A trip to Rajasthan is not complete without spending a few days in Jaisalmer. Located at the heart of Thar Desert, the Jaisalmer forts and desert are the prime attractions of this city. The presence of these have often stereotyped Jaisalmer tourism options. What if we tell you to skip the forts and visit other unique attractions of this city! By doing so, you can embark on a trip through some incredible spots, that will enthral you and make you sigh – “why didn’t I think this before?”
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Unique tourist places of Jaisalmer
Tanot Mata Mandir
Karni Mata is the main deity at this ancient temple. It is located close to the Indo-Pak international border. The Tanot Mata temple has now become a famous tourist spot, with many tourists taking time off to visit this much revered temple. But why is this temple so revered? As the story goes, during the 1965 Indo-Pak war this temple became a hot target. There were around 3,000 bombs dropped to destroy the temple, but not a single bomb exploded and the Tanot Mata Mandir miraculously remained undamaged! Later during the 1971 war, holding this temple as the good luck charm of Indian forces, the Pakistan Tank regiment was tasked at demolishing this temple. But this time the tanks got stuck in the sand and were destroyed by the Indian Air Force instead. One of the major attractions at the temple are the unexploded bombs that have been kept inside the temple.
- Timings: 6 AM to 6 PM
- Tip: As the temple is situated in a remote area, you may not receive any mobile signals here.
Longewala War Memorial
Longewala Post served as the venue for fierce battles during 1971 Indo-Pak war. It was right at this place that 120 brave Indian soldiers decided to resist the Pakistan military. They fought against the entire Pakistani Tank Regiment. The brave Indian soldiers were ultimately able to not only stall the progress but also defeat the Pakistani regiment. Longewala War Museum is located towards to the western side of Jaisalmer and within an hour’s driving distance from Tanot Mata temple. The road to this post is enjoyable as you pass through the desert stretches with sand dunes. During the Longewala Post visit, tourists can take pictures and even climb on the Pakistani Army trucks and tanks that have been preserved at this place. You can also ride jeeps and hide into the bunkers that were made for the army personnel, all of which provide a unique experience.
- Timings: Memorial is open 24 hours every day.
- Tip: Before starting the journey, make sure your vehicle has enough fuel as there are no refuelling facilities on the road.
Can you imagine a beautiful lake in the middle of a desert? Well, Jaisalmer is privileged to have one and it is known as Gadisar Lake. Recalling the Gadisar Lake history it can be found that the lake was constructed by the king of Jaisalmer, Maharwal Gadsi Singh in 1400 AD to supply water to the city. The king’s vision was to use water from this lake only in extreme situations and not for everyday water needs. Today, this lake has become a haven for many rare species of migratory birds.
- Gadisar Lake Timings: The Lake is open 24 hours every day.
- Best time to visit: During the winter season, the lake is filled with many rare species of birds.
- Tip: Do not forget to carry your DSLR along; you may otherwise miss out on some memorable shots.
Alright! Kuldhara village in Rajasthan is not a place for the soft hearted because Kuldhara and its adjoining 85 villages are claimed to be cursed and are known as one of the most scariest places in India. Few centuries ago Kuldhara, in Jaisalmer was a crowded village inhabited by the Paliwal Brahmins, who were the richest among the locals. It is believed that in 1825 Zalim Singh, the Diwan (prime-minister) of the Jaisalmer province, approached the village chieftain with the intention of marrying his daughter. When the chieftain refused, Zalim Singh started torturing the villagers and applied heavy taxes on them. Many died of such atrocities and the Paliwal community were forced to leave the village. But before they went, they cursed the village and ever since the haunted Kuldhara has remained as uninhabited.
- Tip: Do not even think of staying behind at this village after sunset.
Sam Sand Dunes
If you like the desert safari then a visit to Sam Sand Dunes (situated 40 KM away from Jaisalmer city) is a must. This place allows you to spend some quality time away from the chaos of the city and feel the ecstasy of nature. Go for a Sam Sand Dunes desert safari on camel back and see the beautiful sand dunes in the outskirts of Jaisalmer. You can spend the whole night in a Sam Sand Dunes camp and enjoy the traditional Rajasthani food with excellent folk music.
- Activities: Camel safari, Sam Sand Dunes jeep safari, dune surfing
- Best time to visit: Before the sunset, between 4 to 6 P.M.
- Tip: Do bargain for the prices as well as location of the tents.
So, do not stereotype your trip to Jaisalmer anymore, visit some or all of these unique tourist attractions.