Popularly known as the Golden city of Rajasthan, Jaisalmer is most famous for its Sand Dunes.
Although most people limit themselves to the sand dunes, there are a lot of things to do in and around Jaisalmer. So I've made a list of all things to do and places to explore here.
1. Jaisalmer Fort
The sprawling yellow-stone Fort, built by the Rajput ruler Rawal Jaisal, stands at the centre of the city. In the olden days this desert town was only limited to the boundaries of the Fort. Today, due to the increasing population, the city boundaries have spread. This is a UNESCO world Heritage site and perhaps the only "living fort" in the world. Descendants of the royal family and other caste based communities aiding the ruler continue to live here till date.
2. Patwon ki Haveli
Havelis or mansions were a common thing in Jaisalmer. Guman Chand Patwa was an opulent banker and a minister to the ruler who began building his own mansion but couldn't finish it. I was later finished by his 5 sons and hence the name, Patwon ki Haveli. I think that it is pretty clear why. As soon as you entre the narrow lane leading to the Havelis, you are taken aback by the intricacy of the heavily carved, yellow stone jharokhas (windows) and balconies.
3. Gadisar Lake
Hardly a kilometre from the Amar Pole (Gate) of the Fort, lies the Gadhisar Lake. This is another famous tourist spot. You can do a lot of things like boating, feeding cat fish and visiting the sunset point. Historically, this small lake used to provide water for the whole town of Jaisalmer!
4. Salim Singh ki Haveli
Salim Singh ki haveli is one of the few old structures built outside the fortifications. Legend has it that a Minister of the kingdom, Salim Singh had a disagreement with the ruler, and decided to build his own haveli farther away from the city. The distinctive feature of this Haveli is how the roof has been constructed in the form of a peacock. The descendant family still occupies space in this haveli. They provide a contribution based, guided tour explaining interesting things about its history and people.
5. Sam Sand Dunes
These are the most famous sand dunes merely 40-45 kms from Jaisalmer city. In the month of February, you can also see the camel races as part of the Desert Festival that takes place annually. You can either go for the cultural Desert camp safari where you will stay in luxurious tents or temporary huts. However, to get a richer experience of the desert you should try to go for the Wild Desert Safari. This takes you deeper into the dunes, far away from the crowd.