Top things to do in Jaisalmer

Top things to do in Jaisalmer

Jaisalmer also known as the Golden City is located in the Thar Desert, just 30 kilometers from the border with Pakistan. The Fort of Jaisalmer is a breathtaking sight; a massive sandcastle rising from the sandy plains like a mirage from a bygone era.

We fell in love with the charm and laid back atmosphere of Jaisalmer. 

In this post, you will find our favorite things to do and plenty of tips for your trip to Jaisalmer. We stayed 3 days in  Jaisalmer and would have gladly stayed a week if the rest of Rajasthan hadn’t been calling.  

How to get there

We got there by car from Bikaner which took around 5 hours. You can also get there by train from major cities like Delhi, Jaipur, Udaipur, and Jodphur. We used 12go Asia to book train tickets. 

Jaisalmer is also accessible by bus from major cities. To check routes, timetables, and ticket prices we recommend using Redbus

Another option to get there is by air, Jaisalmer airport is located around 17 kilometers from the city center.

Where to stay

We stayed at Hotel Bharat Villas which is located 10 minutes walking from Jaisalmer’s Fort. If you travel on a budget then this hotel is perfect for you. The room was clean and the bed was comfortable. 

We don’t recommend staying in Jaisalmer’s Fort itself because the prices are much higher.

Jaisalmer Fort

Jaisalmer’s Fort is a living urban center, with about 3000 people residing within its walls. It is honeycombed with narrow winding lanes, lined with houses and temples, along with a large number of handicraft shops, guesthouses, and restaurants.

Jaisalmer Fort is the second oldest fort in Rajasthan, built-in 1156 by the Rajput ruler Jaisal and reinforced by subsequent rulers, Jaisalmer Fort was the focus of a number of battles between the Bhatis, the Mughals of Delhi, and the Rathores of Jodphur. 

The Fort’s massive yellow sandstone walls are a tawny lion color during the day, fading to honey-gold as the suns sets. For this reason, it is also known as the Golden Fort.

There is no closing and opening time for Jaisalmer’s Fort and there is no entrance fee. 

We loved wandering around in Jaisalmer’s Fort. The fort is so lively that you would love to be lost in the small alleys where most of the population lives. We found some nice rooftop bars, restaurants, and epic viewpoints of the city. 

We recommend you to visit The Fort Palace Museum. The Beautiful seven-story Palace where the former rulers of Jaisalmer used to live is partially built on top of the fourth fort gate. It’s possible to take an audio-guided tour of the Palace. 

Jain Temples

Within the fort walls is a maze-like, interconnecting treasure trove of seven beautiful yellow sandstone Jain temples, dating from the 15th and 16th centuries. The Jain Temples are a cluster of stories that are unraveled in stone. Stories that are narrated by the multiple sculptures, that cover every surface of the temple. The details inside the temple are phenomenal! Shoes and all leather items must be removed before entering the temples. 

The Jain Temples are open from 8 am-noon daily, and the entrance fee is 50 rupees for Indians and 200 rupees for tourists. 

Patwa-ki-Haveli

Patwa-ki Haveli is divided into five sections, it was built between 1800 and 1860 by five Jain brothers who made their fortunes in brocade and jewelry. It’s very impressive from the outside. 

One of the sections has been converted into a museum that displays a collection of antique furniture and decorative goods. Besides this, the third Haveli also houses rich items that include traditional art and craftwork of the local craftsmen. Two Havelis are under the authorization of the Archeological Survey of India and one serves as private accommodation. 

There are more Haveli’s in Jaisalmer but this one was our favorite. 

Patwa-Ki-Haveli is open from 9 am – 6 pm daily, and the entrance fee is 100 rupees for Indians and 250 rupees for tourists. You can get there on foot or by Tuk-tuk.  

Gadisar Lake

Gadisar Lake is a man-made lake. Constructed in 1400, Gadisar Lake has long been a significant part of Jaisalmer’s culture and history. It’s a peaceful and scenic place that once served as an integral water source for the people of Jaisalmer. 

Some notable temples and shrines edge the waterfront. The most famous one is the Tilon Ki Pol, a gateway with a unique story. Legend says that this 14th-century gateway was constructed by a famous prostitute. When proposing the construction of the gateway, the then ruling Maharaja refused, due to the nature of her work. However, she ignored his ruling and built it anyway, while also adding a Krishna temple so the king would not destroy it.

We woke up very early to catch the sunrise at Gadisar Lake, we were the only ones there. At first, we didn’t know what to expect because it was completely dark and could only see the lake. But once the sun began to rise we saw the temples and shrines. This place looked like a gorgeous scene out of a fairytale. It was worth waking up early as the sunrise was completely magical! 

Gadisar Lake is located just on the outskirts of Jaisalmer’s Fort, around 2 kilometers. It’s possible to walk to Gadisar Lake from the fort, we walked around 30 minutes. Another option is by tuk-tuk.  You can rent boats at the lake for 150 rupees.

Bada Bagh

Bada Bagh means big garden. It is a garden of cenotaphs or chhatris (graves) of the royal family of Jaisalmer.  In the 16th century, the founder of Jaisalmer commissioned a dam to create a water tank to be built at the site, which meant it was the only green area in the region. 

Bada Bagh is open from 9 am – 6 pm daily, and the entrance fee is 20 rupees for Indians and 50 rupees for tourists. Bada Bagh is located 8 kilometers from Jaisalmer, the easiest way to get there is by tuk-tuk. 

Thar Desert

The Thar Desert is the perfect place to get away from the city. The Thar desert, also known as the Great Indian Desert, forms a natural boundary between India and Pakistan. Here you can spend the night in one of the many camps, admire beautiful sunsets, ride camels, and hike along the sand dunes.

If you want to do a camel safari make sure it is run in an ethical way with animals that are treated fairly!  

We spend the night at the camel safari camp. If you don’t want to sleep in a tent you can also arrange to sleep outside under the stars. 

The Thar Desert is at a 20 minutes drive from Jaisalmer. You can get there by taxi or book a tour.  

Endless desert, beautiful sunsets, beautiful views, ancient forts, starry nights,… Jaisalmer won our hearts! 

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