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Things To Do In Jaisalmer – The Golden City Of Rajasthan


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Jackie Baines



Welcome to Jaisalmer, the mesmerizing golden city of Rajasthan. Nestled in the heart of the Thar Desert, Jaisalmer is a captivating destination that offers a perfect blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. With its intricately carved sandstone buildings, magnificent forts, and a rich heritage, Jaisalmer attracts millions of tourists from around the world every year.


As you step into this enchanting city, you will be greeted by the golden hues of the desert and the warm hospitality of its people. Jaisalmer is renowned for its stunning architecture, vibrant festivals, and mouthwatering Rajasthani cuisine.


Whether you are a history buff, adventure enthusiast, or a traveler in search of unique experiences, Jaisalmer has something to offer for everyone. From exploring the ancient Jaisalmer Fort to witnessing breathtaking sunsets over the sand dunes, there are countless attractions and activities to indulge in.


In this article, we will delve into some of the top things to do in Jaisalmer that will surely make your visit an unforgettable one. So, fasten your seatbelts and get ready to embark on a riveting journey through the Golden City of Rajasthan.


Explore the Jaisalmer Fort

No visit to Jaisalmer would be complete without exploring the magnificent Jaisalmer Fort, also known as Sonar Quila or the Golden Fort. This UNESCO World Heritage Site stands tall in all its glory atop the Trikuta Hill, overlooking the city.


As you enter the fort through its imposing gates, you will be transported back in time to the era of the Rajput rulers. The fort is renowned for its intricate architecture, featuring beautifully carved balconies, stunning courtyards, and ornate Jain temples.


Take a leisurely stroll through the narrow lanes and marvel at the exquisite craftsmanship of the buildings. You can visit the Raj Mahal (Royal Palace) which showcases the opulent lifestyle of the Maharajas, or explore the Jain Temples known for their intricate marble work.


Don’t forget to make a stop at the fort’s museum, which houses an impressive collection of artifacts, including ancient coins, weapons, and manuscripts. It provides a fascinating insight into the history and heritage of Jaisalmer.


Moreover, the fort offers breathtaking panoramic views of the city and the surrounding desert. Be sure to climb up one of the many vantage points to capture awe-inspiring photographs of the golden landscape stretching as far as the eye can see.


Exploring the Jaisalmer Fort is a mesmerizing experience that will transport you to a bygone era and leave you in awe of the rich cultural heritage of the city.


Visit the Patwon Ki Haveli

When in Jaisalmer, a visit to the Patwon Ki Haveli is a must. This cluster of five havelis is a testament to the architectural brilliance and exquisite craftsmanship of the bygone era. Built in the 18th and 19th centuries, the havelis were the residences of the wealthy Jain merchants.


As you step into the complex, you will be amazed by the intricate sandstone carvings adorning the walls and balconies. Each haveli boasts unique designs and motifs, showcasing the opulence and artistic finesse of the era.


Inside the havelis, you can explore the well-preserved interiors which feature ornate mirror work, exquisite murals, and beautifully carved pillars. The havelis provide a glimpse into the grandeur and lifestyle of the wealthy merchants of the past.


One of the highlights of the Patwon Ki Haveli is the first haveli, which is famously known as the Kothari’s Patwa Haveli. It has been transformed into a museum where you can see a collection of artifacts and household items from the bygone era. It offers an intriguing insight into the lives of the wealthy occupants.


While exploring the havelis, be sure to take in the panoramic view of Jaisalmer city from the rooftop. The view of the golden city, with the majestic Jaisalmer Fort in the backdrop, is truly breathtaking.


The Patwon Ki Haveli is a treasure trove of history and architecture that will transport you back in time and leave you in awe of the artistic prowess of the past. It is a must-visit destination for history enthusiasts and those seeking to immerse themselves in the rich cultural heritage of Jaisalmer.


Take a Desert Safari

No trip to Jaisalmer would be complete without embarking on a desert safari. The Thar Desert, also known as the Great Indian Desert, surrounds the city, offering a perfect backdrop for an unforgettable adventure.


There are several options for desert safaris in Jaisalmer, ranging from camel safaris to jeep safaris, providing different ways to explore the vast and mystical desert landscape.


