Rajasthan Forts and Palaces Tour- Day I
Seeking a royal experience I stepped into the land of raja-maharajas, Rajasthan. Although there are several baits that lure me to this destination again and again but nothing compares the charm of its royalty. This time I was here to explore its stunning palaces and majestic forts, each having its own glorious story to tell. This time my sister Jyoti and my cousin sister Rubal joined me on the trip.
The first tour of Rajasthan on our itinerary was the Jaisalmer Tour. This city with the element of quaint romanticism fascinates tourists with its Golden fort, stunning havelis, Desert festival, Desert National Park and mystic sand dunes. Our guide told us that many Hollywood celebrities have also visit this city to see its attractions.
Jaisalmer is popularly known as the Golden City which was founded by the Rajput ruler Rawal Jaisal in 1156 AD. At one point of time it was also an important part of a trade route connecting India to Egypt, Persia, Africa, Arabia and the West. Our first halt was Jaisalmer Fort which is known as Sonar Quila (the Golden Fort). It is still a living fort which makes it all the more attractive. The fort is no less than a town with hundreds of people residing inside it. The fort was built on Trikuta hill by the Bhati Rajput ruler Rawal Jaisal. And the fort derived its name from him. The fort is made of yellow sandstone reflecting the perfect amalgamation of Rajput and Mughal architecture. It is the second oldest fort of Rajasthan. Its fortified walls, ninety nine bastions, architectural beauty and glorious history make it a famous attraction of Jaisalmer. The view of the city from the top of the fort was awe-inspiring. We were completely mesmerized by the charm of this wondrous fort.
Next we went to treat our sense with the stunning beauty of the famous havelis of Jaisalmer. The havelis of Jaisalmer are renowned for their architectural beauty and age-old charm. We visited the most famous havelis –Salim Singh ki haveli, Patwon ki haveli and Nathmal ji ki haveli. We were overwhelmed to see their fascinating architecture and interior decoration. The carvings on the walls and ceilings, mirror work, lattice work and stone and wood work are their striking features.
Salim Singh ki Haveli: Built in the 17th century, this haveli boasts of eye catching architectural beauty. There are 38 balconies in the haveli, each having a unique design. The Ship palace inside the haveli is a must-see attraction.
Nathmal Ji Ki Haveli: Designed by the two Muslim brothers Hathi and Lulu, this haveli was built in 1885 by Diwan Mohata Nathmal, the then Prime Minister of Jaisalmer. One interesting feature of this haveli is that the architect brothers made two halves of the building based on the same plan but they turned out to be dissimilar and were joined together by a façade.
Patwon ki Haveli: This opulent haveli is a structure with five different houses. The first and the most impressive section of this haveli was built in 1805 by Guman Chand Patwa( a rich merchant) and later new sections were added to it by his successors. Two sections of the haveli are still occupied by the successors of the merchant. The other two sections belong to the Archaeological Survey of India and the rest have shops in them.
Our last and the most enchanting attraction was a camel safari on the sand dunes of Jaisalmer. As we were exploring the desert on a camel I was feeling as if we have been transported to a wonderland. The dramatic surroundings, peaceful ambiance and adventurous journey left us completely spell bound.