Jaisalmer is a magic and incomparably romantic city and has been dubbed the 'Golden City' because of the colour imparted to its stone ramparts by the setting sun.The merchants and townspeople have built magnificent houses and mansions,all exquisitely carved from wood and from golden-yellow sandstone. These havelis are very exotic. Havelis : The beautiful mansions built by the wealthy merchants of Jaisalmer are known as havelis, and several of these fine sandstone buildings are very beautiful. Patwon ki Haveli : This most elaborate and magnificent of all the Jaisalmer havelis stands in a narrow lane. One of its apartments is painted with beautiful murals. You can go inside the mansion and there is a fine view from the roof. Salim Singh ki Haveli : This haveli was built about 300 years ago and has a beautiful arched roof with superb carved brackets in the form of peacocks. It is just below the hill. Nathmal ki Haveli : The left and right wings of the building are carved. Yellow sandstone elephants guard the building, and even the front door is a work of art. Gadi Sagar Tank : This tank is to the south of the city walls and there are many small temples and shrines around it. A wide variety of water birds flock here in winter. There is a beautiful gateway which arches across the road down to the tank.



Fort : It was built in 1156 by Rawal Jaisal and crowns the 80 mtr. high Trikuta Hill. About a quarter of the old city's population resides within the fort walls, which have 99 bastions around their circumference. It is fascinating to wander around this place. It is honeycombed with narrow, winding lanes, all of them paved in stone and with a remarkably efficient drainage system. The fort walls provide superb views over the old city and surrounding desert. The fort is entered through a forbidding series of massive gates leading to a large courtyard. The formal maharaja's seven-storey palace fronts onto this. Part of the palace is opened to the public. One of the room has some beautiful murals. Jain Temples : Within the fort walls are a group of beautifully carved Jain temples built between the 12th and 15th centuries. The Gyan Bhandar, a library containing some extremely old manuscripts, is also in the temple complex. There are also Siva and Ganesh temples within the fort. Festivals : The annual Desert Festival have camel races and dances, folk music, deserts ballads and puppeteers. The festival takes place between late January and mid-February, depending on the lunar calendar.



Jaisalmer is famour for embroidery, Rajasthani mirrorwork, rugs, blankets, old stonework and antiques. Tie-dye and other fabrics are made at the Kadi Bundar, north of the city.



GETTING THERE AND AWAY BUS The main bus station is some distance from the centre of town, near the railway station. There eight daily STC buses on the route to Jodhpur, the deluxe one leaving at 5 pm. Every day there are five state transport buses each way between Jaisalmer and Barmer. Private buses only run to Jaisalmer in the off season. TRAIN At the railway station there is an International Tourists Bureau. There is a day and a night train in either direction between Jodhpur and Jaisalmer.

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