India is like a multi-flower bouquet that has different cultures and traditions in one nation. I have always admired this “Unity in Diversity” for INDIA. To explore one culture out of many, I have decided to showcase Pure Rajasthani Culture in Jaisalmer. I completed my trip from Patiala, Punjab to Jaisalmer in 4 days.
Jaisalmer is a small city with an approximately 85,000 population. This city is famous by the name of “GOLDEN CITY”. If you really want to feel the real vibe of Rajasthani culture then Jaisalmer is the perfect place to visit. It is the real Rajasthan which you could explore in-depth. It is not developed to that level as compared with the other famous cities of Rajasthan such as Jaipur, Udaipur and Jodhpur.
I travelled from Punjab to Jaisalmer in the month of January this year. The trip was wonderful and I have collected a lot of memories from here which I will share with you. After reading this article you can easily plan your Punjab to Jaisalmer trip or from any place in the World. To make things easily understandable and navigable, I have designed this article in FAQ format.
Table of Contents
Location of Jaisalmer
Jaisalmer is located in the Rajasthan state of India in the Northern-Western part. It is almost the last city of India in North-West side after that the area of Pakistan starts. This city is the part of famous GOLDEN TRIANGLE of India.
How to reach Jaisalmer?
Jaisalmer is well connected with all means of transport and you can reach here by adopting anyone out of the following ways:
By Road: Rajasthan has a very good network of roads and these roads are wide & 6/4- laned Highways. The distance between Patiala, Punjab to Jaisalmer is approximately 800 KM and you can reach here in 12 hours by driving your own car. Jaisalmer is also at a distance of 800 KM from New Delhi, the National Capital of India. You can easily book a cab/taxi or bus to reach Jaisalmer from New Delhi. You can also plan your trip to Jaisalmer after exploring the other famous cities of Rajasthan like Jaipur, Udaipur, Bikaner and Jodhpur which come on the way. You can book your bus tickets through the Redbus app/website.
By Train: Jaisalmer Railway Station is not a busy station but it is connected to major cities of India. You can book a direct train from New Delhi Railway station to Jaisalmer. Trains from Jodhpur, Jaipur and Udaipur run frequently towards Jaisalmer. It is the most economical way to travel to Jaisalmer. Direct trains from Patiala, Bathinda and Ludhiana, Punjab to Jaisalmer run on a daily basis. For more information and booking the train, you can visit the official website of IRCTC or download the app IXIGO.
By Air: Jaisalmer Airport is connected to New Delhi International Airport and Jaipur International Airport via daily flights. I reached here by booking a Spice Jet flight from New Delhi which took 1 hour 35 minutes to land here. Jaisalmer airport is a small airport in the defence area and brings your own food to the airport if you have to wait for some time at the airport because this airport has not even a single outlet for coffee/tea or snacks. You can book your tickets through Makemytrip.com or IXIGO app which I personally use.
Why Jaisalmer is called Golden City?
Jaisalmer is famous by the name of “GOLDEN CITY” because it is situated in the heart of Thar Desert having golden-coloured sand dunes, sandstone buildings & houses, camel rides and royal Havelis.
You will find golden colours everywhere because sandstone is used to construct every building even utensils too. Moreover, direct sunlight for longer duration makes it too hot & shiny in summer (up to 52 Degree Celsius).
Which is the best time to visit Jaisalmer?
The best time to visit Jaisalmer is from October to March as the weather remains pleasant during this period of time. Other months of the year are hot and scorchy and this area is much hotter due to its close proximity to the Thar Desert.
What are the best things to do in Jaisalmer?
There are a number of things which you could explore while travelling from Punjab to Jaisalmer. Here I have enlisted the 17 Best things to do and places to visit in Jaisalmer.
- Visit Jaisalmer Fort.
- Visit Ancient Jain Temples.
- Visit Cannon Point.
- Visit Raj Mahal Palace.
- Have a City view from the rooftop cafe.
