India, a land of myriad colours and cultures, boasts a rich tapestry of cities, each with its unique charm and historical significance. Among these cities, there is one that stands out for its mesmerizing golden hue, earning it the well-deserved title of the “Golden City of India.”
Jaisalmer, located in the western state of Rajasthan, is a city that seems to emerge from the pages of a fairy tale, with its golden sandstone architecture, a rich history steeped in valour and trade, and an undeniably unique charm. In this article, we will dig into the enchanting world of Jaisalmer, exploring its history, culture, architecture, and the many reasons why it is revered as the Golden City of India.
Which city is known as the Golden City of India
Jaisalmer’s history dates back to the 12th century when it was founded by Maharawal Jaisal Singh, a Rajput chieftain. The city’s strategic location at the crossroads of important trade routes made it a significant trading hub. Merchants travelling along the Silk Route stopped in Jaisalmer to replenish their supplies and seek refuge from the harsh desert conditions.
The Rajputs, known for their valour and chivalry, played a vital role in shaping Jaisalmer’s history. The city was part of the Rajput kingdom of Marwar, with its capital at Jodhpur. Jaisalmer became a crucial outpost on the western frontier, serving as a defence against invasions from neighbouring regions.
Jaisalmer’s strategic importance led to the construction of a formidable fort that would later become an iconic symbol of the city. This fort, known as Jaisalmer Fort or Sonar Quila, was constructed in the 12th century and is a prime example of Rajasthani architecture. The fort’s golden sandstone walls earned Jaisalmer its nickname, “The Golden City.”
|Location||Western state of Rajasthan, India|
|Founding Year||12th century|
|Nickname||The Golden City of India|
|Unique Feature||Extensive use of yellow sandstone in construction, giving the city its golden hue|
|Historical Sites||1. Jaisalmer Fort (Sonar Quila) |
2. Patwon Ki Haveli
3. Jain Temples
4. Gadisar Lake
|Natural Beauty||Sam Sand Dunes, Thar Desert|
|Cultural Heritage||1. Folk Music and Dance |
2. Handicrafts and Textiles
3. Traditional Rajasthani Cuisine
|Tourism Industry||Major economic contributor, with a wide range of accommodations and desert safaris|
|Challenges||Waste management, water scarcity, and environmental sustainability|
|Notable Festival||Diwali, Desert Festival|
|UNESCO World Heritage Site||Jaisalmer Fort|
|Famous Dishes||Dal Baati Churma, Ker Sangri, Gatte ki Sabzi|
The City’s Golden Hue: The Golden City of India
What sets Jaisalmer apart from other cities in India is its unique golden colour, which is a result of the extensive use of yellow sandstone in its construction. The sandstone, quarried from the nearby Thar Desert, has a warm, golden hue that shimmers in the sunlight, giving the city its unmistakable golden glow. This architectural choice was not only aesthetic but also practical, as the sandstone helps keep the buildings cool during the scorching desert summers.
Jaisalmer Fort, the crowning jewel of the city, epitomizes this golden hue. Its massive walls, rising high above the desert landscape, are built from the same yellow sandstone, creating a majestic and imposing sight. The city’s houses, temples, and havelis (traditional Rajasthani mansions) also feature intricate carvings and beautiful facades that showcase the sandstone’s unique charm.
Architecture and Landmarks of the Golden City of India
Jaisalmer Fort (Sonar Quila):
The Jaisalmer Fort is the city’s most iconic landmark and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is one of the largest fully preserved fortified cities in the world and houses a bustling population within its walls. The fort’s architecture is a beautiful fusion of Rajput and Islamic styles, characterized by intricate stone carvings, Jain temples, palaces, and narrow winding streets. Visitors can explore the various havelis and enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding desert from its ramparts.
Patwon Ki Haveli:
A visit to Jaisalmer is incomplete without exploring Patwon Ki Haveli, a collection of five grand havelis built by a wealthy trader named Guman Chand Patwa in the 19th century. These Havelis are renowned for their stunning architecture, featuring finely detailed facades, intricately carved balconies, and ornate arches. Each haveli has a unique charm, and the Patwon Ki Haveli complex offers a glimpse into the opulent lifestyle of the traders of yesteryears.
Jain Temples of The Golden City of India
Jaisalmer is home to a number of exquisitely carved Jain temples that are located within Jaisalmer Fort. The most famous among them is the Chandraprabhu Jain Temple, dedicated to the 8th Tirthankara of Jainism. The temple’s interiors are adorned with intricate carvings and depict scenes from Jain mythology. The peaceful ambience and architectural beauty of these temples make them must-visit attractions in Jaisalmer.
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FAQ on Which city is known as the Golden City of India
Question 1. What is the Golden City of India?
Answer. The Golden City of India is a nickname for Jaisalmer, a city located in the western state of Rajasthan known for its golden sandstone architecture and rich history.
Question 2. Why is Jaisalmer called the Golden City?
Answer. Jaisalmer is called the Golden City due to the extensive use of yellow sandstone in its construction, which gives the city its distinctive golden hue when illuminated by sunlight.
Question 3. Where is Jaisalmer located?
Answer. Jaisalmer is located in the state of Rajasthan, India, in the heart of the Thar Desert.
Question 4. What is the historical significance of Jaisalmer?
Answer. Jaisalmer has a rich history dating back to the 12th century when it was founded by Maharawal Jaisal Singh. It played a significant role as a trading hub and served as a defence outpost on the western frontier.