In the heart of the Thar Desert lies Jaisalmer, a fairytale desert town whose sand-yellow ramparts rise out of the arid desert. The walled town was founded by Rawal Jaisal in 1156 and exists now as both a popular tourist destination and a thriving hub of local trade and tradesmen. Residents from outlying villages comfortably outnumber foreigners in the bustling bazaar.
The splendid sandstone architecture that is a feature of Jaisalmer, the 'Golden City', is unlike anything else in India. The main 'chowk' (square) is dominated by the Palace of the Maharawal. The palace's five-storey façade of balconies and windows displays some of the finest masonry in Jaisalmer. A visit to Jaisalmer gives you chance to discover the latticed stone façades of grand mansions - the Nathmalji-ki-haveli, Patwon-ki-haveli and Satim Singh-ki-haveli in particular show fine examples of the stonecarver's skill.