500px Photo ID: 71843661 - Jaisalmer is a unique place, with the majority of the population of the dusty desert town still residing inside the centuries old fort. Making it the Living Fort. Cars, bikes can be driven inside the narrow lanes of the fort. At one point one gets to see an old ruin and  standing tall next to it is a Harley Davidson at the entrance of one of the many Fort restaurants.

Deepanjana Ghosh / 500px

Jaisalmer Fort

Top choice in Jaisalmer

Jaisalmer’s fort is a living urban centre, with about 3000 people residing within its walls. It is honeycombed with narrow winding lanes, lined with houses and temples – along with a large number of handicraft shops, guesthouses and restaurants. You enter the fort from the east, near Gopa Chowk, and pass through four massive gates on the zigzagging route to the upper section. The final gate opens into the square that forms the fort’s centre, Dashera Chowk.

Founded in 1156 by the Rajput ruler Jaisal and reinforced by subsequent rulers, Jaisalmer Fort was the focus of a number of battles between the Bhatis, the Mughals of Delhi and the Rathores of Jodhpur. In recent years, the fabric of the fort has faced increasing conservation problems due to unrestricted water use caused, in the most part, by high tourist numbers.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Jaisalmer attractions

1. Surya Temple

0.02 MILES

This small 16th-century Hindu temple inside the fort is devoted to Surya, the sun god.

2. Laxmi Narayan Temple

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The Hindu Laxmi Narayan Temple, in the centre of the fort, is simpler than the Jain temples here and has a brightly decorated dome. Devotees offer grain,…

3. Jain Temples

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Within the fort walls is a maze-like, interconnecting treasure trove of seven beautiful yellow sandstone Jain temples, dating from the 15th and 16th…

4. Baa Ri Haveli

0.05 MILES

This 450-year-old haveli (traditional, ornately decorated residence), once belonging to Brahmin priests that advised the maharajah, now houses an…

5. Fort Palace Museum

0.08 MILES

Towering over the fort’s main square, and partly built on top of the Hawa Pol (the fourth fort gate), is the former rulers’ elegant seven-storey palace…

6. Nathmal-ki-Haveli


This late-19th-century haveli (traditional, ornately decorated residence), once used as the prime minister’s house, is still partly inhabited. It has an…

7. Salim Singh-ki-Haveli

0.27 MILES

This 18th-century haveli (traditional, ornately decorated residence) has an amazing, distinctive shape. It’s narrow for the first floors, and then the top…

8. Patwa-ki-Haveli

0.29 MILES

The biggest fish in the haveli (traditional, ornately decorated residence) pond is Patwa-ki-Haveli, which towers over a narrow lane, its intricate…