A camel safari is the most traditional way to experience the desert. Mount a camel and set off on a leisurely ride through the sand dunes, as your guide navigates the way. Witness the serene beauty of the desert as you sway with the rhythmic steps of the camel.


If you prefer a faster and more thrilling experience, opt for a jeep safari. Hop into a 4×4 vehicle and zip through the golden sands, adrenaline rushing through your veins. The jeeps can traverse the challenging terrains of the desert, allowing you to explore more remote areas.


During the safari, you will get a chance to marvel at the ever-changing landscape of the desert, with its rolling sand dunes, scattered vegetation, and occasional wildlife sightings. Capture the picturesque views and the vastness of the desert, which stretches as far as the eye can see.


As the sun begins to set, prepare to be mesmerized by the breathtaking spectacle of the desert sunset. The golden hues of the sand perfectly complement the radiant colors painted across the sky, creating a magical atmosphere that is truly unforgettable.


To enhance your desert safari experience, consider spending a night under the stars in a desert camp. Experience the tranquility of the desert as you indulge in a traditional Rajasthani meal, enjoy live music and dance performances, and gaze at the star-studded sky.


A desert safari in Jaisalmer is an adventure that will stay with you for a lifetime, offering a unique glimpse into the rustic charm and natural beauty of the Thar Desert.


Discover the Jain Temples

Jaisalmer is home to a cluster of intricately carved Jain temples that bear testament to the city’s rich religious heritage. The Jain temples, built in the Dilwara style of architecture, are not only important pilgrimage sites for Jains but also a magnificent display of art and spirituality.


One of the most prominent Jain temples in Jaisalmer is the exquisite Chandraprabhu Temple. Dedicated to the eighth Tirthankara (enlightened being), Lord Chandraprabhu, the temple is known for its elaborate design and stunning sculptures. Admire the intricate carvings that adorn the walls, pillars, and ceilings, depicting various scenes from Jain mythology.


Another notable temple is the Parsvanath Temple, dedicated to Lord Parsvanath, the 23rd Tirthankara. The temple showcases a beautiful architectural blend of Hindu and Jain styles, featuring delicate carvings of gods, goddesses, and mythical creatures. It is believed to be the oldest of the Jain temples in Jaisalmer.


The Shantinath Temple, dedicated to Lord Shantinath, is yet another marvel. Its exquisite marble pillars, adorned with intricate carvings, create a serene and spiritual atmosphere. The temple also houses a collection of ancient manuscripts and scriptures.


As you explore the Jain temples, take a moment to appreciate the spiritual significance and the deep-rooted beliefs behind their construction. The temples serve as a place of solace and devotion for the Jain community, attracting visitors with their architectural beauty and spiritual ambiance.


Visiting the Jain temples in Jaisalmer offers a unique opportunity to witness the fusion of art, religion, and history. It is a testament to the city’s multicultural heritage and a must-see attraction for those seeking a glimpse into the religious traditions of India.


Marvel at the Gadisar Lake

Gadisar Lake is a tranquil oasis located on the outskirts of Jaisalmer. Built in the 14th century by Maharaja Gadsi Singh, this man-made lake served as a water conservation tank for the city. Today, it has become a popular tourist destination, offering a serene retreat from the bustling city life.


As you approach the lake, you’ll be captivated by the beauty of its surroundings. Lush gardens, intricately carved temples, and historic ghats line the banks of the lake, creating a picturesque setting. The golden sandstone architecture of Jaisalmer, reflected on the calm waters of the lake, adds to its charm.


Take a leisurely boat ride on the lake to appreciate its tranquility and the panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. As you glide across the water, you’ll come across numerous species of migratory birds, making it a haven for birdwatchers.


Visit the ornate temples, such as the Tilon Ki Pol and the Krishna Temple, located near the lake. These temples are not only architecturally stunning but are also of immense religious significance to the local community.


The Gadisar Lake becomes even more enchanting during sunrise and sunset. The water shimmers under the golden rays of the sun, creating a mesmerizing reflection that embodies the beauty of Jaisalmer. These magical moments provide excellent opportunities for photography enthusiasts to capture the essence of the lake.


