Jaisalmer like other towns of Rajasthan is centered around a fort - the Jaisalmer Fort which is popularly referred to as Sonar Quila. The majestic fort is located to the south of Jaisalmer on the picturesque Trikut hill. The length of the fort is 457 meter and the breadth is 229 meters.
The Fort was built in 1156 and is one of the oldest forts in Rajasthan rising as it does like a mirage from the surrounding deserts. The Fort was built by Maharaja Jaisal who had the desire to set up a new capital since the former one located at Lodurva was susceptible to enemy incursions.
The fort has 99 towers some of which possess cannons even today. In the Chauhata Square the majestic palaces of Maharawals are located. To reach the palace, one has to climb a flight of steps. In close proximity is the Tazia Tower which is all of five stories and is conspicuous by its unusual roof. The external portion of the fort is well protected by lofty walls which has an exclusive corridor that leads to the first barricade.
In the days of yore, a majority of the population of Jaisalmer lived within the fort premises but with the burgeoning growth of population, people began living elsewhere from 17th century onwards. Nonetheless, even in the present times the fort is bustling with activity and there are a lot of people who still live within the ramparts.
The Fort has an unusual and weird device, which is set on top of the fort and was used to forecast the weather for an entire year. Legend has it that if it wafted in the northerly direction it was a sign of famine and if it wafted on the westerly direction it was a precursor to a fine monsoon.
All said and done, the magnificent Jaisalmer fort is one of the finest examples of Rajput architectural grandeur as far as the art of stone carving is concerned.
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