- Visit Patwaon ki Haveli.
- Boating & Sunset at Gadisar Lake.
- Watch Traditional Puppet Show at Museum.
- Visit Gurudwara Sadh Sangat.
- Visit Longewala War Museum/Checkpost.
- Visit Tanot Mata Temple.
- Visit India Pakistan Border Fencing
- Camel Ride & Jeep Safari at Sam Dunes.
- Stay in Tent house at Sam.
- Visit Kuldhara Abandoned Village.
- Visit Bada Bagh.
VISIT JAISALMER FORT
Jaisalmer Fort is the main attraction of Jaisalmer city. The interesting fact about this fort is that it is the living fort in India. There are only 2 living forts in India: one is Chittorgarh Fort and another is Jaisalmer Fort.
On the very first day, I started my trip from Jaisalmer Fort in the morning.
Approximately 4,000 people live in this fort. Jaisalmer fort is at a height of approximately 250 feet from the surrounding city area.
There are four massive gateways through which visitors pass and reach the top.
Each gate has its significance. One can also hire a tuk-tuk from the first gate to reach the top to avoid the steep height. But I would recommend going on foot to see the nice view from these gateways.
Jaisalmer Fort has amazing architecture which will astonish you. The whole fort is built with the help of sandstones and no brick or cement is used.
The fort has an ingenious drainage system called the ghut nali which allows for the easy drainage of rainwater away from the fort in all four directions of the fort.
This fort was built by Rawal Jaisal, Rajput King in the year 1156. You can hire a guide for INR 200/- to know more about this fort while you travel here.
You will find numerous hotels, restaurants, shops and ancient houses (Havelis) inside the fort.
It requires a minimum of 3 to 4 hours to completely explore Jaisalmer Fort.
There is no entry fee for this fort and it remains open for 24/7 hours.
VISIT ANCIENT JAIN TEMPLES
There are 7 ancient Jain Temples inside the Jaisalmer Fort. These temples were built in the 12th to 16th Century with Yellow Sandstones.
There are 6666 old sculptures related to Jain and Hindu religions in these 7 temples. The architecture of these Jain temples is amazing. They are considered among the best and most beautiful Jain temples in the entire world.
You may visit only one or two temples as these all are almost the same.
There is a ticket of INR 50 for Cameras or mobile phones.
VISIT CANNON POINT
Cannon point is the spot in Jaisalmer fort where ancient cannons are placed. It is the highest point of the fort too. You can have a landscaping view of the whole Jaisalmer city from this point.
Tourists click a lot of photographs from this point with a city background.
VISIT RAJ MAHAL/ FORT PALACE
This is the former residence for the Kings of Jaisalmer. Here you can find Lord Krishna’s Meghadmbar Chatra, Jaisalmer Royal Throne, Armoury, Genealogical Tree, Stamp Collection of Rajputana, Rani Mahal (Queen Palace), Full city view on the top and other royal collections.
It is a must-visit site for every tourist.
Entry Fee: INR 100 Per Head
Entry Fee (Including Audio Guide): INR 500 per Head
Camera/Mobile/ Video Camera Ticket : INR 150
Timings: 9 am to 5 pm
HAVE A CITY VIEW FROM THE ROOFTOP CAFE.
There are a number of rooftop cafes and restaurants inside the Jaisalmer Fort from where you could enjoy the beautiful scenic & mesmerizing view of the city from the top.
The one which I choose was “LAKEVIEW RESTAURANT” just beside main Cannon Point.
You could spend some wonderful moments here from the top and get lost in it.
Delicious snacks and drinks are served here. Night view from this point is hard to explain in the words but you would find it difficult to forget this moment for a lifetime.
I spent my afternoon here enjoying coffee and snacks. The cool breeze was blowing. I observed the activities of other tourists and also clicked a bunch of photographs here.
VISIT PATWAON KI HAVELI
Located at just a five-minute walking distance from the main entry gate of Jaisalmer Fort.
