Many places to visit in Jaisalmer are so beautiful that it would be a shame to miss them.
There are many incredible places to visit in India, and Jaisalmer is definitely one of them. With its roughly 90000 inhabitants, and much smaller compared to Indian megalopolis, there are many fabulous places to visit in Jaisalmer, which is one of the best cities in India.
The array of things to do in Jaisalmer is incredible, which is why it remains a favorite of travelers, who often prefer it to the million times more chaotic Delhi, and even to the holiest city in India, Varanasi (by the way, you can read more about Varanasi here). It was certainly my case.
I fell in love with Jaisalmer sheer beauty – so much so that I was hardly bothered by the chaos of tourists and locals, and by the noise of Diwali, one of the most important festivals in India that was happening right when I visited.
This small city can be visited in a mere two days, but I recommend to spend longer to take in all that it has to offer. In this post, I highlight all the nicest places to visit in Jaisalmer and I provided a few tips on how to make the most of the city.
If you are looking for guided tours of Jaisalmer, these are two of the best ones:
15 Incredible Places To Visit In Jaisalmer
One of the unmissable places to visit in Jaisalmer is its gorgeous fort, which together with other hill forts of Rajastan is UNESCO protected. Located on top of a hill, Jaisalmer Fort is an incredible sight from a distance. What makes it special compared to other forts in Rajasthan is that people still live there – there’s a community of around 3000 people living within the walls.
Jaisalmer Fort is a beautiful combination of narrow, winding lanes, and a series of temples and houses, as well as handicraft shops, guesthouses and restaurants. It was founded in 1156 by the Rajput ruler Jaisal and then reinforced by other rulers, and the place of many battles. You can enter through the eastern gate, near Gopa Chowk, and walk around the other four massive gates until you reach Dashera Chowk, the gate that opens to the square that used to be the fort center.
The number of hotels and restaurants in the fort is seriously affecting the survival of what is one of the most unique places to visit in Jaisalmer. Rumor has it that due to the unrestricted water use the fort is collapsing onto itself.
TIP: Make sure to follow the advice of the city council and avoid staying in one of the boutique hotels in Jaisalmer Fort. For as nice as they are, they have a strong impact on what is one of the nicest places to visit in Jaisalmer. Instead, opt to stay in other areas in the city.
Jaisalmer Fort Palace
Jaisalmer Fort Palace is one of the nicest places to visit in Jaisalmer. This gorgeous seven-storey palace is where the former rulers of the city used to live. It is partially built on top of the fourth fort gate, known as Hawa Pol.
The palace is a series of small rooms and visiting is one of the nicest things to do in Jaisalmer to get an idea of how much buildings, especially important ones, were designed to spy on the outside world. At the palace, the doorways are very low. This doesn’t reflect the actual stature of the rulers, but was done with the idea of forcing anybody who walked in to bend in front of them and keep a humble attitude.
TIP: Most of the palace is now open to the public. To make the most of it, take a guided tour (it lasts around 90 minutes). This also goes to the beautiful Rang Mahal, the mirrored and painted room of 18th century ruler Mulraj II.
The Jain Temples
The whole fort of Jaisalmer is scattered with beautiful Jain temples that date back to the 15th and 16th century. These are among the nicest places to visit in Jaisalmer.
Jain temples are characterized by incredibly intricate carvings and decorations. The ones in Jaisalmer are so beautiful that they rival those of the marble Jain temples of Ranakpur. Among the temples that can be visited there is Chandraprabhu – here’s where you’ll find the ticket stand as well. To its right, there is Rikhabdev temple, which has beautiful sculputres along the walls. Other temples are Parasnath, Shitalnath, Sambhavant, Shantinath and Kunthunath, which feature some incredibly sensual carvings.
TIP: Make sure to check the opening times of the temples before going, because they can be erratic, and note that the temples are always open for worshippers. Make sure to dress appropriately if you plan to visit, as it is forbidden to take things such as food, drinks, cigarettes and any leather item inside the temples.
Among the places to visit in Jaisalmer there is Laxminarayan, which is a Hindu temple. It’s definitely simpler than the Jain ones, but it has a beautifully decorated dome.
Read my post about the top temples in India here.
Jaisalmer is packed with havelis, which are scattered throughout the city, both inside the fort and outside. These are some of the most interesting places to visit in Jaisalmer. Havelis are beautifully carved sandstone doorways, jali screens, balconies and turrets. There are some that date back to the 18th century, built by notable city merchants.
Among the nicest havelis in Jaisalmer there are Patwa-ki-Haveli, which was built between 1800 and 1860 by 5 rich Jain brothers and is divided into 5 sections; and the Nathmak-ki-Haveli, which used to be the prime minister’s house and is still partly inhabited.
Desert Cultural Center and Museum
One of the most interesting places to visit in Jaisalmer is the Desert Cultural Center and Museum, which helps get a better understanding of Rajasthani culture with exhibits on music, textiles and religion among others.
TIP: Note that the ticket also includes admission to the Jaisalmer Folklore Museum.
