Jaisalmer: History, Geography, Places

Location, Area and Administration of Jaisalmer:

District Jaisalmer is located within a rectangle lying between 26°.4’ –28°.23′ North Latitude and 69°.20′-72°.42′ East Longitude. It is by bounded by Barmer in the south, Jodhpur in the east and Bikaner in north-east. The western boundary of the district is a part of Indo-Pak international border. The length of international border attached to District Jaisalmer is 471 Kms.

Jaisalmer is the largest district of the state with 38,401 sq. km. area. The district is divided into 4 tehsils namely Jaisalmer, Pokaran,  Fatehgarh, Bhaniyana.

ImageSource: mapsofIndia. Tehsil of Bhaniyana not in Map
ImageSource: mapsofIndia. Tehsil of Bhaniyana not in Map

History of Jaisalmer:

Jaisalmer kingdom was established in south-western Rajasthan . Once seat of Bhatti Rajputs, has been nicknamed “Golden City” owing to yellow sandstone structures and the gold-coloured desert surrounding it.

Rulers of Jaisalmer (1156 -1947)

  • Rawal Jaisal/Jessul (1156-68)
    • The Bhatti capital at Lodorva (Ludarva) is destroyed by Shihab ud-Din Muhammad (Shihabuddin), the Afghan chief of Ghor.
    • Rawal Jaisal laid foundation of new kingdom with Jaisalmer as its capital.
  • Salbahan (1168) -> Baijal – >Chachak Deo -> Tej Rao
  • Rao Jaitsi (1276 –
    • Faced 8 years seize by Allaudin Khilji
    • 1st jauhar of Jaisalmer. (1295)
  • Karan Singh — > Moolraj — > Ratan Singh à Lakhan Sen
  • Dudar
    • 2nd Jauhar of Jaisalmer – against Feroz Shah of Delhi
  • Kanar – Punpal – Kehar II – Somji – Lachman – Kailan – Kilkaran – Satal – Bersi – Chachack Deo II – Devidas – Jaitsi II – Karan Singh II
  • Rawal Lunkarn (1530-51)
    • 3rd Jauhar of Jaisalmer- also called half jauhar of Jaisalmer – against local Afghan chief Amir Ali .
    • Why half Jauhar – Amir Ali obtained Rawal Lunakaran’s permission to let his wives visit the queens of Jaisalmer. But Instead of women he sent armed warriors, which took the guards of the fort by surprise. As there was insufficient time to arrange a funeral pyre and battle seemed lost, Rawal slaughtered his womenfolk with his own hands. However, soon reinforcements arrived, sparing the men from the Jauhar and Amir Ali was defeated. Hence, it is called a half jauhar or Sako.
  • Rawal Maldeo (1551-62)
  • Rawal Harraj (1562-78)
    • Submitted to Akbar
  • Rawal Bhim Singh (1578 – 1624)
  • Rawal Kalyandas (1624 – 1634)
  • Rawal Manohardas(1634 – 1648)
  • Rawal Ramchandra (1648 – 1651)
  • Rawal Sahal Singh (1651 – 1661)
    • Assists Emperor Shah Jahan in his Peshawar campaign.
  • Maharawal Amar Singh(1661 – 1702)
  • Maharawal Jaswant Singh(1702 – 1708)
  • Maharawal Budha Singh(1708 – 1722)
  • Maharawal Akhai Singh (1722 – 1762)
    • Concluded peace with Bikaner.
  • Maharawal Mulraj Singh II (1762 – 1819)
    • Signed treaty of friendship with the British for protection.
  • Maharawal Gaj Singh(1819 – 1846)
  • Maharawal Ranjit Singh (1846 – 1864)
  • Maharawal Bairisal Singh (1864 – 1891)
  • Maharawal Shalivahan Singh III Bahadur(1891 – 1914)
  • Maharawal Sir Jawahir Singh Bahadur (1914 – 1949)

Historical Places of Jaisalmer:

Akal Wood Fossil Park:akal-wood-fossil-park

Akal Wood Fossil Park is a fossil park where stood a forest 180 millions years ago. Then the area submersed in to the sea and the tree trunks got preserved in the form of fossils. The fossils are said to represent non-flowering plants and provide a clue to the age of the deposition of sediments.

Jaisalmer Fort:jaisalmer-fort

Also called as Golden Fort or “Sonar Kila”, it is a world heritage site. It was built in 1156 AD by  Rawal Jaisal and stands on  Trikuta Hill ( the tripple peaked hill ) among an undulating sea of sand.  The fort is built in Sandstone, protected by high walls, approachable through four successive gates, the Akhaiy Pol, the Ganesh Pol, the Suraj Pol and the Hawa Pol.

Patwon Ki Haveli:patwon-ki-haveli

One of the most exquisite buildings in the walled city, which truly exemplifies the architectural style typical of erstwhile Rajputana. It is five storeys high and the extensive corridors and chambers are supported by intricately carved pillars.While the haveli has lost some of its early glory, a few paintings and mirror work art can still be seen on the inside walls.

