium or other musical instruments. You’ll also notice that the walls of many houses are painted with wedding invitations of recent weddings.
-Explore the Jain Temples
The city has an old Jain heritage and many Jain temples exist inside the fort walls.
There are numerous shops selling local artifacts, antique jewelry, and ethnic clothes, so make sure to carry an empty tote bag, as you might ending up buying a lot of items for you and your family.
Entry Fee: Rs. 50
Visiting Time: 9AM – 5PM
2. Patwon Ki Haveli
Located around a kilometer from the Jaisalmer Fort, Patwon ki Haveli is the largest haveli in the city. Popular for its miniature balconies, and intricate stone carving, it is the also considered the first haveli of the city.
Entry Fee: Rs. 20 for Indians, Rs. 100 for foreigners and Rs. 50 for camera
Visiting Time: 9 AM to 6 PM (daily)
3. Salim Singh Ki Haveli
Built in the 18th century, Salim ki Haveli is yet another marvelous piece of architecture in the city. Known for its gorgeously carved balconies and peacock-shaped roof, it is definitely worth visiting.
Entry Fee: Rs. 10 for Indians, Rs. 15 for foreigners and Rs. 50 for camera
Visiting Time: 6 AM to 5 PM (daily)
4. Natmal ki Haveli
Located just 2 minutes from Patwon ki Haveli is the spectacular Natmal ki Haveli. Popular for its remarkable architecture and intricate elephant carving on sandstone, the haveli has an interesting story. 2 brothers, who were competing to showcase their skills, built it. Hence, the there is a slight difference in the design between the left and the right faucets of the structure.
Visiting Time: 8 AM – 6 PM (daily)
5. Gadisar Lake
A good way to end the city tour is to visit the huge Gadisar Lake. Located just a few yards from the Jaisalmer Fort, the lake is a man-made water reservoir built by Maharaja Gadsi Singh of Jaisalmer in 1367 AD. Numerous small temples surround it and you can easily spend a couple of hours here, going for a boat ride or simply enjoying the beautiful surroundings.
Opening Hours: 7 AM – 7 PM
Jaisalmer – Off-beat Desert Experiences
After thoroughly enjoying the city, it is time to explore the desert. The top things to do are:
1. Camping and a cultural evening in the Desert
Start your desert experience by booking a beautiful Rajasthani tent in the desert. These tents are furnished beautifully with choicest bed linen and wooden furniture and offer a memorable experience to visitors. In the evening, you are often entertained with a culture show of folk music and kalbelia dance, followed by drinks and a tasty Rajasthani dinner.
2. Dune Bashing at Sam Sand Dunes
Located 45 km from Jaisalmer city, Sam Sand Dunes serve as a perfect location to experience the vast Thar Desert. A good way to spend your time here is to book a jeep safari and go for sand dune bashing.
The sand dune safari usually starts post lunch, at round 3.30 PM. And the adrenaline rush begins the moment you hop into the jeep. As you reach the sand dunes, the drive becomes even more thrilling, with a lot of turns and twists and a few bumps.
Timing: 3.30 PM- 5.30 PM
3. Camel Safari and Sunset views
A camel safari is an ideal way to explore the desert and watch the sun go down. The camel ride could be a bit bumpy but that simply adds to the thrill. And in case, you are a bit scared to ride, opt for a comfortable camel cart ride.
Timing: 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Price: Starting from Rs. 1000
If looking for an unusual experience, go for parasailing. The sport is really fun and offers a drone-view of the golden sand.
Charges: Rs. 750-1000
5. Quad Biking
Yet another fun activity to do is to hop on an ATV vehicle and go for quad biking. Vast sand dunes and an empty desert make the ride super exciting.
Charges: Rs. 1700-1800
6. Admire Wildlife at Desert National Park
If you are a nature enthusiast, don’t forget to visit the Desert National Park to catch a glimpse of the Indian Fox, The Indian Bustard, Chinkara or the Desert cat. The park is fairly huge and spans over an area of 3162 sq. km. The dry-terrain and unending sand make for a stunning sight to explore arid wildlife and cactus plants.
Location: Myajlar Road, Jaisalmer
Visiting Time: 7 AM to 5 PM
7. Village Heritage Walks
If you have more time on your hands, go for heritage walks in the surrounding villages of Barmer and Kuldhara. However, make sure to carry ample amount of water and a sun hat to avoid getting dehydrated.
Jaisalmer Other Attractions
⦁ Khuri Sand Dunes
⦁ Bada Bagh
Shopping in Jaisalmer
Visit the local market to grab a handful of stunning items-from leather bags to brass antiques; colorful skirts with mirror work to other handicrafts.
What to shop in Jaisalmer: Leather bags, antique jewelry, Jutis, Puppets, Ethnic Rajasthani wear.
Where to shop in Jaisalmer
Sadar Bazaar, Pansari Bazaar, Bhatia Bazaar
What to eat in Jaisalmer
It is impossible not to try some spicy Rajasthani dishes, while you are in Jaisalmer. We recommend trying Mirchi pakoda, Gattey ki sabzi and the famous Dal Bati Churma while you are here. Also, don’t forget to try Ghotua Ladoo to complete the meal.
Jaisalmer Desert Festival
One of the most awaited festivals in the city is the Jaisalmer Desert Festival. Held in the month of February every year, the festival attracts a number of local and foreign tourists. Completions like camel races and turban tying offer a lot of fun. The city blooms with laughter and lively folk music, and tasty food is served at every corner during the festival. This makes it definitely the best time to visit the city.
Time required to Explore Jaisalmer City
Minimum 4-5 days
A trip to Jaisalmer will be a trip of a lifetime, so make sure you book your tickets this winter season.