Due to its brocade trading reputation, Patwon Ki Haveli is also known as ‘Mansion of Brocade Merchants’, based on its fervent trading characteristics.
Patwon Ki Haveli is a cluster of five large Havelis in Jaisalmer. Built-in 1805 by Guman Chand Patwa, it took the workers almost 55 years to complete the first haveli. History says that Patwa was an extremely wealthy man and a well-known trader of his time.
The first haveli is the largest and worth seeing.
Patwon ki haveli has over 60 balconies in the entire complex. One can see the courtyard of the complex from them and these balconies and windows also make the Havelis very airy.
Different rooms are preserved as such in their original form. This includes Bedrooms, kitchen, dining hall, living rooms, temple room, munim room with full antique furniture and other items. One could see the lifestyle of wealthy people during earlier times.
After watching this, you can go upstairs to have a scenic view of Jaisalmer Fort.
Entry Fee: INR 100 per person
Timings: 8:00 am to 7:00 pm
Apart from this, the two other famous Havelis are:
- Nathmalji ki haveli &
- Salim Singh ki Haveli (Moti Mahal).
BOATING & SUNSET AT GADISAR LAKE
After spending your half-day in Jaisalmer city, you could visit Gadisar Lake in the evening for Sunset & Laser Fountain Show.
Gadisar lake is approximately 3KM away from the Jaisalmer fort and can be easily accessed on foot or by hire a tuk-tuk/taxi.
Gadisar lake was built in the 12-13th Century to fulfil the need for water in this arid region. Since then, it is carrying forward the culture and traditions of Rajasthan with it.
This place is well preserved by Jaisalmer tourism.
Gadisar Lake is one of the valuable assets of Rajasthan. It is situated close to the Jaisalmer Fort and Bharatpur bird sanctuary.
You can get a scenic view of Jaisalmer fort from the lake. With the help of a guide, you can get a deep insight into the history of Gadisar Lake and Jaisalmer fort.
There are some good-quality restaurants around the lake that offer hygienic food with a lake view.
Try to reach here after 5:00 pm in the evening to enjoy Sunset. You can click beautiful pictures at this time.
You can also enjoy boating here for which you have to pay nominal charges.
Apart from these activities, you can also watch Fountain Laser Show from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm which showcases the history of Jaisalmer.
It is the best place to spend quality time in peace enjoying nature.
WATCH TRADITIONAL PUPPET SHOW AT MUSEUM
Desert Cultural Centre is situated just at a 2 Minute Walking distance from Gadisar Lake. Here you can enjoy the famous traditional Puppet Show of Rajasthan. It has a museum where you can see the things related to Rajasthani Culture.
Two shows are being organised on daily basis. The timings for the first show are 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm and for the second show are 7:30 pm to 8:30 pm.
The entry fee is INR 100 per person.
VISIT GURUDWARA SADH SANGAT
I always remain eager to visit the religious places or temples of a particular area. And I can’t hold myself if there is a Gurudwara nearby.
Gurudwara Sadh Sangat is only 3 KM away from Jaisalmer Fort. It was 9th January, the birth date of Guru Gobind Singh, 10th Sikh Guru. So, I reached this Gurudwara early in the morning around 8:00 am. The Path was going on and the manager offered me to have a Langar (Food).
The Langar was delicious and due to Guruparb, they have cooked extra dishes. I took Pakoras, Rabri with tasty Masala Indian tea.
I spent approximately 1 hour there.
VISIT LONGEWALA WAR MUSEUM/CHECKPOST
After spending quality time in Gurudwara Sadh Sangat, I hired a taxi from Hanuman Chowk for Longewala War Memorial & Tanot Mata Temple.
Longewala Army Checkpost is approximately 120 KM away from the main Jaisalmer city. It took approximately 2 hours to reach here. On the way to Longewala, one city famous by the name of RAMGARH comes where we halt for breakfast. It is the last city of North-Western India.
