Good for: Rajasthan tour
Not good for: Absolute nothing
- Jaisalmer Fort Area
Lonely Planet review for Jaisalmer Fort
Jaisalmer Fort is a living fort - about 25% of the old city's population resides within its walls. As well as a palace and various temples, its carless streets are packed with houses, handicraft shops and beauty parlours, and honeycombed with narrow, winding lanes paved in stone.
Built in 1156 by the Rajput ruler Jaisala and reinforced by subsequent rulers, Jaisalmer Fort was the focus of a number of battles between the Bhattis, the Mughals of Delhi and the Rathores of Jodhpur. The lower layer of the fort's three walls is composed of solid stone blocks, which reinforce the loose rubble of Trikuta Hill. The second wall snakes around the fort, and between this and the third, or inner, wall, the warrior Rajputs hurled boiling oil and water, and massive round missiles on their unwitting enemies below.
It's an extraordinary, resonant experience to wander around the lanes inside this animated museum. The fort walls provide superb views over the old city and surrounding desert - it's especially enchanting to stroll around the outer fort ramparts at sunset or at night, when it's lit up under a clear sky full of stars.
Sadly, the tourist trade is threatening the fort as its drainage system struggles to cope with far greater volumes than it was designed for and unsympathetic building practices add to the degradation of the original architecture.