Jaisalmer FortJaisalmer Fort is one of the largest of desert forts of the world. It is situated in Jaisalmer city in Indian state of Rajasthan. It was built in 1156 AD by the Bhati Rajput ruler Rawal Jaisal, from where it derives it name. The fort stands proudly admist the golden stretches of the great Thar Desert, on Trikuta Hill and had been the scene of many battles. Its massive yellow sandstone walls are a tawny lion color during the day, turning to a magical honey-gold as the sun sets and camouflages the fort making it appear a part of the picturesque yellow desert. Thus, no wonder, it is also known as the "Golden Fort".
Fort Jaisalmer, Rajasthan Art Print
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During the medieval times, the city played a major role in the trade with Persia, Arabia, Egypt and Africa.
The fort contains 3 layes 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 wall, i.e. the middle wall snakes around the fort. From the inner most or the third wall, the Rajput warriors used to hurl boiling oil and water, and massive round blocks of rock as missiles on the enemies when they got trapped between the second and the third walls. The defensive mechanism of the fort is even more enhanced by the 99 bastions of the fort. Of these, 92 bastions 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. It was during the seize 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. This is the world's only living fort and about a quarter of city's population live in the fort. At one point of time the entire population of Jaisalmer used to live within the fort; but with the increase in the population, people was forced to move out and find shelter under the foot of the Trikuta Hill. However, since the British rule, due to the rise of sea trade and growth of the port of Bombay, the city went through a major economic recession. After the independence and partition of India, the ancient trade route was totally closed and thus sealed the fate of the city. However, the strategic importance of Jaisalmer was revealed during the 1965 and 1971 wars between India and Pakistan.
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