Jaisalmer Fort, One of the Largest Forts in the World

Jaisalmer Fort is one of the largest forts in the world. Fort Rajwada, Jaisalmer was built with the patronage of Shri Jitendra Singh Rathore and Shri Dileep Singh Rathore. Spread on a land of 6 acres, Fort Rajwada is a magnificent structure standing evidence to its royal past. The interior of this princely house was designed by the gifted and celebrated opera designer Ms. Stephanie Engeln.

It was built in 1156AD by the Bhati Rajput ruler Rao Jaisal, from where it derives it name. The fort stands proudly amidst the golden stretches of the great Thar Desert, on Trikuta Hill, and has been the scene of many battles. Its massive yellow sandstone walls are a tawny lion color during the day, fading to honey-gold as the sun sets, thereby camouflaging the fort in the yellow desert. For this reason, it is also known as the “Golden Fort”. This fort, popularly known as the ‘Sonar quila’ by the locals, is located in the very heart the city, and is one of the most breathtaking monuments in the locality.[

The colorful and romantic city of Jaisalmer, in the Indian state of Rajasthan, boasts of sun kissed golden sands of the Thar Desert, dotted with a few scattered oases glittering in the bright overhead sunshine like a jewel in a brass setting. Jaisalmer, India's Golden City is also famous for being the home of the majestic camels, the graceful ship of the desert.

Fort Rajwada is a regal way of experiencing Jaisalmerl with the exquisite architecture blending with the picturesque and rich heritage of the Golden City – JAISALMER. The Jaisalmer induces a vivacious picture of breathtaking and sheen desert. The warmth and the energy that prevail with the local inhabitants make it into a town with a special magic. The exotic Havelis, built by wealthy merchants of Jaisalmer are yet another interesting aspect of the desert city. The romantic sand dunes that surround the city have mystical power and the best way of exploring them and the desert around is by a camel safari.

During medieval times, the city played a major role in trade with Persia, Arabia, Egypt and Africa. The fort contains 3 layers of walls. The outer or the lower layer is made out of solid stone blocks and it reinforces the loose rubble of Trikuta Hill. The second, or middle, wall snakes around the fort. From the innermost, or third, wall, the Rajput warriors once hurled boiling oil and water as well as massive blocks of rock at their enemies, who would become entrapped between the second and third walls. This defenses of the fort include 99 bastions, of which 92 were built between the period of 1633-47.

Ala-ud-din Khilji attacked and captured the fort in the 13th century and managed to hold it for 9 years. During the siege of the fort the Rajput women committed Jauhar. The second battle at the fort happened in 1541, when Mughal emperor Humayun attacked the fort city.

With the advent of British rule, the emergence of maritime trade and the growth of the port of Bombay led to the gradual economic decline of Jaisalmer. After independence and the Partition of India, the ancient trade route was totally closed, thus sealing the fate of the city. Nonetheless, the continued strategic importance of Jaisalmer was demonstrated during the 1965 and 1971 wars between India and Pakistan.[2] Although at one point the entire population of Jaisalmer lived within the fort, it today has a resident population of about 4,000 people who are largely from the Brahmin and Daroga communities. They are mostly descendants of the workforce of the Bhati rulers of Jaisalmer which was permitted to reside within the fort’s premises. With an increase in population, people gradually relocated to the foot of the Trikuta Hill and the town of Jaisalmer spread out from the fort.