Walking Around The Jaisalmer Fort Or Golden Fort


Jaisalmer Fort is one of the few living forts in India. The only other one that I have seen is at Orchha. This fort gives the city its name and in turn, was named after its Bhati ruler Rao Jaisal. Who moved the capital on Trikuta hill here from Lodurva, a few miles away, in mid-12th CE. It is also known as Sonar Quila or Golden fort as the yellow sandstone that it is made of makes it looks like it was carved in gold when the light is right.

Jaisalmer Fort, Rajasthan
Jaisalmer Fort, Rajasthan

Common people started living around the fort on its slopes sometime around mid-18th CE. Many Havelis and complimenting buildings were built around the fort until the end of 19th CE.

Colorful market inside the Jaisalmer Fort
Colorful market inside the fort for shopping some locally made textile souvenirs shopping

Jaisalmer Fort

You can walk into the living fort with many colorful shops vying for your attention. Beautiful gypsy women in heavy silver jewelry and colorful ghagra will show you the jewelry and lure you to buy them. Then one by one you pass through huge gates that are placed in a zigzag way and remind you that it is a fort and not an old locality that the living environment can make you feel. The height of the fort all around is overwhelming and your neck would need some stretching to look at the Kanguras on top, and intricately carved jharokhas jutting out of the walls – that have become such a symbol of Rajasthani architecture.

A Wedding invitation painted on the walls
A Wedding invitation painted on the walls

We noticed the colorful wedding invitations painted on the outside walls of many houses and the dates indicated very recent marriages. It seems this is a way of the fort wallahs to invite people around or maybe to tell people which are house hosting the wedding.

Artifacts shop
Artifacts shop – you will find lots of interesting metal crafts there

Dussehra Chowk

The lanes through the gates lead to a Chauraha or a central courtyard called Dussehra Chowk. And I infer that the festival must have been celebrated here or maybe is still celebrated. Around this courtyard are royal palaces including the one belonging to the ladies of the palace. A door has palm marks painted around it and I was told that these were by Satis. That is ladies who burnt themselves on the pyres of their husbands and hence were revered.

As you look around you can see the life of the residents revolving pretty much around the tourists walking in. As they try to sell their souvenirs like leather products or colorful garments. Incidentally, they are not too much interested in Indians unless their intuitive intelligence classifies them as NRIs. Amusingly, you can find almost all popular world cuisines within the walls of this ancient fort. I could not miss the Gol Gappewala, who stood most visible in the courtyard, or were it my eyes that made the stall stand out?

Heritage center
Heritage center


The Fort is also known for the 7 Jain temples that are inside it. I managed to see only one that too from the outside and the entrance was very similar to the temple at Lodurva with its latticed slanted walls, and this gave me a hint that it was probably the dominant style of this space and that time. Temples are open in the mornings and evenings and there may be a restriction on entry of Non-Jains at certain times.

Palace inside the fort
The palace inside the fort

Vibrant Fort

It is a massive fort with a 5 km circumference. And thick walls with 99 odd bastions. There are two parallel walls in the ancient tradition of Mori – a security strategy. I could not walk on the wall and it remains pending for the next time. I am told that till a few months back this fort was not so clean. Due to a unique citizen’s initiative called I Love Jaisalmer the fort and the area around it have been cleaned. My first-time eyes thought there was still a lot of scope for cleanliness. I wonder if this also helped the fort to be included in the UNESCO world heritage list along with 5 other hill forts of Rajasthan.

What made me most happy about this fort was the fact it is still a living space. Not many ancient places have a tradition of continued living.

Recommend you to read the following blog posts on other tourist attractions nearby.

Haunted Trails through Kuldhara Abandoned Cursed Villages

Review: Suryagarh

Recommend following tourist attractions Forts of Rajasthan.

Chittorgarh Fort – Stories of Courage, Devotion & Sacrifice

Temples of Chittorgarh Fort

Royal Cenotaphs @ Bada Bagh


  1. Beautiful Jaisalmer, The whole Rajasthan has a charm which attracts me towards itself. However I have visited southern and eastern Rajasthan but western Rajasthan is still remaining. So my next stop is Jaisalmer for sure. By the way Thank you for the marvelous photos.

  2. A ‘Must visit’ on my list! I love heritage sites and I’m sure it’ll be really interesting to explore one full of life !

  3. Will definitely visit in December. I have planned it on a bike and I have heard that its a good time to visit the sand dunes. If everything goes according to plan I am gonna head from Delhi to Jaisalmer this year itself.

    Your write up is inspiring 🙂

  4. Wonderful pictures of Royal nice information too. I love heritage sites and I’m sure it’ll be really interesting to explore one full of life !

  5. Every weekend i used to go to see this site,
    because i wish for enjoyment, as this this web page conations actually nice funny stuff too.

  6. stayed there in the late 1980’s. Fantastic spot and had a lovely camel ride out into the dessert. The only thing that wasn’t so nice was the walls were commonly used as a toilet – hope that has stopped.

  7. Great description about Rajasthan’s heritage, after reading this I can feel proud about our culture and how royal our country is, people crave for their heritage as nowadays people are moving towards new buildings and architecture with so much of technologies in it and does not want to live in these old forts which basically were houses of the kings and queens lived. Thank you for mentioning the beauty of our heritage . keep writing about them.

  8. Very well explained because Rajasthan is known for the desert only and you are creating a positive image and showing other side of Rajasthan too. Good Work


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here