Golden sandstone walls rise sharply from the earth like a carefully constructed sand castle frozen in time. But it’s not until one reaches the gates of the fort that the legends of its beauty come true.
Constructed in 1155 AD by Rajput Jaisal, this fort in the sands immediately earned notoriety and stood at a crossroads for important trade routes, most notably the Silk Road. Jaisalmer served as a crucial crossroads for hundreds of years, taxing large caravans that passed through the region and gaining immense wealth. However, under the British Rule of the 1800’s, the fort lost importance in the trading route as the maritime routes grew more prominent. But for what lacks in political power today, Jaisalmer has risen as one of the premier tourist destinations of Rajasthan. A glimpse of the walls and a walk through the living fort harkens the same wonder as it has since the 13th century.
Remarkably, Jaisalmer Fort to this day has remained one of the last few “living” forts in the world, where a large population still live inside the weathered walls of the fort. Locals are adorned in bright clothes as they go about their mostly unchanged daily life. Many resort to the age-old craftsmanships of tapestry, rugs, and pottery, pulling in curious travelers looking for a memorable addition to their home.
THE SILK ROAD JOURNAL
How We Got Here
We arrived by an overnight train from Bikaner, a town in Rajasthan to the north,
Walking into the fort for the first time and gazing at the stunning architecture, details, and streets of the living fort.
Being invited into a merchants simple home in the fort, where he gave of chai and showed us some antiques he collected.
S N A P S H O T S O N T H E R O A D
W H E R E W I L L Y O U R J O U R N E Y T A K E Y O U N E X T ?
Jaisalmer filled your heart with wonder and reignited the passion for exploration - which is good as China still looms very far to the east. From here though a crucial decision ensues which would take you on a vastly different course to the Middle Kingdom.
Do you head north to Bikaner, and eventually through the Himalayas into China, or do you head south through Jodhpur and take the maritime route around India and through Southeast Asia?