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Perched in the heart of the Thar Desert (literal meaning abode of the dead), Jaisalmer Fort upsurges like a mirage from the golden sands, with its huge lookout tower pointing skywards. Built in 1156, Jaisalmer is the second oldest of Rajasthan's major forts after Chittorgarh & is one of the largest of desert forts of the world. The fort was built on the triangular shaped Trikuta hill, 76 m above the town in the 17th century. It is enclosed by a 9m wall with 99 bastions. Within this Rajput fort is a series of palaces, the product of successive generations of rulers.

Jaisalmer Fort is a monument worth visiting and worth retaining in your conscious mind. Made of sand stones and locally known as Sonar Quila (the Golden Fort), the Jaisalmer Fort is a dominating structure amidst sands. The Golden Fort is so called for its exquisite golden hue that reflects the aura of setting sun on its ramparts. Incidentally "Sonar Quila" is a Bengali (my mother tongue) name, coined & made famous by a film of the same name by one of India’s foremost film directors, Satyajit Ray.

Two hundred and fifty feet tall and reinforced by imposing crenellated sandstone wall 30 feet high; the Fort has 99 bastions, 92 of which were built between 1633 and 1647. Wells within the fort still provide a regular source of water. Even today, nearly one fourth of the old city's population resides within the fort, making Jaisalmer Fort the world's only living fort.

Interestingly some round stones are still kept on the ramparts, and you can see quite a few of them in the picture. These were part of the medieval defense system ready to throw down on enemy attackers. The steep cobblestone pathway leading to the royal palace passes through four gates-Akhai Pole (Ganesh Pole), Suraj Pole, Bhuta Pole and Hawa Pole. Sharp turns on the road topped by high defence gateways made it invincible. The hanging clothes in the FG are finely embroidered bed sheets, which lapped up as souvenirs by tourists!

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Additional Photos by Angshuman Chatterjee (Angshu) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 7851 W: 324 N: 16060] (56760)
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