Jaisalmer Fort

Jaisalmer fort is also famous as Golden fort, it is considered as one of the world’s largest fortification. The great Rajput leader Rawal Jaisal built this fort in 1156 AD. Jaislmer fort is located on Trikuta Hill of the Thar Desert. It looks beautiful during day because of yellowish sand stone and at the time of evening or sun set the fort appears golden, this is why it is named as Golden fort and Sonnar Quilla. Jaisalmer fort is one of the notable monuments in the city and it is situated in the heart of city.

Jaisalmer Fort

History

The fort was built by Rawal Jaiswal in 1156 CE. Jaisal conspired with the Sultan of Gaur to dispose his nephew Bhojdev from his territory. The other important event of the fort was during 1276 when King Jetsi strengthened the fort against the invading Sultan of Delhi. the 56 bastions were manned by 3,700 soldiers. After eight years of invasion, the Sultan’s army destroyed the castle. Bhatis took control of the fort, but had no means to strengthen it. In 1306, Dodoo was elected the Rawal for his bravery for ejecting the Rathors. He subsequently started building the fort. The Rawals could not stand the invasion of Mughal emperor Babur and subsequently seeded to Akbar in 1570 and also got his daughter married to him.

During medieval times, the city played a major role in trade with Persia, Arabia, Egypt and Africa. The fort contains 3 layers of walls. The outer or the lower layer is made out of solid stone blocks and it reinforces the loose rubble of Trikuta Hill. The second, or middle, wall snakes around the fort. From the innermost, or third, wall, the Rajput warriors once hurled boiling oil and water as well as massive blocks of rock at their enemies, who would become entrapped between the second and third walls. This defences of the fort include 99 bastions, of which 92 were built between the period of 1633-47.

Ala-ud-din Khilji attacked and captured the fort in the 13th century and managed to hold it for 9 years. During the siege of the fort the Rajput women committed Jauhar. The second battle at the fort happened in 1541, when Mughal emperor Humayun attacked the fort city.

The fort was under the control of Mughals until 1762 when Maharawal Mulraj took control of the fort. Due to its isolated location, the fort escaped the ravages of the Marathas. The treaty between the East India Company and Mulraj in 12 December 1818 allowed the king to have succession of the fort and provided protection from invasion. After the death of Mulraj in 1820, his grandson Gaj Singh took reigns of the fort.

With the advent of British rule, the emergence of maritime trade and the growth of the port of Bombay led to the gradual economic decline of Jaisalmer. After independence and the Partition of India, the ancient trade route was totally closed, thus sealing the fate of the city. Nonetheless, the continued strategic importance of Jaisalmer was demonstrated during the 1965 and 1971 wars between India and Pakistan Although at one point the entire population of Jaisalmer lived within the fort, it today has a resident population of about 4,000 people who are largely from the Brahmin and Daroga communities. They are mostly descendants of the workforce of the Bhati rulers of Jaisalmer which was permitted to reside within the fort’s premises. With an increase in population, people gradually relocated to the foot of the Trikuta Hill and the town of Jaisalmer spread out from the fort.