Jaisalmer City

By Sanjeev Nayyar Sanjeev@esamskriti.com | 2013

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Driving in from Bikaner, Gajner, Bap, Phalodi reached Jaisalmer at 1am. It was pouring that too in Feb. Intent was to see the Jaisalmer Desert Festival. We present Jaisalmer pics under various heads ie City, Havelis of Jaisalmer, Desert Festival, Jaisalmer Fort, Sam Dunes, Tanot Mandir, Longewal. Taken from Jaisalmer Fort this pic gives you an overview of the town, eastern side. Right of pic lower side white truck coming in is entrance to fort.

Every year around February Rajasthan Tourism organises the Jaisalmer Desert Festival. It is a 3 day extravaganza. Has folk music and dance, camel races, turban tying competition, moustache competition, beauty contests, camel race, fire dance etc. U see stage at Shahid Poonam Singh Stadium where most of the events were held. In the background is Jaisalmer Fort or Sonar Killa. Pic taken about 5.30pm.

Seeing a fully lit fort is a pleasure. This pic is taken around sunset when the lights had just come on. It is built of Jurassic sandstone which grows out of a rock in an undulating sea of sand. There is something very special about Jaisalmer that will make me remember the town fondly. Was it lovely weather, people, colorful cloths, desert, folk dance and music? May be a combination of all.

This pic was taken from Vyas Chhatri ie a few kms away from the town. We were returning from Bada Bag when saw the fort from far - loved it but pic would not come well from road level. My driver Lalit Singh Pawar helped me climb a small hill in pitch dark so could click this. This pic is thanks to him.

A couple of kms away from the Fort is Gadisar Lake. U see lake waters, mahal with the fort in the background. For photographers best time to visit is early morning around after sunrise. It is so quiet, serene and beautiful at that time.

This man made lake was made by Maharaja Gadsi Singh in 1367. It has a huge catchment area, been a source of water supply for centuries, has temples on its banks and in centre of the lake. Another view of the lake with Jaisalmer Fort in the background. See reflection of monuments in the water.

Board outside the lake entrance gives you history of the lake. There are boating facilities at lake too. Although I did not go at sunset must be beautiful at that time as well.

View of monuments in lake without the fort background. The monuments might be similar but they looked so beautiful from different angles and shades of sun that wanted to share.

Note pics of Chhattris in the water. One is on banks of lake and another is in the lake. To read about the architectural aspects of Chhattris, good pics Click here

A close up of a Chhattri. Note the design, balance and intricate work. For some strange reason did not take pic of the lake from the western side ie facing the rising sun. Guess was too obsessed with clicking lake from eastern side ie against rising sun. I click in strange ways sometimes.

Sculptures inside the Chhattri.

This is a beautiful arched gate at the entrance to Gadisar Lake. Loved its colors against the rising sun. This collection covers Gadisar Lake, ruins of Kuldhara & Khabha, Vyas Chhattris and Bada Bagh ie Royal Cenotaphs.

Enroute to Sam Dunes are Kuldhara and Khabha. It is a medieval desert village of the Paliwal community. 84 villages were abandoned Paliwal Brahmins of which the 2 most prominent are Kuldhara and Khabha. U see ruins of Kuldhara ie 18 kms from Jaisalmer. Seeing the ruins against the early morning sun and good weather in Feb made it a different and wonderful experience. Am not sure if would have loved the place as much if had come at 2pm.

A close up of ruins of a house gives you idea of home layout. Yellow house that you see is a restored home. Unfortunately I did not go inside it. Next pic has links of someone who went inside the house.

Ruins of a temple ie on the first floor. To know more about Kuldhara and see nice pictures Click here

This is not a huge step-well or baori like what we see in Bundi, Jaipur, Amdavad. In front are steps that lead u some 30-40 feet below to a well that s\\tored water. It is said to be 200 years old. To know more about step-wells Click here

A few kms from Jaisalmer are Vyas Chhatris. These are cenotpahs of the Pushkarana Brahmins. U see an overview as one enters the complex. U get a good view of the fort from here.

A close up of some of the chhattris. To see pics and know more about Vyas Chhatris Click here

Every chhattri is dedicated to a certain Brahmin. In the centre of every chhattri is image like this with an inscription written on stone.

Sun set from Vyas Chhatri. ''The Sunset point over Sooli Dongri is a big hit with tourists and is definitely worth making a trip to if you want a bird’s eye view of Jaisalmer and its adjoining areas.''

Next moved to Bada Bag ie situated 6 kms from Jaisalmer on the road to Ramgarh. All along the route u see a cluster of wind power farms as you see in this pic. If Bap was all about solar power Jaisalmer is all about wind power.

These are the Royal cenotaphs of the late Maharawals and their families. Construction of the cenotaphs is credited to Maharawal Jait Singh during the 16th century.

Below every chattri is a stone that u see in centre of pic. It gives name of the king in whose name chattri was made. The pillars are all in one line.

A close up of image of King in a chattri. Inscription below gives the details.

The second chattri has a toran and so do ones behind it. The purpose of showing this pic is that torans might have been there on all chattris but got damaged with time.

A view of the chattris from top of the hill. Tanot Mandir is 120kms from Jaisalmer. To see pics Click here

A close up of a chattri. Note that the stone on which image, inscription exists are all facing east ie from where the sun rises. Loved Jaisalmer. It is actually quite a romantic place, can say that for the winters atleast. Did see quite a few couples come for their honeymoon.

This board is actually near Gadisar Lake. In the bustle and hustle of the Desert festival missed visiting this museum and attending the puppet show. Make it a point to visit Jaisalmer and Sam Dunes. Keep four for a comfortable visit. Stay in the fort. Pics on Jaisalmer fort gives names of some hotels where you can stay.

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