Jaisalmer easily dates back to the year 1156 when it was established by Rao Jaisal as an auxiliary to his more helpless capital at Lodurva. This makes Jaisalmer the oldest existing and thriving fortified city in Rajasthan. For many, a visit to this city is the start to a lasting romance. Located on the far western border of India, in the heart of the Thar Desert, and about 55 km from the border of Pakistan, this city is strategically positioned on one of the trade routes of Central Asia. Fortunes were made in abundance by the Jains and Rajput merchants who would levy enormous taxes on caravans that crossed through the borders.
The sandstone mansions seen in Jaisalmer are indeed breathtaking, but the Sonar Killa that literally translate to the “Golden Fort,” is what makes you visit to this city worth it. At a glance, this fort may not be as impressive or as the Mehrangarh Fort of Jodhpur, but its charm can be attributed to the fact that this is the only inhabited medieval fort in the world. There are families who have settled here for over 800 years and hence, living in their actual homes. Unfortunately, the real charm of the Sonar Killa has been eroded due to the unimpeded proliferation of hotels.
The Sonar Killa is built entirely from yellow sandstone and emerges like a sand castle from the environs of the desert, offering spectacular views from the overhanging cannon ramparts. It is from here that you can stare down at the city and the vista of the desert and also catch a sense of how forts such as these had once served the most basic of needs from shielding the town against invaders and any unwarranted attacks from the plateau below.