I wonder what sinister forces combined and I got stuck in a terrible traffic
jam. My heart was gripped with the fear of missing the train to Jaisalmer but suppressing my despair I kept chanting God’s name to reach on time. Finally the ordeal got over and somehow I could manage to board the train, which had almost started from the station. This time I was traveling alone but this hardly matters to me as I am too fond of traveling to think about company. On the night train I spent half the night chatting with my fellow travelers, a group of youngsters. They were also going to Jaisalmer for holidays.
Jaisalmer is one of the most enchanting cities of Rajasthan where you can experience royalty, luxury, natural beauty and arduous desert life at the same time. Aptly called the Golden City, it was founded by Rawal Jaisal in 1156 AD. According to its glorious history it was an important part of a trade route connecting India to Egypt. The charm of Jaisalmer attractions attracts tourists from across the globe.
Jaisalmer Fort or the Sonar Quila( the golden fort) dominating the landscape of the city was the first attraction on my itinerary. Perched on Trikuta Hill, the fort is truly a jewel of the desert. Embraced by the sun rays, the fort was shining like gold. Once the abode of the Rajputs, it is among the largest forts and the second oldest in Rajasthan. It was named after its founder, the Bhati Rajput ruler Rawal Jaisal.
Towering to a height of two hundred and fifty feet, the fort is fortified by a sandstone wall, which is thirty feet high. My guide Rajeev told me that it has ninety-nine bastions and there are three layers of walls( constructed for the purpose of defense). The Rajput warriors used to throw boiling water and oil and huge rocks as missiles on their enemies. The perfect blend of the Rajput and Mughal architectural style is one of the striking features of the fort.
The fort is a lively and bustling place as it is still inhabited by a huge chunk of the population of the city. There are shops, hotels and havelis within the boundary of the fort. The bitter history linked to the fort is that it was attacked by Ala-ud-Din Khilji and sieged for nine years, in the 13 century. The women of the Fort finally committed Jauhar (self immolation) so that they would not be captured alive by their enemy.
I also visited the exquisitely carved Jain temples, dating back to the period between 12th and 15th century, inside the fort. All the temples are connected by walkways and corridors. Standing at the fort I enjoyed panoramic views of the surroundings. The desert ambiance, the golden fort and the glorious history- all this reminded me of my favorite stories of Alladin.
Contented, my heart was full of joy but my empty stomach was begging me to pamper it. My guide took me to the desert roof top restaurant, located inside the fort, where I had a hearty meal and also enjoyed beautiful views of the city.