Nathmal ki Haveli:nathmal

Carved by Lalu and Hathi, two brothers for the Prime Minister of State, Nathmalji in 19th century. The most interesting fact is that the brothers worked separately, one on the right side and other on the left side, the result is a absolute symphony epitomizing the side by side symmetry during construction. The haveli is richly carved and the inner chambers are decorated with miniature paintings.

Salim Singh ki Haveli

salimsinghThis haveli was built in the first half of the 18th century by Salim Singh, a powerful Chief Minister of Jaisalmer and a part of it is still occupied by descendants of the original residents. The high arched roof is supported by carved brackets designed in the shape of peacocks.The five stroryed structure dominates the skyline of the walled city due to its form.  The haveli begins with a narrow dimension below with an elaborate projecting balcony on the top storey. It is distinguished by the blue cupola roof.

BaraBaghbarbagh

Literally meaning Big Garden. This garden complex houses chhatris or royal cenotaphs of the Maharajas of Jaisalmer state, including that of Jai Singh II. The location of the garden is such that it offers wonderful sunset vistas to tourists.

Kuldhara:

84 medieval villages were abandoned by the Paliwal Brahmins overnight. The two most prominent of them are Kuldhara and Khabha, located about 18 and 30 kilometres respectively from the southwest of Jaisalmer. The ruins of Kuldhara and Khabha are fine examples of architectural excellence of that era and are a treat for shutterbugs.

Ludarwa:

ludarwaLudarwa is also known as ancient Capital of Jaisalmer, but it is more famous for the Jain temples and Kalp Vraksh (The wish tree). The architecture and carving on the stones is faboulus. This place is having very high relegious values for the Jain community the Lidrwa is among there main relegious places. every year somany Jain peoples come to here for their worship. The wole temple is having very fine carving on every piece of stone used to construct the temple.

Tanot Mata Mandir:

Tanot Mata Temple is located 120 kms from Jaisalmer HQ. Tanot Mata is considered to be a reincarnation of Goddess Hinglaj. There are tales, that during the 1965 India-Pakistan war, Tanot was under heavy attack and shelling. However, none of the shells or bombs fired at the temple exploded.

Fairs & Festivals of Jaisalmer:

The fairs and festivals reflect the multi facets of the rich Rajasthani culture. The major festivals celebrates are Holi, Dussehra, Ram Navami, Diwali, Gangaur, Teej and Basant Panchami, Muharram and the two Eids.

Desert Festival:desert-fest

Organised by the Department of Tourism around January-February, the Desert Festival is the best place to enjoy rich and colorful Rajasthani folk culture. The high points of the festival are puppeteers, acrobats, camel races, camel polo, folk dances, etc.It has, on display, some of the most fondly preserved components of Rajasthan’s rich culture including fire dancers and Gair dancers of Barmer. The Sunset desert safari at Sam dunes is a special attraction for tourist.

Gangaur Festival:gangaur

Gangaur is widely celebrated in the entire state of Rajasthan and Jaisalmer too celebrates the festival with huge fervor. Watch women dressed in the most vibrant colors and singing traditional songs during this 18-day festival.  Longing for a husband like Lord Shiva, unmarried women worship Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Idols are decorated during this festival and later immersed in water on the last day of the festival.

Ramdevra Fair:

Ramdevra Temple is located 12 kilometres from Pokhran on the Jodhpur – Jaisalmer route. It is dedicated to renowned saint Baba Ramdevji. Between August and September, a large fair known as Ramdevra Fair is held here, and it attracts large numbers of devotees who sing devotional songs all night long.

Geography of Jaisalmer:

Jaisalmer District, a part of the Great Indian Thar Desert, is sandy, dry and scorched. The terrain around, within a radius of about 60 kms is stony and rocky. The area is barren, undulating with its famous sand dunes and slopes towards the Indus valley and the Runn of Kutch.

In the vicinity of Jaisalmer town the sand is stony containing numerous rocky ridges & hard undulating plains formed of limestone and sand stone. There is no single perennial river in the district. However with the construction of Indira Gandhi canal the northern part of the district has become green & irrigated.

Natural Places of Jaisalmer:

Desert National Park:

desert-npThe Desert National Park displays the best of the Thar desert’s ecosystem and its varied wildlife. The Park is formed of undulating sand dunes, jagged rocks, dense salt lake bottoms and inter-medial areas. Various species of animals such as black buck, chinkara and desert fox inhabit the Park. The highly endangered Great Indian Bustard, one of the world’s heaviest flying birds, can also be seen here. In winter, the park hosts an incredible variety of migratory raptors such Himalayan and Eurasian Griffon Vultures, Eastern Imperial Eagle, and the Saker Falcon.

Gadsisar Lake:gadisagar

Gadsisar Lake was constructed in the 14th century by Maharawal Gadsi Singh to meet the water needs of his arid lands. Considering its importance, many small temples and shrines were constructed around it, transforming it into a pilgrimage centre and a tourist attraction.

