Jaisalmer is known for its magnificent havelis, golden sandy deserts and its mesmerizing lakes. But what you might not know is that there are innumerous thrilling things to do in Jaisalmer to turn your vacation into a memorable one. With a plethora of monuments, palaces, lakes and not to forget the mighty desert, there is no dearth of exciting things to do in Jaisalmer. From Dune Bashing to Paragliding, Desert Safaris and Camping, you will be overwhelmed by the number and variety of options and activities this place has to offer you. Besides these top things to do in Jaisalmer, you can also visit the majestic havelis, ride a boat, browse the markets and the like... the options are endless. Check from our elaborate list of things to do in Jaisalmer given below.
Here is the list of 31 Things to do in Jaisalmer
Jaisalmer Fort, nestled amid the golden sands of Thar Desert and steeped with rich past and heritage, is not just a fort but a mini-town with houses, temples, shops, and restaurants. Showcasing brilliant craftsmanship, it is one of the most renowned forts in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Standing tall with an impressive height of 450 meters, the Fort offers a stunning panoramic view of Jaisalmer city dripped in yellow where most of the houses and complexes are built of yellow sandstone. Taking a trip to to the magnanimous fort is one of the topmost things to do in Jaisalmer.
On the outskirts of Jaisalmer in the arid state of Rajasthan lies the filled to the brim Gadisar Lake like an oasis in the heart of a desert. Located pretty close to the fort of Jaisalmer, the lake is frequently visited by travellers from all around India as well as foreigners. Gadisar Lake offers scenic views from all sides of the lake, especially when the eastern sky is blood red and the sun rises, striking its rays on the top floors of Jaisalmer Fort. Boating is one of the major attractions here and also one of the best things to do in Jaisalmer.
Jaisalmer is a frequently visited place by tourists. Out of the total number of visitors, almost 95% out of them go for tours of the desert safari. These tours are conducted either in the early morning or during the evening to avoid the scorching heat. Also, after one gets over with the safari tour, they can enjoy a delicious meal alongside gipsy musical dance program which is present at the desert camps at Sam. If anyone visits Jaisalmer, it is like a compulsion to go for desert safari and make the trip, even more, fun and memorable. It is undoubtedly the one of the topmost things to do in Jaisalmer.
Nathmal ki Haveli is an ornate architecture in the heart of the city Jaisalmer which is otherwise known as the land of the Golden Fort. It was commissioned to serve as the residence of the then prime minister Diwan Mohata Nathmal. The extraordinary exteriors dripping with carvings and the virtuoso work of the Haveli (similar on either side but not identical) with two elephants made of limestone guarding the entrance is the sight that every visitor is privileged to see. This is one of the best things to do in Jaisalmer and should definitely be there on your itinerary.
Sam Sand Dunes are visited by those who seek solace away from the conventional site hopping and want to spend some time under the open sky. Here you can experience the real wilderness of the desert and the vibrancy of authentic Rajasthani culture. The dunes are a wavy stretch of golden yellow sand stretching for around 2 kilometres along the borders of the Jaisalmer Desert National Park and offer a very picturesque and unobstructed view of the true expanse of the Great Thar desert. Travellers come here to witness the sunrise and sunset and the brilliant scenery they create over the fast stretches of barren land. Make sure to definitely include this in your top things to do in Jaisalmer.
Dipped in an enchanting shade of yellow, Patwon ki Haveli grabs the attention of every visitor. It is an impressive monument of Jaisalmer as it is the first one to have been erupted. It is also a cluster of 5 Haveli which was believed to be built by Patwa, a wealthy trader who constructed the stories for each of his five sons. The five houses were completed within a span of 60 years in the 19th century. The intricacy of this architecture lies in its exquisite wall paintings, balconies that open to a panoramic view, gateways, arches and most importantly the mirror works on the wall. Make sure to put this in your bucketlist of best things to do in Jaisalmer.
Situated in the Jaisalmer Fort, Jain Temples are a must-visit in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan. The temples, though ancient, have a high religious and ancient knowledge attached to them. Built in the Dilwara style that is famous all over the world for its architecture, these temples are dedicated to Rikhabdevji and Shambhavdev Ji, the famous Jain hermits known as 'Tirthankaras'. Being a significant pilgrimage spot, the Jain Temples are truly a treasure of the Jaisalmer city and a fun place to be at for all those tourists who are interested in history and religion. Be sure to include this in your top things to do in Jaisalmer.
The Amar Sagar lake is an oasis near the palace of Amar Singh. It is adjacent to the 17th-century citadel which was constructed by Maharawal Akhai Singh and is located on the outskirts of Jaisalmer city. Built in the pattern of apartments, the palace complex comprises of number wells and ponds along with chhatris. There are a series of steps and a pavilion beside the palace that leads to the lake. At the far end of the lake, there is an aesthetically carved Jain temple that boasts its fine structure made of Jaisalmer stones. Making a visit here is one of the top things to do in Jaisalmer.
