Jaisalmer, often referred to as the “Golden City,” is a mesmerizing destination in the heart of the Thar Desert, Rajasthan, India. Known for its golden sandstone architecture, magnificent forts, and rich cultural heritage, Jaisalmer is a jewel in the crown of Rajasthan tourism. The city’s golden hues come to life during sunset, casting a magical glow over its sand dunes and ancient structures. Here are 5 must-visit places in Jaisalmer that capture the essence of its golden charm and royal history:

Jaisalmer Fort

1. Jaisalmer Fort (Sonar Quila)

The iconic Jaisalmer Fort, locally known as Sonar Quila, is the crown jewel of the city. Rising majestically from the desert landscape, this imposing fort is one of the largest fully preserved fortified cities in the world. Built in the 12th century by Rajput ruler Maharaja Rawal Jaisal, the fort is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a living fort where nearly one-fourth of the city's population resides. Inside the fort, visitors can explore narrow winding lanes, ornate havelis, splendid palaces, and ancient temples, reflecting the rich architectural and cultural heritage of Jaisalmer.

Patwon Ki Haveli

2. Patwon Ki Haveli

Located just outside the Jaisalmer Fort, Patwon Ki Haveli is a cluster of five intricately carved havelis, built in the 19th century by the wealthy Jain merchant Guman Chand Patwa. Adorned with delicate jharokhas (balconies), elaborate facades, and exquisite murals, Patwon Ki Haveli is a masterpiece of Rajasthani architecture. Each haveli showcases distinct themes and designs, depicting the opulent lifestyle of the Patwa family. The havelis are a must-visit for those seeking a glimpse into the lavish life of the bygone era.

3. Sam Sand Dunes

A visit to Jaisalmer is incomplete without experiencing the magical sand dunes of Sam. About 40 kilometers from the city, the Sam Sand Dunes provide an enchanting desert experience. Visitors can enjoy a camel safari or a thrilling jeep ride across the sweeping dunes, especially during sunset when the golden sands create a stunning vista. The desert comes alive with cultural performances, including traditional Rajasthani folk dances and soulful melodies, making it an unforgettable evening under the starry desert sky.

Gadisar Lake

4. Gadisar Lake

Built in the 14th century by Maharaja Gadsi Singh, Gadisar Lake is an artificial reservoir that was once the primary source of water for Jaisalmer. Surrounded by ghats, temples, and cenotaphs, the lake is a serene oasis amidst the desert city. Visitors can take a boat ride on the lake to enjoy the tranquility and to spot migratory birds that flock to the lake during winters. The lake offers a picturesque view, especially during sunrise and sunset.

Jain Temple

5. Jain Temples

Jaisalmer boasts a number of exquisitely carved Jain temples that showcase the city's religious and artistic heritage. The most prominent among them are the Jain Temples inside the Jaisalmer Fort, known for their intricately designed walls, pillars, and ceilings. The temples, dedicated to different Jain Tirthankaras, feature stunning architecture and sculptures, making them a must-visit for architecture and history enthusiasts.