For a truly memorable experience, visit the lake during the Gangaur Festival. During this festival, the locals decorate the lake with beautifully adorned boats and light up the surroundings with colorful lamps. It is a sight to behold, immersing you in the vibrant culture and traditions of Jaisalmer.


Gadisar Lake is not just a tourist attraction; it is a serene sanctuary that offers a peaceful respite from the hustle and bustle of the city. A visit to this magnificent lake is a must for nature lovers, photography enthusiasts, and those seeking a moment of tranquility amidst the beauty of Jaisalmer.


Witness the Sunset at Sam Sand Dunes

If you want to witness a truly magical sight in Jaisalmer, head towards the Sam Sand Dunes. Located about 45 kilometers away from the city, these vast, undulating sand dunes offer a breathtaking setting to experience the mesmerizing desert sunset.


As you reach the Sam Sand Dunes, you’ll be greeted by a panorama of golden sands stretching as far as the eye can see. The soft and silky sand dunes, sculpted by the winds, create a surreal landscape that is nothing short of awe-inspiring.


Find a comfortable spot on top of one of the dunes and prepare to be enchanted as the sun begins its descent. The sky transforms into a palette of warm hues – fiery reds, glowing oranges, and subtle pinks – casting a magical glow over the vast desert terrain.


As the sun gradually disappears beyond the horizon, take a moment to soak in the tranquility and serenity of the desert. The silence of the desert, interrupted only by the whispering wind, creates a sense of stillness and reflection that is hard to find elsewhere.


The sunset at the Sam Sand Dunes is a truly mesmerizing sight, but the experience doesn’t end there. After witnessing the breathtaking sunset, indulge in some thrill and adventure with a camel ride or a thrilling dune bashing session in a 4×4 vehicle.


At night, the Sam Sand Dunes come alive with cultural performances and folk music. Sit around the bonfire, savor traditional Rajasthani cuisine, and watch mesmerizing dance performances by local artists. It’s an opportunity to immerse yourself in the vibrant culture and traditions of Rajasthan.


Witnessing the sunset at the Sam Sand Dunes is an experience that will stay with you forever. It’s an opportunity to connect with nature, admire the beauty of the desert, and create unforgettable memories in the golden sands of Jaisalmer.


Shop in the Local Markets

When in Jaisalmer, don’t miss the opportunity to explore the vibrant local markets that offer a glimpse into the city’s rich cultural heritage and artistic traditions. From colorful textiles to exquisite handicrafts, the markets of Jaisalmer are a shopaholic’s paradise.


Start your shopping spree in the bustling Sadar Bazaar, the main market of Jaisalmer. Here, you’ll find a wide array of Rajasthani handicrafts, embroidered textiles, leather goods, and stunning jewelry. Bargaining is a common practice in these markets, so be prepared to haggle for the best prices.


One of the highlights of shopping in Jaisalmer is the opportunity to buy authentic handcrafted items directly from local artisans. Visit the Pansari Bazaar, where you can witness the intricate process of block printing and buy unique hand-blocked fabrics, including intricately designed bedspreads, curtains, and clothing.


For those interested in exquisite silver jewelry, head to Manak Chowk. Here, you’ll find stunning silver earrings, necklaces, and bracelets, adorned with intricate designs and semi-precious gemstones. The craftsmanship and attention to detail in these pieces are truly remarkable.


If you’re looking for traditional Rajasthani textiles, visit the Chohtan Bazaar, known for its vibrant array of fabrics, including Bandhani (tie-dye), mirror-worked textiles, and embroidered garments. These textiles are a reflection of the rich and colorful Rajasthani culture and are perfect for adding a touch of Rajasthan to your wardrobe.


Don’t forget to explore the local handicrafts, such as wooden carvings, camel leather products, and embroidered juttis (traditional shoes). These unique and skillfully crafted items make for perfect souvenirs to take back home.


While shopping in Jaisalmer, immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere of the markets. Engage with the friendly shopkeepers, learn about the craftsmanship behind the products, and embrace the vibrant energy of the city.


