Friday, 22 November 2019

Travelogue of Jaisalmer: An Oasis in Thar Desert

The finely sculptured monuments in Jaiselmer city have successfully retained all its glory, cultural diversity, vibrant glory and the richness of a bygone era. Be it the camel safaris, the ascetic beauty of the surrounding, the city reflects the timeless beauty of a legacy left behind by the rulers.At the end of your tour of Jaiselmer,you will realize that;Jaiselmer is an Osis in Thar Desert.
Railway Station of Jaisalmer
At about 11.15 P.M, train entered in station of Jaisalmer. It was a desolate station of Jaisalmer .no porter to lift and carry our luggage.Retiring room of Jaiselmer was on first floor. Any how we lifted luggage and kept in our rooms.We were were hungry.

Jaiselmer Fort-(Sonar Quila)

Again surprised to see that Jaiselmer station has only a small tea stall without food items, only tea biscuits and bread. This tea stall opens only at arrival and departure time of a train.No option so we took tea and bread as dinner.

Retiring room was well maintained, after a shower I laid down upon my bed to sleep.Next morning after refreshing we came down stairs to tea stall for breakfast.It was about 9A.M. There were few local groups of men and women ,searing colorful costumes ,were sitting on floor of platform.They seemed  me as banjara tribes.
History of Jaisalmer
The name of Jaisalmer evokes a vivid picture of sheer magic and brilliance of the desert Jaisalmer is a beautiful city near the Thar Desert. The border to Pakistan is 100 kilometers away:

The city was established in the 12th century (year 1156 AD) and gets its name from its founder Maha Rawal Jaisal who founded it.

An Aerial View of city Jaisalmer from Sonar Fort

According to the local legend, Rawal Jaisal, the eldest son of the Rawal of Deoraj, was passed over for the throne of Ludharva (15 kms from Jaisalmer) by his younger half-brother after which he went on a search for a safe location to establish his capital.

He came across the massive rock that rose almost 250 feet from the surrounding desert sands. Rawal Jai singh constructed here a mud fort around the rock and named it Jaisalmer after himself.
Over the year the remote location of Jaisalmer kept it almost untouched by outside influence and even during the days of the Raj, Jaisalmer was the last to sign the Instrument of Agreement with the British.
Gadesar Lake of Jaisalmer, in deep Thar desert. 
This Lake in the city of Jaisalmer is one of the primary tourist attractions of the region. A view of this beautiful lake freshens up the mind and soul of the travelers.  In the bone melting heat of Jaisalmer desert it is hard to imagine a peaceful pond with temples, shrines, ghats, trees such as Gadisar Lake.

Gadesar Lake-Jaiselmer

A number of birds belonging to rare species that make a stop over this place to have a few drinks out of these sparkling clean waters of the lake. Here I spent most memorable few hours of my life and clicked few most beautiful clicks from camera.

This lake was built in 1400 A D by Maharwal Gadsi Singh in the middle of desert, the lone water resource for the city of Jaisalmer before modern water pipelines arrived.

Gadesar Lake-Jaiselmer

Bada Bagh
After visiting Gadesar Lake, We hired a taxi for Bada Bagh, situated atop a hill, 6K.m away from the desert city of Jaisalmer; travelers will find a romancing calm setting of this place.  I find it difficult to narrate the quiet isolation beauty mixed with a romancing experience of Bada Bagh

Bada Bagh-Jaiselmer

The chhatris appear to sprout from the very rocks they are built on and since they are the same color as the landscape around them, also appear like a mirage.
The towering windmills in the distance only add to the fantastic photo-ops the area has to offer and I find it rather tough to put my camera away. Giant wind turbines hum in unison interspersed around the domed roofs shading the sandstone and marble markers.
After a beautiful mesmerizing trip to Bada Bagh, we decided to back in city market for lunch. There were dozen hotels around Gandhi Chowk area of Jaisalmer.We entered in a hotel, ordered thali meals, Gatte ki sabzi, kadhi, curd and desi ghee soaked chapattis with pickles and sweet. It was a delicious but heavy meal for us due to Desi ghee.

Around market, I clicked some local and road side views. I found people of Jaisalmer a friendly to camera, they liked to be clicked.
Jaisalmer Fort (Sonar Fort)
The first view of the Jaisalmer Fort(it is popular by name of Sonar fort or Sonar Quila) was a sight I will remember till my last days; a massive fort built in yellow sand-stone rising out of the flatland “like a mirage in the desert”, its ramparts glowing in shades of gold in the rays of the morning sun, Sonar Fort is a spectacle in every sense.
The houses are built in the same architectural style that merges with the old structure of the fort. Even the houses outside the fort are built mostly with sand stones with the same distinctive Rajasthani architecture that transported us to an altogether different period of time. 
 There are temples where conch still blows every morning as it did 500 hundred year ago, homes and havelis where people go on with their lives as they have been doing for centuries.It is this liveliness apart from its ethereal beauty, which makes the Golden Fort.
 We were walking on roads, lanes and by lanes inside fort .It is Interesting that local families were living inside houses on both side .They were doing their domestic works as we passed through. 
Ladies were cooking food, children were playing. Some of them have converted their one living room or verandas as handicraft shops.
At one place inside fort, we saw marketing area, selling sweets, fruits, antique items.Some local were maintaining live painting studio in their houses.
 I was amused to see bhang shops (a mild preparation of marijuana) inside fort area. On that bhang shops many foreigners were sitting in opane of bhang .This area was a gift for photography. 
Kothari’s Patwa Haveli
Out of Jaisalmer Fort, we found my self in market court having restaurants full of sweets and rajasthani food stuffs.Tired hungry and thirsty; entered in a one of them. Treated us with hot kachauries, sweets and malai qulfi .After recharging full with fresh energy,we moved towards Kothari’s Patwa Haveli.

Kothari's Patwa Haweli-Jaiselmer

Guide told us a story of this place as:--when the Patwas were struggling to set up their trade and business. On the advice of a priest at the Jain Temple, the patwa brothers left Jaisalmer with the intention of never returning (they were advised by the priest that their business could not flourish in Jaisalmer).
The legend has it that the patwas were immensely successful thereafter and their business spanned across banking & finance, silver, brocade and opium trade.


Eventually, patwas rose to such heights that they were called upon to finance the state deficit. This brought the clan back to their old habitat. The then head of the family, Ghuman Chand Patwa, decided to gift each of his five sons a separate and elaborate mansion, ignoring the advice of the priest. Thus came up the five grandiose havelis facing the Jailsamer Fort.
Unfortunately, the lives of the patwas took a ‘u’ turn after their return to Jaisalmer and their fortunes started dwindling. Consequently, they had to abandon the city-state again, leaving the havelis at the mercy of care takers. The care takers became the owners in the course of time and decided to put the havelis up for sale.
You will notice individual depictions and theme on each and every arch. Although the whole building is made yellow sandstone, the main gateway of the Patwon Ji ki Haveli is in brown color.

I came out of the haveli complex completely mesmerized, with memories in my canon camera, my best companion. Returned back in retiring room for rest.
The End

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