Jaisalmer is by far the most amazing of Rajasthan's fort towns...its built in yellow sandstone and people actually live in the fort..so its refered to as `The Golden Living Fort'!
Built in 1156 AD by the Bhati Rajput ruler Rao Jaisal, the city gets its name from him....this used to be an important part of the ancient trading routes that linked India to Persia and Egypt.
The fortress is beautiful...and Golden...a guide took us around...and he explained how the kings lived here in the olden times and nothing existed beyond the fort walls.
Just Brahmins and Rajputs live here as they were the ones brought here by the Rajpur rulers - the Brahmins to perform the pujas and the Rajputs to fight the battles.
People here have some fascination for films...even as I stood simply awed at the marvel that Jaisalmer is..our guide explained how Satyajit Ray made a film based on this fortress called `Sonar Kella' or `The Golden Fort.'
The film itself is based on a novel which is a mystery thriller about a Bengali boy who can recall his previous life and he sees treasures hidden in a golden fort...what follows are kidnappings, suspense, greed and disappoinment.
I know Bengalis love all things golden but if I was a film director I would not have made a Bengali film here but rather a film on the people living within the fortess...
Satyajit Ray should stick to Sonaar Bongaal ! (Golden Bengal)
The guide also showed us in the distance, "That is the Patwon Ki Haweli...its very beautiful.....they were the tradesmen who were very rich and they also sponsored the wars fought by the kings here..."
And we could see large boulders perched at the fort ridges ready to be pushed at enemies below...but it is said boiling oil and water also formed a part of the forts defences.
The fort was captured by Alauddin Khilji and remained in captivity for 9 years and the Rajput women killed themselves at the time...later Mughal ruler Humayun also captured the fort.
Even in ancient India Rajasthan defended India like no other region..from the Mongols to the Khiljis to the Mughals...so honour and valour is a part of their landscape.
And this is what I would call a room with a view !
Jaisalmer has some amazing modern palace hotels...the best of them being Suryagarh...the top room rents are Rs.35,000 per night only !
I wish to revisit Jaisalmer but I'd stay at the ancient fortress and watch the sunset over the city below....I imagine by nightfall everything would turn from gold to diamonds !