13 June 2024

Jaiselmer Fort: Grand desert fort with a blowing custom in Rajasthan, India

Jaisalmer Fort is in Jaisalmer city of Rajasthan. It is one of the very few “living forts” in the world as nearly one-fourth of the old city’s population still resides within the fort. The fort was the city of Jaisalmer in 800 years of history. The first adjustment in the outside part of fort walls, to accommodate the growing population of Jaisalmer, is said to have come up in the 17th century. Jaisalmer Fort is the second oldest fort in Rajasthan. It was built in 1156 AD by the Rajput ruler Rawal Jaisal and was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in the year 2013.

Architecture & design:

The fort is 1,500 ft (460 m) long and 750 ft (230 m) wide and is built on a hill that raises above a height of 250 ft (76 m) above the surrounding countryside. The base of the fort has a 15 ft (4.6 m) tall wall forming the fort’s outermost ring, within its triple ringed defence architecture. The fort’s upper bastions or towers form a defensive inner-wall perimeter that is about 2.5 mi (4.0 km) long. The fort now incorporates 99 bastions, of which 92 were built or substantially rebuilt between the period of 1633-47. The fort also has four fortified entrances or gates from the townside, one of which was once guarded by cannon.

Places to see in Jaiselmer Fort:
  • Gateways: There are four beautifully carved gates that lead into the fort, namely the Akhai Pol, Suraj Pol, Ganesh Pol, and Hawa Pol. The gates are placed in a strategic manner to confuse incoming armies and unwanted visitors in the past.
  • Raj Mahal Palace: It was residence of the former Maharawal or ruler of Jaisalmer.
  • Fort museum: Get to know more about the history of the fort and of the city of Jaisalmer in the Fort Museum. It houses displays of items significant to Jaisalmer’s heritage like armory, gold and silver pieces, sculptures, and other interesting artifacts.
  • Jain Temples: Inside Jaisalmer Fort, there are 7 Jain temples built by yellow sandstone during 12-16th century. The temple has more than 600 idols with many old scriptures. Chopra Panchaji built Ashtapadh temple inside the fort.
  • Laxminath temple: It is dedicated to the worship of the gods Lakshmi and Vishnu.
History:
  • Jaisalmer fort was built by Rawal Jaisal, a Bhati Rajput, in 1156 CE.
  • Around 1293-94 CE, Rawal Jethsi faced an eight to nine-year siege by Sultan Alauddin Khalji of Delhi. For a few years after the successful siege, the fort remained abandoned, before being eventually reoccupied by some surviving Bhatis.
  • During Rawal Lunakaran’s reign, around 1530 – 1551 CE, the fort was attacked by an Afghan chief Amir Ali. The army of Jaisalmer became victorious in its defence of the fort.
  • In 1541 CE, Rawal Lunakaran also fought Mughal emperor Humayun when attacked the fort. Mughals controlled the fort till 1762.
  • The fort remained under the control of Mughals until 1762 when Maharawal Mulraj took control of the fort.
  • The treaty between the East India Company and Mulraj on 12 December 1818 allowed the Mulraj to retain control of the fort and provided for protection from invasion. After the death of Mulraj in 1820, his grandson Gaj Singh inherited control of the fort.

Nitesh Kumar Singh

Technical content writer l Website developer

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