Most would pass Jaisalmer as ‘just another desert’, but it is much more than that. The vast emptiness of the Thar Desert resonates when a heartbroken Sameer longs for Nandini in ‘Tadap Tadap’. The heritage and the ambience of Jaisalmer is unlike any other city.
Jaisalmer is a World Heritage Site. The town stands on a ridge of yellowish sandstone, crowned by a fort, which contains the palace and several metaphorical Jain temples.
One is lost in the sublimity of the breathtaking location of Bada bagh where Nandini and Sameer dream of their marriage or the Golden Jaisalmer Fort where Nandini and Sameer romance on ‘Albela Sajan’. Heritage, folklore and soulful music; this sandy town has much more to offer than mere sand dunes.
The Filmy Lens: Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam
The romantic love triangle haunts its viewers well after the movie has ended. An unforgettable movie with an equally unforgettable music, this movie needs no introduction. Sameer (Salman) comes all the way from Italy to train in classical music under the tutelage of Vikram Gokhale. In the due course of his training he gets acquainted and falls in love with Nandini (Aishwarya), Vikram Gokhale’s daughter. But the ‘gharana’ is set against this union and wretch them apart. Sameer gets thrown out of the ‘gharana’ and Nandini is forced to marry Vanraj (Ajay). Unable to stay without Sameer, Nandini attempts suicide after her marriage. The understanding and ever patient Vanraj, decides to re-unite Sameer and Nandini after he discovers her sad story. Vanraj takes Nandini to Italy to find Sameer. When finally Vanraj unites Sameer with Nandini, she has a change of heart and retreats her step back to a husband who loves and knows her well. Sameer is left behind which still make the audience’s hearts bleed.
Jaisalmer Fort, Jaisalmer
Scene: the song: Albela Sajan
This fort often elicits collective gasps as it is one of the largest of its kind in the world. Built in 1156 by Rao Jaisal, this magnificent structure royally stands in the heart of the city which is often crowded with tourists form every part of the world. Built in the historical and beautiful Thar Desert, the sandstone fort walls winks magnificently at different times of the day depending on the location of the sun and has thereby attained the nickname “Golden Fort”. The locals call it “Sonar Quilla” .The beige and gold washed desert and fort walls and the stark blue sky canopying the desert would leave one spellbound. And if huge walls erected for safety is what comes to your mind, this fort is anything like that. It takes only one look at the Merchant Havelis and Raj Mahal to change the concept of a fort altogether. Jain Temple, Laxminath temple and the likes would tell you this is no ordinary fort.
Gadi Sagar Lake
Scene: The song: Albela sajan
If forts bore you, then this water boy near the fort is an escape route for you. This lake is as old as the fort and at one time was the sole source of water supply to the fort. A manmade wonder this was constructed by the very first ruler of Jaislamer, Raja Rawal Jaisal. And prepare yourself to find a lake which is as big a ‘sagar’ as its name mentions. It is flanked with Temples, Shrines, Chattris and Ghats at all side. One has to walk through an artistic ach way to make one’s way to the lake. A photographers paradise, you can take stroll, enjoy a boat ride, watch the sun set or sunrise, go bird watching or simply do nothing, but just take it all in. The best time to catch the lake in action is during the annual Gaggaur celebration, the city buzzes with an unseen energy and has a lot to offer during this time.
Bada Bagh, Jaisalmer
Scene: Salman and Aishwarya dream of their marriage
This ‘Big Garden’ is much bigger than big. 6 kilometres away from the city, this garden was commissioned to be built by Maharawal Jait Singh but its completion was seen by his son. The garden boasts of of course a garden and a tank and a dam come in complementary. The dam is called the Jait Bandh and the tank is called the Jaist Sar and it is believed it is named after the man who built it. And these are not all; one can discover a lot of other monuments in the vicinity of the garden. There are magnificent ‘chattris’ i.e. cenotaph which has been erected for respective rulers. This tradition finally ended when a royalty died a mysterious death.