Longewala War Museum is not just a destination. It is an emotion that every proud Indian holds within. India not only emerged victorious in the 1971 battle with Pakistan but also birthed incredible stories of courage and sacrifice that have been inscribed in gold.
The museum exhibits the war zone, ammunition used, uniforms of soldiers. The walls have names and pictures of the martyrs as well as those who fearlessly fought to protect the country. One among them is Late Brigadier (then Major) Kuldeep Singh Chandpuri. He gave a tough fight to the 2000 strong Pakistani troop with a company of only 120 Indian soldiers, defending the Longewala post for the whole night.
The famous T59 and Sherman tanks captured by the Indian Army are displayed right at the entrance of the museum. Other models have been planted behind the museum and bunkers.
The 15-minute film showcases how Indian soldiers stayed put in spite of the challenges faced during the 1971 war.
Here I met with soldiers from the Punjab area and they regarded me a lot. They also offered me tea and some snacks. I spent 2 hours here to fully explore this site.
An Indian Bollywood movie “BORDER” is based on the war fought by Indian soldiers with the Pakistan army at this checkpoint during 1971.
VISIT TANOT MATA TEMPLE
Tanot Mata Temple is situated at a distance of 40 KM from Longewala War Museum.
Tanot Mata temple has a long association in both the wars of 1965 and 1971 when due to the deity’s blessing, not even a single bomb exploded in its vicinity.
BSF later constructed a large temple at the spot and exhibited the unexploded bombs inside the temple’s museum.
From here, you can take the entry passes for India-Pakistan border fencing by submitting your original ID.
VISIT INDIA PAKISTAN BORDER FENCING
International India-Pakistan Border is situated at a distance of approximately 15 KM from the Longewala War Museum. You have to take an entry pass from Tanot Mata temple to visit there.
There is nothing much to see here as there is just a fence that divides the territory of India from Pakistan.
CAMEL RIDE & JEEP SAFARI AT SAM SAND DUNES
After Longewala War Museum & Tanot Mata Temple, I reached Sam Sand Dune around 4:00 pm. If you come directly from Jaisalmer city, then you can reach here within 1 hour.
When I reach here, I found myself in a different world as it is a small tent town in the middle of the Thar Desert.
I checked in my Tent house that I have booked earlier online. After taking some rest, I came out in the desert where camels were waiting for me to take me inside the sand dunes of the Thar desert.
I immediately ride on a camel and the owner of the camel took me deep inside the desert by guiding me. I spent 1 hour on the back of the camel (Hritik Roshan was the name of a camel) exploring the golden sand dunes.
Then it was the time for Sunset. I sat on the highest dune and started taking photographs. I observed the changing colours of the sky and also sand dunes. It was an awesome experience to observe this.
After spending 2 hours in the desert, it was time for a cultural night show in the tent house camp.
You can also try Jeep Safari here which can be booked from anywhere in Sam. I have not tried this but you should do Jeep Safari too to have an adventuring experience of the Desert.
STAY IN TENT HOUSE AT SAM
After spending a great evening in the Thar desert, I arrived at my tent house in Sam. I have booked KK Tent House online which costs me around INR 3500 per night. Dinner, breakfast, camel ride and cultural event were included in the cost of INR 3500.
The experience of living in a tent house is great. But it is very cold at night in the desert area. Tent owners provided double blankets, warm water and other necessary items to make your stay pleasant and comfortable.
If you are interested to observe the sky with stars in the dark night then you can go outside of your camp and spend some time in the desert.
VISIT KULDHARA ABANDONED VILLAGE
The next morning, after breakfast I again started my journey towards Jaisalmer. On the way approximately after 30 KM from Sam, an abandoned village “KULDHARA” comes. It is also famous by the name of the Haunted village in India. Various mythological stories are attached to this village.
Kuldhara village was once prosperous but now, it lies in ruins and all that is left are various open houses in the state of despair.
