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Jaisalmer Fort â€“ Sonar Quila, Jaisalmer
March 02, 2013 by:
Nupur Points: 12
Category: Travel & Places
In this article I have highlighted the Golden fort also known as Sonar Quila. This is one of the oldest desert forts of India. I recommend the fort and history lovers, archaeological students to visit the desert city Jaisalmer, a place worth visiting and exploring.
Jaisalmer fort which is commonly called Sonar Quila (Golden fort) by the local residents of Jaisalmer is an architectural marvel. It manifests extraordinary stone work, glass mosaic designs and decorative Rajput art in Islamic style. The windows display the intricately designed and carved lattices and hanging windows. The minarets are examples of the Islamic architectural designs. The fusion architectural beauty of the honey-gold fort is magnificent. The outstanding fort stands on Trikuta hill and is one of the oldest desert forts of India. It was built in the 12th century by the Rajput ruler, Rawal Jaisal Singh in 1156 AD. He was a Bhati Rajput ruler.
The outstanding fort is unique as there is no water body enclosing it. It in enclosed by a circular wall with tall towers. The specialty of the fort is that the palace complex and the ordinary houses of the citizenâ€™s are built side by side unlike the other forts. The Royal family resides at the Jawahar palace in the fort. Sonar Quila is the only living fort of Rajasthan where 1/4th of the population resides inside the fort. In ancient times the entire population of Jaisalmer resided in the fort but with time people have moved out to stay in the yellow city.
There are 5 gates that lead to the fort through serpentine paved pathway. They are named as Hoawa pole, outermost gate. Hoawa pole leads to the second gate known as Akshaya pole. Near this gate there is a well in which convicts were hurled to death. Ganesh pole the third gate. The ascending serpentine pathway leads to Bhutta pole, the fourth gate. There is a chowk after crossing the fourth gate, Jawhar had been performed in the past at this main chowk. Suraj pole is the main entrance of the fort. On either side of the main entrance are the palm imprints of the Rajput women who died a fiery death, sati. They preferred death than to get seized by the Mughals, a legend hard to forget. The rite of jawhar had been performed twice in the fort.
The yellow sand stone fort looks naturally beautiful with the large Indian desert in the background. The fort was built with stones using such a technique that they are locked like cemented, very little water was used in the construction of the fort. A superb panoramic view of the yellow city and desert can be enjoyed from the top storey. Tourists are overwhelmed to see the towers armed with age old cannons even today.
The Royal palace is the main attraction of the fort. The lattice work of the 5 storied Palace is superb. The Kingâ€™s palace is richly decorated. Other places of interest are Zenana Mahal, Rang Mahal, Moti Mahal, Sarwotam Vilas, Gaja Vilas, Badal Vilas. The ceiling and walls of all the Mahals have richly coloured designs and decorations done. The walls exhibit the skilled work of the medieval age. The work of the expert and experienced artists in the miniature paintings, carved woodwork, arched terrace and peacock shaped brackets proclaim the elegance and royalty of the Rajput rulers.
Jain temples and Laxminarayan temple have ancient religious scene sculptures. Precious stones are affixed on the idols and statues which are worth seeing. The Jain temple is dedicated to Tirthankara Shantinath. There is an amazing museum and library with numerous ancient, priceless collections of Royal artifacts and manuscripts. You can view the amazing ancient palm and paper leaf manuscripts.
The other places of attraction in Jaisalmer are the havelis built by the rich, affluent Marwari businessmen. Some of them are Patwan ki Haveli, Salim Singhji ki Haveli, Nathmalji ki Haveli, Gadisagar lake, Tazia Tower, Sand dunes and Baga bagh with the amazing Sati Rani cenotaphs. The yellow city is a beautiful place to visit. Handicrafts, woollen blankets, carpets, traditional dresses, show pieces are worth buying. Jaisalmer can be reached by train. It is located 300 km from Jodhpur airport. Rajasthan tourism and private buses run from Jaipur, Udaipur, Jodhpur, Ajmer, Bikaner to Jaisalmer.
Come visit the desert city Jaisalmer, enjoy the royalty and have fun.
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