Jaisalmer War Museum
One of the most interesting places to visit in Jaisalmer is the War Museum. It opened in 2015 and it is a great place to learn more about the history of Indian military. There is a strong focus on the war with Pakistan of 1965 and the Battle of Longewala which took place in 1971. The exhibit includes military equipment, and even the aircraft used during the Battle of Longewala. Admission to this interesting museum, which is located by the Military Station, is free.
Thar Heritage Museum
Visiting the Thar Heritage Museum is what to do in Jaisalmer to get a proper introduction about this incredible desert. This is a small, privately owned museum with a very good exhibit that includes things such as turbans, musical instruments, fossils, and even kitchen equipment.
TIP: If the museum appears rather uninteresting initially, rest assured that it quickly turns into one of the most interesting places to visit in Jaisalmer thanks to the guide, local historian LN Khatri. If you happen to get to the museum and find it closed, try to look for Mr Khatri in the nearby shop, Desert Handicrafts Emporium.
The Thar Desert
Among the best places to visit in Jaisalmer there’s the Thar Desert – though please note this is at a 20 minutes drive the city. This sand dunes desert is the perfect place to get away from the city, and here you can go on walks along the sand dunes, admire an incredible sunset and have dinner in one of the camps listening to traditional music and admiring an incredibly starry sky, and even go on a camel safari.
TIP: If you want to do a camel safari, make sure it is run in an ethical way with animals that are treated fairly and that all garbage is taken back to the city and not abandoned in the desert.
Speaking of sunset, you want to get the nicest sunset in Jaisalmer city, head to Vyas Chhatry, which is on the nothern edge of Jaisalmer and is dedicated to Vyasa, author of the Hindu epic The Mahabharata. It used to be a cremation ground for Brahmins and there are various empty tombs. It’s one of the nicest places to visit in Jaisalmer for sunset views.
Not in Jasailmer proper, Khaba Place is a nice place to go to. It’s a fort in an abandoned Paliwal village that used to be inhabited by Brahmins and that is located at around 40 minutes drive from Jaisalmer. The fort still has the ruins of the homes of the families that used to live there more than 200 years ago. What makes it one of the nicest places to visit in Jaisalmer is the fact that hardly any people go. The peacocks living around the fort add a fun touch to it.
The tiny alleys
This isn’t exactly a specific place, but walking along the tiny alleys is one of the nicest things to do in Jaisalmer. The maze of narrow streets gives plenty of opportunities to observe the local life and to bump into some of the most charming sights in town.
One of the nicest places to visit in Jaisalmer is the market, where there is a great selection of souvenirs as well as foods. Other than that, Jaisalmer has a bunch of beautiful shops scattered around town which are perfect if you like shopping and want to buy more unique pieces such as beautifully embroidered spreads and bed covers; oil lamps; antiques; as well as clothing of various styles like saris and cotton shirts.
TIP: Whether you buy in shops or at the market, make sure to haggle a bit before agreeing to buy anything.
Gadisar Lake is one of the nicest places to visit in Jaisalmer. It’s an artificial lake originally built as a water reservoir around 1400. The best time to visit is the morning, when locals go to pray in one of the temples around the lake and then feed the fish in the lake.
TIP: Going to the lake, the view of Jaisalmer Fort is fantastic!
Bhang (marijuana), a drug that in Hindu mythology had a special role, is sold openly in Jaisalmer. Lassi Shop, in Amar Sagar Pol and right next to Trotters Travel agency is one of the most popular places to visit in Jaisalmer to get a bhang lassi, a shake notoriously made with yogurt and bhang. Other things to eat are the bhang cookies, chocolates and other sweets.
TIP: Don’t over do it with the lassi. It may taste delicious, it may not feel strong, but it certainly is!
Other Things To Do In Jaisalmer
Eat great food
One of the perks of traveling to India is the delicious food. Jaisalmer has many good restaurants serving local and international cuisine, so one of the things to do in Jaisalmer is eating! Local food is generally cheaper and a typical meal consists of boiled jasmine rice, bread (pita or chapati, but there also are other kinds of bread), dhal, which is a sort of lentils soup, or chickpeas, and then many vegetable dishes such as potatoes and spinach, or potatoes and cauliflower.
Drink masala chai
Masala chai is a traditional Indian drink of sweet black tea, milk and spices. Jaisalmer is packed with some lovely cafés, some of them offering stunning views of the fort. Drinking masala chai right outside the fort is definitely what to do in Jaisalmer to recharge and at the same time getting a splendid view of the city.
Where to stay in Jaisalmer
Jaisalmer has many good accommodation options. Though the city fort has some supposedly beautiful boutique hotels, make sure to pick one outside and do your share to preserve this beautiful part of the city.
Here’s a selection of good places to stay in Jaisalmer:
- Narayan Niwas has good sized, comfortable rooms set around a gorgeous courtyard. Click here for the latest rates and here for reviews.
- 1st Gate is a modern, sophisticated boutique hotel with one of the best views of Jaisalmer Fort. Click here for the latest rates and here for reviews.
- Jaisalmer Hostel Crowd is an excellent option for backpackers. Rooms are good and the great atmospheres adds to it. Click here for the latest rates and here for reviews.
Have you ever been to Jaisalmer? What are the places to visit in Jaisalmer that you liked the most?
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