Jaisalmer

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Jaisalmer, India

Called the Golden City, Jaisalmer is an amazing city in India, reflecting the tradition and culture of Indian people who left here many historical monuments and landmarks. Its location is in the northwest, in the province of Rajasthan. The area is on the border between Pakistan and India, occupying a sandstone ridge in the western part of the Thar Desert.

Jaisalmer is best known for its namesake castle. It is built on Trikuta hill- the mountain with three peaks. It was built in 1156 by Maharawal Jaisal after he and his people leave their previous homes and decided they would settle here. Today most people here are descendants of the original settlers. Idiga fortress is 300 m above the city, built of yellow sandstone. The massive walls have nearly 100 towers. They surround the five linked palaces.

The largest of them is Raj Mahal palace. Beyond the thick walls have survived three Jain temples built between the 12th and 15th century, a Hindu temple and the pretty homes of the rich people of that time.

In the past, residents have used its good geographic location as a means of enrichment. They charge passing trade caravans. Jaisalmer was at a commercial crossroads, linking India with Central Asia, Africa, Persia, Egypt and Arabia. Since the advent of sea routes, however, the region has not earned as well from traders and became a mere province. Perhaps for this reason Jaisalmer was able to largely preserve its old buildings and architecture in general.

Unlike most forts in India, Jaisalmer is now operational. Life goes on beyond the walls, there are several hotels, restaurants, shops and homes.

Jaisalmer a few years ago had an open military airport, which, however, civil flights land on. However, they are limited, as they are possible only during the period October - May. It is envisaged that in 2010 a new airport opened.

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