History of Jaisalmer

The history of Jaisalmer dates back to the medieval period when the golden city was founded by the Rajput chief Jaisala. The history of Jaisalmer is sung as ballads by the local bards, carans and the bhaals even today. The city was established in the year 1156 atop the Trikut hill by the Maharaja to prevent the possible encroachment of enemies. The initial capital of the Bhatti Rajput clan was at Lodhruva which lies at a distance of 15 kilometers to the south east of Jaisalmer.

Jaisalmer emerged as a rich state in the medieval period. The region facilitated due to the presence of the two trade routes that connected India to the western countries, Africa and Persia. During the 13th and the 14th century, the Muslim rulers invaded the city. Royal patronage was returned to the Rajput king, Sabala Simha during the reign of Shah Jahan. The princely state acceded to the Indian Union after the country gained independence.

Legend has it that the city was established by Jaisala on the behest of the hermit, Eesaal. Jaisalmer grew in the medieval period and amassed great wealth from the caravans that traversed the region. The two routes that connected India to Persia, Africa, Egypt and the western countries facilitated trade in the region. The strategic location of the city prevented invasion from the foreign rulers. In the 13th and the 14th century the rulers of the city who were referred to as the Rawals, engulfed in a nine year war with the Turk Afghan ruler, Ala-ud-din Khilji. The Rajuts were defeated in the battle and had since then maintained a cordial relationship with the Delhi Sultanate. Sabala Simha was later awarded the royal patronage of the city by Shah Jahan after his chivalrous contribution in the Battle of Peshawar.

Modern history of Jaisalmer includes its ties with the British Empire. The princely state joined the Union of India after the country gained independence. The hereditary bards, carans and the bhaals sing ballads of the chivalrous rulers of the city. Jaisalmer lost its economic importance after the establishment of the port city of Mumbai. After partition of the country, it also lost the trade routes that passed through Pakistan. It has now emerged as one of the important tourist destinations of the country.

Last Updated on 08/22/2013