Discover the vibrant life within the walls of Jaisalmer Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that serves as a bustling neighborhood, business district, and place of worship for the population of Rajasthan, India. Despite its remote location in the Thar Desert near the Pakistan border, the fort attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists each year.
Living History: Built in 1156 by King Rawal Jaisal, the fort has endured centuries of history, from being a Silk Road city to facing invasions and conflicts. Today, it stands as a unique living heritage, still home to descendants of families who once served the royal court. The fort’s interior spans 1,500 feet, housing public temples, shops, hotels, cafes, and homes.
Challenges of a “Living Fort”: While Jaisalmer Fort thrives as a living community, heritage specialist Kavita Jain notes the challenges it faces. The growing population has strained infrastructure, leading to issues like water seepage and foundation damage. Conservationist Asheesh Srivastava, involved in restoration efforts since 2001, emphasizes the need for locals to appreciate their heritage amidst modern expansion.
Struggles and Preservation Efforts: Residents, despite government-provided land in the town, prefer living within the fort. Expanding homes vertically poses risks to the original foundation, and the scarcity of artisans skilled in ancient construction techniques adds to the challenges. King Chaitanya Raj Singh, owning 60% of the fort, calls for local involvement in restoration to sustain their livelihoods.
Call for Assistance and Future Prospects: Srivastava emphasizes the need for collaboration among residents, authorities, and shop owners for the fort’s thorough restoration. With state government assistance, plans for construction regulations are in progress. Singh expresses hope for preserving the fort for future generations and notes the potential economic benefits, such as premium pricing and rents, that a successful restoration could bring.
Conclusion: Jaisalmer Fort stands not just as a historical marvel but as a testament to the resilience of a living heritage. The challenges it faces are real, but with concerted efforts from the community, authorities, and preservationists, there’s hope for ensuring this timeless treasure remains intact for generations to come. Explore the rich history and ongoing efforts at ImpactWealth.org.