According to folklore, Kuldhara was an ancient village of the Paliwal Brahmins who migrated from the region of Pali. They built 84 villages around Kuldhara but had to abandon the village almost overnight, attributed to various causes, ranging from persecution by SALIM SINGH, a powerful minister of Jaisalmer state, to drought and earthquake.
The village remained abandoned since the early 19th Century.
I spent 2 hours here and clicked photographs.
Before COVID times, the foreigners regularly came here and stayed for nights but now that arrangement has been abolished.
TIMINGS: 9:00 AM TO 6:00 PM
ENTRY TICKET: INR 4O PER VEHICLE PARKING
VISIT BADA BAGH
Bada Bagh means Big Garden, located at just 6 KM distance from Jaisalmer city.
The Bada Bagh is a conglomerate of a huge dam, a tank and the cenotaphs surrounding it. The main attractions at this site are the cenotaphs which were constructed for the royalty, starting from that for Maharaja Jai Singh.
The magnificent cenotaphs, known locally as chhatris /Umbrellas are the prime attractions for tourists from all over the country for the beautiful architecture and intricate carvings on it.
Try to visit this site either at the time of sunset or sunrise. Beautiful spot for taking remarkable photographs.
TIMINGS: 8:00 AM TO 6:00 PM
ENTRY FEE: INR 100 PER PERSON
THE CAMERA TICKET IS SEPARATE.
Jaisalmer is famous for following unique things:
- Habur stone
- Camel Leather
You can do the shopping for utensils made from sandstone and habur stone.
The main benefit of sandstone utensils is that if you drink overnight water daily in it then it could cure many ailments like blood pressure, stomach problems and arthritis. Besides it, habur stone utensils are used to make thick curd as this stone can soak surplus water from the curd.
Apart from this, you can also try the camel leather products such as wallets, shoes, purses, jackets etc.
Hand-made artefacts can also be purchased.
There are numerous shops inside Jaisalmer fort from which you can do shopping for these items.
What to eat in Jaisalmer?
Each place in the world has its unique dish which is famous in that particular region. Jaisalmer is famous for following indigenous dishes(Veg):
- DAL PAKWAAN
- GATTA CURRY
- VEGETABLE OF SANGRI
- DAL BATTI CHURMA
- BAJRA CHAPATI
The famous spot to try street food is HANUMAN CHOWK in Jaisalmer.
Where to stay in Jaisalmer?
There are basically three options which you can choose to stay in Jaisalmer:
- Inside Jaisalmer Fort.
- Outside Jaisalmer Fort
- Sam Sand dunes (Tent House)
You would find amazing ancient Havelis inside the fort where you can reside and experience the unique royal vibe with antique furniture and other things.
Hotels from the 2-star category to the 5-Star category exist in Jaisalmer city which you can book online as per your budget.
I stayed for 1 night at Hotel Jaisal Garh Haveli inside the fort. I also stayed at Hotel Heritage Inn outside the fort which is a 4-star hotel.
Look for hotels on the map of Jaisalmer below, or click the name of the recommended hotels below the map.
How to roam in and around Jaisalmer?
All the major tourist attraction points in Jaisalmer city can be accessed on foot from Jaisalmer Fort. Otherwise, you can also hire a tuk-tuk (Budgetary option) or cab to visit these spots.
Taxi is the best option to visit far-off places such as Longewala war memorial, tanot temple and Sam dunes. You can book your cab either online or through the hotel where you are residing.
FINAL WORDS ABOUT PUNJAB TO JAISALMER TRIP
My experience visiting Punjab to Jaisalmer was amazing. I enjoyed it a lot, especially in Sam Sand dunes. Here you can observe both the city and countryside experience.
Jaisalmer is a calm and peaceful city without the traffic and other city noises. I spend 3 nights and 4 days here.
I hope this information will be helpful for you. These are the 17 best things to do in Jaisalmer, the Golden city of Rajasthan. If you have any queries related to Punjab to Jaisalmer trip then feel free to ask by posting a comment in the comment box. I will be glad to answer your query.
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