Other locations in Jaisalmer
Khuri Sand Dunes
Though the moive may not have covered it all, but you can! The Khuri sand dunes is one such place, 42 kilometres away from the city this is spectacular region just about perfect for a camel ride. It lets you experience Rajasthan at one glance. The colours , the huts, the straw roofs, the winding narrow streets, the bazaar, the faint smell of cow dung and the pride which the city emanates, the sand dunes lets you experience it all. And when the sights bore you, then catch the Kalbeliya Dancers in action and gorge on some rich Rajasthani cuisine.
Sam Sand Dunes
Just another sand dune at first sight, but caters a different experience when tried. Jump unto a camel caravan and be drenched in sights. The monotonous patterns which the wind makes on the golden sand, the caramel colour throughout, the tinkle and whistle, the random folk performances; be prepared to be bombarded with visuals and experiences uniquely beautiful.
This magnificent Jain temple is a must visit. Make a wish near the legendary Kalpataru tree near the temple. The Lodurva ruins near the temple complex are equally charming. You may bump into a peacock in its full splendour while out in the ruins (which happens once too often). The architecture of the temple and the ambience fascinates its visitors. It also has a romantic past which claims the great prince Mathendru of Amarkot fell in love with princess Momal on the banks of the River Kak which is believed to have flowed through the ruins at that time and eventually dried up once the lovers perished.
Other locations covered in the movie worth a visit
Other movies shot in Jaisalmer
Rangeela,Gupt, Border, Rudali, Dor, Lamhe and many more have been drawn to this magical city.
Haveli: Patavon-ki-Haveli should be at the topmost place to see on your list. This is a must must visit. Tazia tower, Khaba Fort, Salim Singh ki Haveli, explore them all. They are capture worthy and beautiful in their own rights. The sandstone structures intricately carved and coyly blinking when the sun beats down would entrance you.
Museums: Jaisalmer teems with museums; a visit to a few is a must. Thar Heritage museum, Desert Cultural Centre and Museum, Silk Route Art Gallery are some to name a few.
Visiting a royal city with a rich culture and heritage and doing nothing would be a matter of shame.
Just for once live like a king in a kingly city.
Explore the city: Set out to explore the city. By foot, on camel, by a vehicle, by whichever means of transport, but explore it all. The city has a lot to offer and if you have time by your side, then try it all.
Food: The royalties know how to eat right, so dig into the royal platter. A plate loaded with spices and treat for meat lovers (vegetarians blame the scarcity of water) , Rajasthani food is delightful and filling. Haven for meat lover, a vegetarian is also pleased well with ker saangri, unique dishes made of desert beans and capers and the likes. When in Jaisalmer treat that sweet tooth with gram flour ‘ladoo’.
Ghost hunting: You may not get this opportunity ever again. Home to one of the most haunted places in the world, tourists live to set out on a ghost hunt. Kulhara is one such town which is believed to be haunted. The villages here would recollect eerie tales which would chill your bones. The mystery of an entire village which went missing has tagged this village to be haunted.
Shop: If you love bling the head to Hari Om jewellery. No guide is needed to guide you through this city which teems with shops. Colours, cloths, morajari, bling, you will fall in love with merchandises.
By air: The nearest airport is in Jodhpur which is 300 km away. After flying to Jodhpur one can hire a cab or take a train to Jaisalmer.
By rail: If you can afford to travel like a king then hop on the Palace on Wheels or else hop on to any Indian Railway train Jaisalmer bound in Delhi.
By road: State run transportation buses and private buses often traverse a journey from Jodhpur, Bikaner, Ahamdabad , Jalore ,Mount Abu etc. The roads are excellently maintained (perks of being located near the border)
Best time to visit
Where to stay
Stay in the middle of the desert in a tent like a sheikh in The Serai Jaisalmer
Travel back in time and live in brick styled room in Suryagarh