Ride out into the desert on the back of a camel and go inside a working fort when you visit this captivating city in Rajasthan.
Jaisalmer lies in the vast Thar Desert. The carpet of sand that gives the town its yellowish tint has earned it the nickname of the Golden City. Come here for the monumental buildings and adventure across the sand dunes.
When you arrive at Jaisalmer, the first thing you will notice is Jaisalmer Fort, a massive 12th-century stone structure on top of a hill. The large fortification is a mini city where several thousand people live and work. Visit the vast complex for shops, houses, restaurants, temples and palaces, including Jain Temple, a collection of seven interconnected temples. These temples date from the 12th and 15th centuries and their walls feature lots of intricate carvings of animal and human figures.
After you’ve explored the fort, climb on a rickshaw for the short journey to Patwon Ki Havali. This is a collection of five distinct mansions, called havalis, that were built between 1805 and 1860. As you walk through and around the yellow sandstone structure, pay attention to the carved pillars, ornate balconies and large collection of paintings.
See more fascinating examples of architecture in the temples around Gadisar Lake. The rainwater lake on the outskirts of the city is one of the most popular attractions in Jaisalmer. Tour the religious shrines, go boating and stroll by the water’s edge. Visit during the winter to see large numbers of migratory birds.
Take advantage of Jaisalmer’s close proximity to the desert by going for a camel ride across the dunes. Many sandy safaris start out from the small village of Khuri, about 31 miles (50 kilometres) away. Trips are available from a few hours to several days.
Reach Jaisalmer by flying into Jodhpur Airport, at a distance of 170 miles (274 kilometers), then drive or take the train to complete your journey. Travel between the city's grand palaces and temples by bike, rental car or auto rickshaw.