Jaisalmer fort – Rajasthan

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Rajasthan Tour 2011
Jaisalmer was founded by Rawal Jaisal in 1156 A.D. In 17th century, business and commerce flourished in Jaisalmer due largely to the opening of trade route between India and the rest of Asia. In those days goods were sent through camels to Middle East via Jaisalmer.
Just like other towns of Rajasthan, Jaisalmer was also built centering around the fort or Sonar Kella. To the south of the town there is 76m high Trikut Hill and a fort is situated on it. The security arrangement of the fort is really unique. There are 99 towers, some of which possess canons even today.
Inside the fort there is the Juna Mahal which is famed for its lattice work. To the west is Jenana Mahal. On the upper part of the Hawa Pole there is Rang Mahal which is decorated with glass and murals. The glass mosaic designs of Sarbottam Bilas is a stupendous architectural specimen. The Mote Mahal or Flower Palace in the days of yore used to be the King's Durbar Hall or meeting place. There is also the magnificent Badal Bilas or The Tower of Clouds.
The Parswanathji's temple built way back in 1417 is well known for its architectural marvel. The temples of Rishavnath, Shantinath and Sambhabnath too are very impressive.
One of the attractions of Jaisalmer is the Jinabhadra Suri Gyan Bhandar, which has a rich collection of artifacts, 1126 pages of palm leaf manuscripts and 2257 pages of paper manuscripts.
Today Jaisalmer is the bastion of rich business merchants who have built their palatial havelies, which have been designed by highly skilled artisans.The superbly built Patwon Ki Haveli, which is all of 5 storied stands gracefully and is renowned for its lattice engravings. There is also the Nathmalji Ki Haveli and its parapets are engraved with a fine collection of miniature paintings. The Gadisagar Lake is another great attraction of Jaisalmer where many famous temples are located. The Fakrole Museum too is worth visiting.
There is a majestic picnic spot 9 km West of Jaisalmer on the way to Sam known as Mul Sagar. If you travel 40 kms further you will reach the stupendous Sam Sand Dunes, which is the starting point of Camel Safaris. The sunset at Sam is absolutely ethereal. You can have a date with the Desert Wilderness by visiting the Desert National Park located 9 kms. West of Jaisalmer. The great Indian bustard, chinkaras, black buck, gazels and foxes are some of the resident species of this park.

Jodhpur Tours

JodhpurJodhpur, the former capital of Marwar state was founded in 1459 by Rao Jodha who claimed descent from Lord Rama, (the hero of the epic Ramayana). The city was built as a result of warring brothers, each of which felt the need to rule his independent state. The massive fort - Mehrangarh - came first and around it grew the city of Jodhpur protected by a high stone wall with seven gates and countless bastions. Today, the city has grown to become the second largest city of Rajasthan while still maintaining its medieval character.
A flourishing trading center in the 16th century, Jodhpur is still one of the leading centers for wood, cattle, camels, salt and agricultural crops. However, the past is never very far behind and Jodhpur boasts of some very fine reminders of this glorious past - palaces, forts, temples and other elegant monuments of architectural and historical value.
The Mehrangarh Fort spreading over 5 km on a perpendicular hill and looking down from a height of about 100 meters, the fort appears rugged and impenetrable from outside but houses some of the most intricately adorned palaces with exquisitely carved panels and latticed windows.
Moti Mahal (Flower Palace), Sheesh Mahal (Mirror Palace), Sileh Khana and Daulat Khana are some of the other riveting places to visit and view the collection of palanquins, howdahs, royal cradles, miniatures, musical instruments, costumes and furniture.
There is Jaswant Thada with a rich collection of cenotaphs which were built way back in 1899 and houses the portraits of the rulers of Jodhpur. Another majestic place is the Umaid Bhawan Palace, which happens to be the only palace to be built in the 20th century. An impressive sandstone structure, the palace is today run as a luxury hotel.
For shopping there is Giridkot and Sardar Market located in the heart of Jodhpur and are always throbbing with activity. Tiny shops dot the narrow lanes and a wide range of handicrafts makes this area a truly wonderful souvenir hunting zone. If you venture about 8 kms. north of Jodhpur, you will come across Mandore where the majestic Hall of Heroes with sixteen gigantic figures carved out of a single rock depicting popular Hindu and folk deities stand in bright colors and are a treat to the eyes. You would do well to visit the Mahamandir Temple built way back in 1812 with 84 carved pillars.