Shopping in the local markets of Jaisalmer is not only a chance to find unique treasures but also a way to support local artisans and preserve the cultural heritage of the region. It’s an experience that combines retail therapy with cultural immersion, making it a truly memorable part of your journey in Jaisalmer.


Enjoy Rajasthani Cuisine

Jaisalmer, known for its rich culinary traditions, offers a delectable array of Rajasthani cuisine that is sure to tantalize your taste buds. From flavorful curries to mouthwatering sweets, the local dishes are a celebration of the vibrant flavors and unique culinary heritage of Rajasthan.


Start your culinary adventure with the famous Dal Baati Churma, a quintessential Rajasthani dish. It consists of round bread made of wheat flour known as Baati, served with a creamy lentil curry (dal), and topped with a generous dollop of ghee. The dish is incomplete without the sweet and crumbly Churma, made from crushed baati, jaggery, and ghee.


If you’re a meat lover, don’t miss the chance to savor Laal Maas, a fiery lamb curry that gets its intense red color from the use of Mathania red chilies. This rich and aromatic dish is traditionally enjoyed with bajra roti (pearl millet bread) or rice.


Ker Sangri is another popular Rajasthani specialty that you must try. It is a delightful combination of dried berries and beans, cooked with spices and traditionally served with roti or bajra roti.


Rajasthani cuisine is incomplete without the mention of Gatte ki Sabzi, a unique dish made with gram flour dumplings cooked in a spicy yogurt-based gravy. The dumplings are steamed and then simmered in the tangy and flavorsome gravy, making it a delightful vegetarian option.


For those with a sweet tooth, indulge in the decadent Rajasthani desserts. The rich and creamy Malpua, a sweet pancake served with a drizzle of sugar syrup, is a popular treat. Other traditional sweets like Ghewar, Mawa Kachori, and Churma Ladoo are also worth trying.


As you explore the local markets, stop by the sweet shops and sample the variety of Rajasthani sweets. These shops are filled with colorful treats, such as Sohan Halwa, Mung Dal Halwa, and Pista Barfi.


To complete your gastronomic experience, pair your meals with refreshing local beverages like Aam Panna (raw mango drink), Kairi Sherbet (raw mango juice), or the famous Chai (tea) served in clay cups.


Immerse yourself in the flavors of Rajasthan as you indulge in the diverse and enticing Rajasthani cuisine. Whether you’re a vegetarian or a non-vegetarian, there’s no shortage of culinary delights to explore and savor in Jaisalmer.


Attend a Cultural Show

To truly immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of Jaisalmer, attending a cultural show is a must. These captivating performances showcase the rich traditions of Rajasthan and offer a glimpse into its folk music, dance, and storytelling heritage.


One of the most popular cultural shows in Jaisalmer is the Rajasthani folk dance performance. Dancers dressed in colorful traditional attire, adorned with elaborate jewelry and intricate embroidery, mesmerize the audience with their graceful movements and rhythmic footwork. The performances are accompanied by lively music, featuring instruments like the dholak, harmonium, and sarangi.


Another highlight of the cultural shows is the Ghoomar dance. This traditional folk dance, performed by women, involves elegant twirls and graceful hand movements to the rhythm of Rajasthani folk songs. It is a celebration of femininity and is often recognized for the colorful swirling skirts worn by the dancers.


Aside from the dance performances, you can also enjoy traditional Rajasthani music played on instruments like the sitar, tabla, and dhol. The soulful melodies and rhythmic beats create an enchanting ambiance that transports you to the heart of Rajasthan.


The cultural shows also offer an opportunity to witness captivating puppet shows, showcasing the artistry of puppeteers. These intricate puppets, dressed in traditional costumes, come alive as they depict stories and legends of the region. The lively performances filled with humor and narration draw you into a world of folktales and mythology.


While enjoying the cultural performances, don’t miss the chance to savor traditional Rajasthani cuisine. Many cultural shows offer a combination of dinner and entertainment, allowing you to indulge in a delicious spread of local dishes as you enjoy the performances.


Attending a cultural show in Jaisalmer is not only a source of entertainment but also a way to appreciate and celebrate the rich cultural heritage of Rajasthan. It’s an immersive experience that leaves you with a deeper understanding and appreciation of the vibrant traditions that define the region.