Dune Bashing is one of the most exclusive and unique things to do in Jaisalmer. If you have an adventure streak, this is one activity you should definitely try. You will literally feel your adrenaline rush up when you are rafting through the pits and falls of the majestic golden desert even when you are safely seated in the car with seat belts fastened to you.
Situated at the beautiful Badal Palace complex, the five storey Tazia Tower has its significance in Jaisalmer. Tazia tower is a replica of the mausoleum of various Muslim imams with intricate carvings on the walls of the tombstone that reflects rich ancient art made of thermocol, wood and coloured papers. The Badal Palace near the Amar Sagar Gate has a cloud-like appearance and has the Tazia Tower emerging from it. This tower is entirely different from the usual Rajputana architecture of Rajasthan. Visiting here is one of the best things to do in Jaisalmer.
Whether you are visiting the city for its sand dunes or its Havelis, any trip to Jaisalmer is incomplete without exploring the labyrinths of markets. Browsing the shopping markets is one of the essential things to do in Jaisalmer. The city is very famous for its mirror work embroidery, leather products, jewellery, fossil fuel relics, home decor items etc.
Salim Singh ki Haveli is a beautiful edifice at the heart of the city Jaisalmer. It is one of the major tourist attractions built over the remains of an older haveli in the late 19th century and commissioned by Salim Singh, the then prime minister of the Kingdom. It also holds another beautiful name - Jahaz Mahal as the front facet of the Haveli resembles a ship stern. Created with strong iron rods unlike the ones made of cement and mortar; the mansion is famous for its architectural elegance.
Situated near the town of Jaisalmer, Desert national park is one of the largest of its kind in the country, encompassing an area of 3162 sq kms. The park seems endless and covers a huge area extending from Jaisalmer/Barmer all the way to the India-Pakistan border. The intriguing landmark offers everything one can expect from a desert ecosystem, craggy rocks and compact salt lake bottoms, intermedial areas and fixed dunes. If you want to explore the majestic wildlife at the Desert National Park, then the best way to do so is by going for an adventure-filled jeep safari which will be an entirely new exciting experience and is truly one of the better things to do in Jaisalmer.
Bada Bagh in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan is primarily a cenotaph adjoining a garden, located about 6 kms north of Jaisalmer, on the way to Ramgarh. Bada Bagh, translated literally as 'Big Garden', is a garden complex nestled between Jaisalmer and Lodhruva in Rajasthan. This is a popular site because it is a garden that has the cenotaphs of all the Maharajas and other prestigious family members of Jaisalmer; all royal Rajputs kings of 6 centuries! The single brown desert provides a picturesque landscape for this attraction. In the desolate desert, the peace is like having taken a fistful of tranquillisers- a crypt-quiet atmosphere allowing you to soak in the faintest whirr of the wind as it rumbles the sand.
Established by the Department of Archeology in the year 1984, the Government Museum is a prime tourist attraction of Jaisalmer. It was built to highlight the multifaceted traditional and cultural heritage of the Great Thar Desert. Prominent crowd pleasers of the museum are its paintings, inscriptions, coins, statues of stone, embroidered dresses and handicraft items. A distinctive attribute of the museum is its rich collection of marine and wood fossils, limestone and sandstone that gives insight into the geological era. It also features some rarest sculptures from the 12th century Kiradu and Lodurva townships.
The Mandir Palace a two-century-old architecture is the most elegant heritage hotels in the city of Jaisalmer. The hotel offers an ambience of medieval charm with a glimpse of modern amenities. It is adorned with exquisite stone carvings, ornate balconies, canopies that represent the craftsmanship in its purest form.
Founded by L Narayan Khatri, the Thar Heritage Museum is a historical reservoir. L Narayan was an eminent scholar of the Jaisalmer folklore. The museum not just tells you the times of Jaisalmer but also showcases the rich culture, heritage, folk art and architectural style of Rajasthan. It has a fascinating assortment of Jaisalmer artifacts, fossils, instruments, displays of types of kitchen equipment, turbans, birth & death customs and a lot more. If you are a history buff, be sure to include this in your list of top things to do in Jaisalmer.
Parasailing is one of the most exciting things to do in Jaisalmer. Mostly the desert camps and resorts organize this activity on prior request. The activity offers a breathtaking view of the golden sandy city below and you should definitely try it when in Jaisalmer.
Ramdevra Temple is a sacred temple to the folk deity of Rajasthan - Baba Ramdevji. It is situated 12 kms from Pokhran on Jodhpur to Jaisalmer road. It is believed that Baba Ramdevji took samadhi (conscious exit from the mortal body) at Ramdevra in 1459 AD. After this, the Maharaja Ganga Singh of Bikaner constructed the temple around his Samadhi. The temple is the eternal resting place of Baba Ramdevji, a saint of the 14th century. His worshipers are spread across Rajasthan, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana and Gujarat that cut across caste barriers among Hindus and Muslims.
The golden fort, sand dunes, and the enchanting palaces make Jaisalmer an ideal destination for Camping and Cultural evening. A camping tour is a must on the bucket list of anyone who wishes to dig deeper the real essence of Rajasthan. It is one of the must things to do in Jaisalmer. Many tour providers offer camping along with safaris, parasailing, para motor gliding and so on. Riding a desert camel along the arid landscape is another exciting activity. The evenings are mostly to enjoy the Rajasthani culture with music and dance reflecting the rich cultural heritage.
Vyas Chhatri is the assemblage of golden sandstone, an edifice of Rajasthani architecture. It was dedicated to sage Vyaas, the writer of the 300,000 long epic Mahabharata whose cenotaph is situated on the north of the fort. It is popularly known as the city of sunset point that gives a birds-eye view of Jaisalmer. The carvings and the elevated dome-shaped pavilions are a sight to behold. This elegant architecture of golden-hued sandstone over which the meticulously done intricate carvings is an awe-inspiring picturesque of the city. Watching the city below from the top is one of the best things to do in Jaisalmer.
A ruined citadel situated amidst the scorching Thar Desert is the Khaba Fort. The history of this barren, eerie, mystic village, dates back to the 13th century. The architecture once belonged to the Paliwal Brahmins of the Kuldhara village who fled the town in the 19th century leaving behind a ghost town. The stairs at the fort entrance lead to the focal point of the entire village and the surrounding countryside. A walk through the ramparts and the quiet streets of Kuldhara that stretches from the base of the fort is a spooky experience.
Chandraprabhu Temple is an exemplary Jain temple built in the 16th century. It is one among the seven temples that were constructed for the 8th Tirthankara Jain Prophet Chandraprabhu Ji. Located inside the Golden Fort, it is a symbol of an ancient Rajput style of architecture. The Jain shrine made of red stone is carved in intricate designs with beautiful corridors and curved facades. The interiors form a series of toranas featuring finely sculpted pillars. Making a visit here is one of the best things to do in Jaisalmer for both the city dwellers and tourists.
One of the unique things to do in Jaisalmer, this well-maintained museum is a favorite attraction among the scholars and researchers. Knowledge bank of rich cultural heritage, craftsmanship and artistic talents of Jaisalmer, the museum displays varied collections of traditional instruments, rich collections of ancient and medieval coins, any kinds of utensils and other artifacts and admirable textiles.
The Surya Gate is one of the four entry gates to the 12th century, Jaisalmer Fort. The fort on the Trikuta hill has four successive gates Akai, Surya, Ganesh and Hawa through which the visitors need to pass through. A vital feature of the gate is that it is constructed on a bend, the reason behind building barriers in such a manner is said to stem from military strategies. As elephants were war horses in the ancient era, it took mighty power to break down walls, but with gates situated on a curve, it takes a greater ability to break through.
The majestic Pokhran fort has a huge door with sinister spikes jutting out to stop elephant stampede. It houses a museum displaying armoury, pottery, miniature paintings and costumes worn by the maharajas of the bygone era. Although a small temple made of red sandstone, the fort is dedicated to Goddess Durga. It is situated in a remote region of the Thar desert which also served as a test site for India's first underground nuclear weapon detonations.
The Akal Wood Fossil park is the destination of the prehistoric era. It is located on the Barmer road 17 km away from Jaisalmer city. Akal Wood Fossil Park is the pride of Jaisalmer city; it is the National Geological Monument of India. Spread over 21 hectares of land, the park lies in the region of the potential geological park in Jaisalmer fossil belt. The barren and rocky terrain has about a dozen of fossilized wood logs and exposed tree trunks protected by iron grilled cages and tin sheet roofing.
Quad Biking is another one of the very exciting and thrilling things to do in Jaisalmer. The adrenaline rushing sport offers a surreal ride on what are called the ATV Bikes. The activity is performed under strict guidance and supervision of a professional. You can live your 'heroic' moment trying to capture the vast desert on your high speed bikes.
16 km north-west of Jaisalmer is Lodhruva the ancient capital city of Bhatti dynasty of the 12th century. The old capital of Bhatti Rajput was once a flourishing city until Rawal Jaisal shifted the capital to Jaisalmer city. Although Muslim invaders ransacked the town, the prominent attraction of the city is its architectural ruins. There numerous peacocks around Lodhruva. The mesmerizing peacock dance adds beauty to the ruins. Through the ruins, its cosmopolitan splendor is visible. It is dedicated to the 23rd Jain Tirthankara, Lord Parsvanath who pictures adorn the walls. The yellow sandstone structure is a Jain temple.
Kuldhara Village, located within 20 kilometres from the Golden City Jaisalmer is not always a known name among the tourists, but a little research will show how this is one of the most interesting and intriguing attraction sites that you should absolutely include in your itinerary. The village, rich with its fair share of legends and myths, is said to be a spooky and haunted village. The abandoned and eerily beautiful appearance of it, standing solitary amidst the vast stretches of desert, lives up to its reputation. Kuldhara village is an exciting place to visit just for its architectural beauty and the vibe of history. If you are a fan of offbeat places, make sure to include this in your bucket list of things to do in Jaisalmer.