September 19, 2010

Golden Circles

Jaisalmer is known as the "Golden City," after the distinctive yellow sandstone, found locally, that is the area's main construction material. The sandstone's yellow color comes from its high sulfur content.

Constructed from yellow sandstone, Jaisalmer Fort sprawls across a hilltop in the Thar desert. More than 2,000 people live within the fort.

Located on an ancient trade route in the Thar desert, near the border between India and Pakistan, the town's strategic position brought it wealth, and its merchants and government officials built elaborate mansions (havelis) out of this yellow sandstone.

Elaborate mansions (havelis) with overhanging balconies flank narrow streets within Jaisalmer Fort.

The sandstone is relatively soft, so it can be carved easily into elaborate patterns and intricate latticework, evident throughout the town.

Balcony designs can be highly intricate, with both relief carvings and latticework.

Set on either side of narrow, winding lanes within Jaisalmer Fort, these mansions stand as monuments to the anonymous stone carvers who covered seemingly every square inch with exquisite patterns. One mansion features 38 balconies, each one with a different design.

Intricate circular designs are common features of the sandstone carvings in Jaisalmer.

Latticed friezes provided ventilation and privacy for women, who could peek out without anyone seeing them.

Photos by I. Peterson

1 comment:

Adriana said...

so beautiful I want to bite those buildings...