Petit Futé's opinion on JAISALMER CITADEL
The citadel of Jaisalmer emerges from the desert like a mirage, seemingly floating on a cloud of sand. Built in 1156, the fortress has been restored many times during the military campaigns of the Bhattis, the Mughals and the Rathores of Jodhpur. It is one of the oldest forts in Rajasthan and was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2013.
The city was founded by a raja of the Bhatti clan named Rao Jaisal. It quickly became an important caravanning stop between India and Persia. In the 14th century, the Bhatti seized a caravan coming from Delhi. In retaliation, the Sultan of Delhi Al ud-Din Khalji had the city razed to the ground. The fort was rebuilt almost a century later. In 1541, it underwent the assaults of the emperor Humayun without succumbing. But the velléités of Mughal domination end up making the rawal give up which offers one of his daughters in marriage to the emperor Akbar. The city remained under Mughal control until 1762 when it was taken over by the maharawal Mulraj. It was he who signed a treaty with the British East India Company in 1812 to ensure its protection. The rise of maritime trade and the port of Bombay during the Raj period caused the economic decline of the city. The partition with Pakistan in 1947 and the closing of the border ended it definitively. In 1993, the Jaisalmer region experienced a violent monsoon that destroyed or severely damaged nearly 250 historical buildings including the Rani-ka-Mahal, the Queen's palace.
Even today, the fort houses a population of about 3,000 people out of the 65,500 inhabitants of the city. It is a small city with temples, havelis with finely carved facades, narrow streets, shops and a palace. The fort was erected on a natural sedimentary platform that dominates the plain at an altitude of 79 meters. It is 460 meters long and 230 meters wide. It has kept all its medieval character and it is very pleasant to stroll through its streets and on its ramparts.
You will cross the double line of walls by a steep ramp guarded by four successive doors. Here you are on the square of Dashera Chowk where the famous jauhar took place (Rajput women immolated themselves after a military defeat in order not to be dishonored) during the enemy sieges. On the right, the facade of the palace has beautiful jharokhas (finely carved overhanging windows). Paved alleys follow the ramparts sometimes 10 meters thick.