Amar Sagar Lake:

amarsagarlakeAmar Sagar is a small and beautiful lake cum Oasis, adjacent to a 17th Century palace called the Amar Singh Palace. Maharawal Akhai Singh built this palace in honor of one of his predecessors Amar Singh. Next to the palace are pavilions with a large stairs leading down to the Amar Sagar Lake.

Natural Resources/ Minerals of Jaisalmer:

Jaisalmer district is renowned for its mineral wealth. It occupies a significant position on the mineral map of the state. It possesses a wide range of mineral resources and offers considerable potential for further.

With the discovery of steel grade limestone and cement grade limestone the district has come into limelight. Jaisalmer has also shown positive evidence of Hydro carbon accumulation (Natural Gas). The description of minerals occurring in the district is given below:

GYPSUM

  • In Jaisaimer district gypsum deposits are reported in Mohangarh, Phalsund, Ghandan, Nokh, Nachana,Satta, Sundra and Lakha Khadar areas.
  • Most of the gypsum deposit of the district are just surface deposits and are won by open cast mining method. \

SELENITE

  • Selenite is used in manufacture of plaster of Paris.
  • It occurs at Mohangarh, Hamir-wali-Dhani, Lakhera, Ramgarh, Bandha, Biprasar, Khuiala and Rupsi.

BENTONITE

  • Occurrences of bentonite are reported near Khuiala, Mandha, Khuri, Habur, Mandai, Ramgarh villages.

FULLERS EARTH

  • Its occurrences are associated with Khuiala limestone at Khuiala and Mandha areas of the district.
  • Other occurrences are. reported near Ramgarh, Sanu and Dhol-ki-Dungari.

WHITE CLAYS

  • White clays are found in Kita and Devikot area in the district.

SILICEOUS EARTH

  • Siliceous earth is regarded as an excellent filtering aid for colloidal solid solution like Beverage, Fruit juice Syrups, Oils (Vegitable oils & Mineral oil), Antibiotic products, water treatment to remove amoebic cysts and blood fluke larves, drugs and other pharmaceuticals items are all filtered through silicious earth.
  • It can be used as filler in paper, rubber, paints and plastic, as carrier of disinfectant like D.D.T. as admixture in pozzolana cement
  • It occurs in Jaisalmer district, at Dharivi, Khurd, Mandai, Sajeet Mimbla .  ,

GLASS SAND

  • The deposits are reported from Lathi, Devikot and Pithal in Jaisalmer district.

DOLOMITIC CLAY

  • White fine grained dolomitic clay having good plasticity is found near village Chacha and, Udhaniya.
  • The clay is quite useful as filler in paper, textiles and paint industry.

YELLOW OCHRE

  • Small deposits of Yellow Ochre occur near Mandai with thickness of the bed varying from 0.25 to 0.39 mts.
  • It is useful for painting of houses.

ROCK PHOSPHATE

  • Phosphorite or rock phosphate has been located at Birmania and Fatehgarh.

JASPAR

  • It is a cryptocrystaline variety of Quartz and occur near village Chacha, Ramdevera & Pokaran.
  • The colour is red to yellow.
  • It is used as an abrassive for preparation of emery stone and emery paper.

VOLCANIC ASH

  • Volcanic ash deposits are located near village Phalsund, Dantal, Fulasar, Swami-ji-ki-Dhani etc.
  • It is light green to yellowish in colour.
  • At the temp. of  around 1300°C it changes to molten glass which can be used for manufacture of various type of glass wares, glass sheets etc.

YELLOW MARBLE

  • Jaisalmer is popularly known as golden city because fortress and residential buildings are build of yellow fine grained limestone.
  • This limestone is used as marble by cutting and polishing it as tiles. A
  • t present it is being quarried near Mool sagar, Amarsagar, Chundi, Bhagata, Wajron ki Dhani and Cipla etc.

STEEL GRADE LIMESTONE

  • Steel Grade Limestone occurs near Sanu Habur, Khuiala, Hema­ki-dhani, Nibya, Jethaa, Joshiowala gaon etc. villages

CEMENT GRADE LIMESTONE

  • Jaisalmer is endowed with high reserves of cement grade limestone.
  • Limestone occuring in Jaisalmer formation is yellowish, massive & occurs near Jaisalmer, South of Moolsagar, Hamera, Amarsagar etc.
  • In the Khuiala formation SMS grade limestone is found at top followed by cement grade limestone.

GRANITE

  • Jalore Siwana Grariite Suitable for block mining is exposed near Lakha, Randha, Mehron-ki-Dhani, Madli, Kohera.
  • This granite is medium grained brick red in colour, occurring as scattered outcrop in plains.

MINERAL FUEL

  • Attempts to explore hydrocarbons in Rajasthan dates back to 1956. ONGC has been carrying out investigation for oil and gas since 1962.
  • Nine gas fields have been identified near Manhar Tibba, Ghoataru, Bakhri, Khartor, Bantua, Tanot & Ramgarh.
  • A gas based power plant of 35 MW capacity has been set up in Ramgarh and is producing electricity.

Population:

  • According to the 2011 census Jaisalmer district has a population of 6,72,008.
  • The district has a population density of 17 inhabitants per square kilometer.