Jaisalmer Fort History: features, Facts, Timings & More

5 minute read
Jaisalmer Fort history

Did you know that Jaisalmer Fort is one of the largest fully preserved fortified cities in the world? The history of Jaisalmer Fort is encapsulated in the heart of Thar Dessert in Rajasthan, India and demonstrates its vigour till today. Jaisalmer Fort is also known as the Sonar Quila or the Golden Fort and has witnessed the rise and fall of dynasties, battles and the passage of time. In this blog, let’s delve on a journey to learn more about Jaisalmer Fort history, features and fascinating facts along the way.

Commissioned byRaja Rawal Jaisal
Also Known asSonar Qila or Golden Fort
LocationJaisalmer, Rajasthan
Timings9:00 am to 6:00 pm
Entry Fee for fort₹ 100 per person for Indians; ₹ 250 per person for foreigners (changes applicable)
Camera₹ 50 for Still Camera; ₹100 for Video Camera
StatusUNESCO World Heritage Site 
Jaisalmer Fort

History of Jaisalmer Fort

Jaisalmer Fort was built in the year 1156 AD by Rawal Jaisal, a Rajput ruler of the Bhati clan. The fort was strategically constructed on Trikuta Hill to safeguard the trade routes that passed through Jaisalmer. However, a defence structure called Rang Burj was added for more fortification in the year 1276 AD. For years, the fort belonged to the Bhati clan and witnessed centuries of battles and glory. The walls of the fort served as protection from invasions made by the Mughals, Tughlaqs, Rathore Kings Khilji, etc. The timeline of the control of the fort is as follows – 

  • 1276 AD: Alauddin Khilji, the Sultan of Delhi, set his eyes on the fort. His army laid siege for years, culminating in a harrowing victory in 1294. It is rumoured that to protect their honour, 25,000 women performed the tragic ritual of Jauhar. Yet, Khilji’s hold was short-lived and the fort returned to the Bhatis.
  • Late 14th century: The spectre of another siege loomed as Delhi’s Sultan Firoz Shah Tughlaq attacked. Once again, the women of Jaisalmer chose Jauhar, showcasing their unwavering spirit and courage to not bow down before the invaders.
  • 1541: Mughal Emperor Humayun arrived intending to conquer the fort. The ruler was  Rawal Lunakaran who resisted, but eventually yielded, forging a political alliance through his daughter’s marriage to Humayun’s son Akbar. Though under Mughal control until 1762, the fort’s spirit remained unbroken.
  • 1762:  Yet again, Maharawal Mulraj reclaimed the fort, ushering in a new era of independence. He later allied with the British East India Company, solidifying Jaisalmer’s position as a princely state. After independence of India, the princely state eventually joined the Union of India

The golden sandstone walls echo stories of courage, sacrifice and unwavering spirit. It is believed it once housed the entire city’s population and served as a vital trade hub.

Also Read – Chittorgarh Fort History: Features, Facts, Timings & More

Features of Jaisalmer Fort

Maharwal Palace or Raj MahalA five-storied tower.
Taxia TowerA five storied tower.
PalacesJawahar Palace, Sarvottam Vilas, Zenana Mahal, Bada Vilas, Gaj Mahal, Moti Mahal, etc
Diwan-i-AamAudience hall for public
Diwan-i-KhasAudience hall for private use
Gyan BhandarA library of rare manuscripts in the Jain temple complex
Dussehra ChowkEateries 
ZigZag AlleysRooftop of the fort from where 360 degree view of the neighbourhood can be enjoyed.

The fort’s architecture boasts a mixture of Rajput and Mughal styles and showcases exquisite carvings, delicate jharokhas (balconies) and intricate latticework.  In addition, within the fort’s walls, one can find an array of majestic havelis (mansions). The renowned Patwon Ki Haveli, Nathmal Ki Haveli, and Salim Singh Ki Haveli offer a glimpse into the lifestyle of the wealthy merchants of Jaisalmer.

Patwon ki Haveli

Other features include – 

  1. Impressive Gateways: The fort boasts four imposing gateways, each intricately designed and fortified to defend against any adversaries. These gateways are:
  • Ganesh Pol: The main entrance is adorned with a statue of Lord Ganesha.
  • Suraj Pol: Also known as the Sun Gate, captures the first rays of the sun.
  • Akhai Pol: A double-arched gate that leads to the royal palace and the Jain temples.
  • Hawa Pol: Constructed for the royal women to observe festivities and processions.
  1. Fortifications and Bastions: The fortifications of Jaisalmer Fort, comprising 99 bastions, have stood the test of time. Out of these 92 were built from 1633 to 1647.

Also Read – Janjira Fort History: Features, Facts, Timings & More

Fascinating Facts about Jaisalmer Fort

  1. Known as Living Fort: Unlike many other forts in India, Jaisalmer Fort is not just a relic of the past; it is a vibrant living entity. Approximately 3,000 people call this fort their home, residing within its ancient walls.
  2. Eternal Water Supply: The fort is equipped with a sophisticated rainwater harvesting system that has sustained its inhabitants for centuries. The complex system channels rainwater into underground tanks and ensures a steady supply of water even in the arid desert till today.
  3. Royal Palace: The grand palace within the fort, known as the Maharaja’s Palace or Raja Ka Mahal, was the residence of the rulers of Jaisalmer. 
  4. House to Jain Temples: Within the fort, there is a cluster of seven exquisitely sculpted Jain temples. These temples were built between the 12th and 15th centuries and are dedicated to the Jain Tirthankaras (spiritual teachers). 

The Parsavnatha Temple is one of the most revered and oldest in the complex. With Chandraprabha Temple, Sitalanath Temple, Sambhavnatha Temple, Santinatha and the most famous Rishabnatha Temple.

Timings of Jaisalmer Fort

The timings for visiting the Monument and watching the mesmerising scene are –

Entry9 am to 6:00 pm 
Week EntryEveryday
Entry Fee₹ 100 per person for Indians; ₹ 250 per person for foreigners (changes applicable)

In conclusion, Jaisalmer Fort stands as a magnificent architectural and engineering marvel of the glorious history of Rajasthan. Because of its golden hue, intricate carvings and captivating legends, the fort was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2013.

Also Read – Kumbhalgarh Fort History: Features, Facts, Timings & More

Other Attractions near Janjira Fort

Raja ka MahalJaisalmer War Museum
Rani ka MahalBada Bagh Temple
Gadisar LakeVyas Chhatri
Ellora CavesAmer Fort History
5 Most Famous Types Of Paintings in IndiaHistory of Fatehpur Sikri
Agra Fort HistoryGolconda Fort
Bhangarh Fort HistoryRed Fort History

That’s all about Jaisalmer Fort history! If you want to know more about topics like this, then visit our general knowledge page! Alternatively, you can also read our blog on general knowledge for competitive exams!

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *