Jaisalmer is a breathtaking heritage city that lies in the heart of the Thar Desert near Rajasthan's remote western border, surrounded by sand dunes. Jaisalmer would be just any Rajasthani town but, looming over the city, towering nearly 100 metres over the city and apparently rising out of the desert haze, is the spectacular golden Jaisalmer Fort. Made of yellow sandstone, the fort inspires wonder at its beauty like perhaps none other in India. It has the appearance of a giant sandcastle shimmering in the desert heat like a mirage that will soon disappear. Contrary to expectation though, the Jaisalmer Fort is a living breathing entity. The fort actually functions as intended, and is still the site of an entire living area, home to a quarter of the city's population. Jaisalmer offers a unique travel experience with it's heritage sites and magnificent sand dunes. This heritage city is a must see destination.
The well-known Desert Festival in Jaisalmer is held in January/February. It is the most popular festival of Jaisalmer, which draws large crowds of participants from far and near. This festival is a three-day extravaganza of colour, music and gaiety; snake charmers, puppeteers, ‘Gair’ and fire dancers sway to the rhythms of traditional tunes. The festival culminates in a grand finale at the dunes in Sam, where it ends with a nightlong celebration around campfires.
Shopping in Jaisalmer is all about buying intricately carved wooden boxes, brassware, textiles, woven rugs and blankets, ethnic silver jewellery, leather bags, hand embroidered slippers and slip-ons called mojris and jootis are a specialty of the region. Visitors look for beautiful mirror work and embroidered articles, traditional rugs, blankets and shawls in typical Rajasthani colours of bright greens, vivid blues and oranges and shocking pinks. The shopping places in Jaisalmer are inside the Fort and include the Rajasthani Government Emporium as well as the Khadi Gramodyog Emporium. The Urmul Cooperative eliminates middlemen and sources handicrafts straight from artisans, with benefits and profits also going to them. Urmul workers make cotton and wool dhurries and rugs, woodcarvings, vegetable dye block prints on furnishings, mirror work and patchwork items.
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