Friday, September 26, 2008
Drive from Bikaner along the NH 15, enjoy the beauty of the road, see deers, peacocks are welcoming you and reach Pokhran after 22o Km. Have rest for some time. you can visit a 500 years old fort built by Thakur Bikramsingh and the museum and Jain temple inside it.
Ramdeora, famous from Satyajit Ray's film "Sonar Kella" is 12 Km from here. Jaisalmer is 120 Km away from Pokhran. You can see the golden fort (Sonar Kella) on the hill top long before you reach there. That is the famous Jaisalmer Fort. It is second oldest, 800 years old, fort in Rajasthan situated on Trikuta hill. It has 3o Ft wall all araound and 99 decorated bastions. A huge structure blending with the golden desert ambience will make you feel as if you are in a fairy tale land!
You have to reach the main Rajdarbar by crossing four gates Suraj pol, Ganesh pol, Bhut pol, and Haoa pol. Within it are many beautiful havelies and a group of Jain temples dating from the 12th to the 15th centuries.
Being part of the Desert Triangle and the venue of Desert Festival, the place is accessible by rail, road and air and has tourist accommodation ranging from high budget to low budget. The city is also covered by the "Palace on Wheels" a train-cum-road package, which needs no description. This place too witnesses large flow of tourist traffic in winters.
The fort stands almost 30 metres over the city and houses an entire living area within huge ramparts. Walking through the narrow lanes is an experience worth savouring.
You will be mesmarized by sseing the sandstone mansions , filling up facades with sculptural filigree, screen windows, delicate pavilions and beautiful balconies. Today, these veritable art - museums are still inhabited, and their colourful celebrations and festivals have placed Jaisalmer Fort firmly on the world tourism map.
Havelis in Jaisalmer
Nathmal Ji Ki Haveli
Two architect brothers built it in the 19th century. Interestingly, while one concentrated on the right, the other concentrated on the left and the result is a symphony epitomising the side by side symmetry during construction. Paintings in miniature style monopolise the walls in the interior. Mighty tuskers carved out of yellow sandstone stand guard to the haveli.
Salim Singh Ki Haveli
This haveli was built about 300 years ago and a part of it is still occupied. Salim Singh was the prime minister when Jaisalmer was the capital of the princely state and his mansion has a beautifully arched roof with superb carved brackets in the form of Peacocks. The mansion is just below the hill and it is said that once it had two additional wooden storeys in an attempt to make it as high as the maharaja's palace, but the maharaja had the upper storey torn down.
This is one of the largest and most elaborate Haveli in Jaisalmer and stands in a narrow lane. It is five storeys high and is extensively carved. It is divided into six apartments, two owned by archaeological Survey of India, two by families who operate craft-shops and two private homes. There are remnants of paintings on some of the inside walls as well as some mirror work.
Parks in Jaisalmer
Desert National Park
The Desert National Park is an excellent example of the ecosystem of the Thar Desert and its rich fauna. The Sudashri forest post is the most ideal place for observing wildlife in the Desert National Park. Sand dunes form less than 20 percent of the Park, which consists of craggy rocks, pavements and compact salt lake bottoms, intermedial areas and fixed dunes.
Its inhabitants include the blackbuck, chinkara, wolf, Indian fox, desert fox, hare and desert cat. Flights of sandfrouse start coming to waterholes from sunrise onwards. One also hear the morning call of the grey partridge. Blue tailed and green bee-eaters, drongos, common and bush quail and Indian rollers are birds, which are commonly found around waterholes. the park is also home to the great Indian Bustard which is peril of extinction..
Akal Wood Fossil Park
Just 17 kms from Jaisalmer and a kilometre away from the Barmer Road are fossilised remains of 180 million-year-old forests. These are beautiful forest vistas and any forester around can show you. There is a ticket to visit the Park for foreigners Rs 20 and locals Rs 5 plus Rs 10 for vehicle.
Lakes in Jaisalmer
This tank, south of the city walls, once held the town water supply, and befitting its importance in providing precious water to the inhabitants of this arid city, it is sourrounded by small temples and shrines. The beautiful yellow sandstone gateway arching across the road down to the tank is the Tilon-ki-Pol, and is said to have been built by a famous prostitute, Tilon . When she offered to pay to have this gateway constructed, the Maharaja refused permission under it to go down to the tank and he felt that this would be beneath his dignity. While he was away, she built the gate , adding a Krishna temple on top so that king could not tear it down.
Fairs & Festivals in Jaisalmer
Desert Festival ( JAN - FEB )
Once a year in winters and on the middle of the continually rising and falling stark yellow sands of the great Thar Desert, the empty sands around Jaisalmer come alive with the brilliant colour, music and laughter of the Desert Festival. The festival is organised by the tourist authorities as tourist entertainment around January-February.
The very rich and colourful Rajasthani folk culture is on show here for a few days. Rajasthani men and tall beautiful women dressed in their brightly costumes dance and sing lingering ballads of valour, romance and tragedy. Traditional musicians attempt to outdo each other in their musical superiority.
The high points of the festival are - snake charmers, puppeteers, acrobats, folk performers do rapid trade. Camels, the lifeline of the desert, play a foremost role. Proud moustached villagers, dressed in their ethnic best come astride their picturesquely caparisoned camels to join in the camel dances and competitions of camel acrobatics, camel races and décor, camel polo, tug of war and the like.
The tourist dances, turban tying competitions and tug of war are big draws and laughter. The Mr Desert competitions, which are focused around the length of moustaches by and large, attract many hopefuls.
You can reach Jaisalmer from Jodhpur too either by train or road.
Hotels are plenty. You can safely select one from Rajasthan tourism. Tariff starts from INR 800.