JaiselmerDeep in the heart of the Thar Desert is the Fort city of Jaisalmer, founded by Rawal Jaisal, a descendent of the Yadav Clan and a Bhati Rajput, in 1156 AD.  The Bhati Rajputs of Jaisalmer were feudal chiefs who lived on the forced levy on the caravans that crossed their territory en-route to Delhi. These caravans, laden with precious cargos of spices and silk brought great wealth to this town. 

While it was founded on what was the cross - road of lucrative trade routes, Jaisalmer has remained aloof and untouched by foreign influences and was the last to sign the Instrument of Agreement with the British.  This remote settlement is celebrated for the valour of its rulers, and for the aesthetic sense represented by their palaces and havelis.  Jaiselmer Fort seems to rise out of the desert haze, its yellow sandstone walls and bastions taking on a golden hue in the afternoon sun, hence its name Sonar Kila or the Golden Fort.

The fort stands a 100 meters over the city and houses a citadel within its huge ramparts. Walking down the narrow cobbled stone lanes, one can feel the sheer magic of Jaisalmer.  Several entrances called Pols , guard the Megh Durbar and the Jawahar Mahal which were occupied by the royal family. Outside the fort is the main market place called Manek Chowk where one can walk into the lanes where the famous carved havelis or houses are to be found.  Jaisalmer is famous for its intricately latticed havelis with conspicuous facades.  Apart from the havelies, Jaiselmer is also known for its group of Jain temples dating back to the 12th to the 15th centuries, where the Parswanath Temple is the oldest and the most beautiful.  

In medieval times, its prosperity was due to its location on the main trade route linking India to Egypt, Arabia, Persia, Africa and the West. The glory of Jaisalmer faded when sea trade replaced the old land routes. But there is still an 'Arabian Nights' quality about the town. The narrow streets in the walled city preserve a traditional way of life : the craftsmen still work at the ancient crafts of weaving and stone carving, the making of silver jewellery and embroidery. And the stately, nonchalant camel is everywhere.

Lodurva Jain TempleOnce the capital of Rawal Jaisal, Lodurva now has ruins of the ancient township and an important center of Jain pilgrimage. The temples exhibit some more fine examples of intricate craftsmanship on yellow stone.