Sunday, January 23, 2022

Rajastan - The Land Of Kings

I was fortunate to get an opportunity to visit Jaisalmer, Bikaner and Jodhpur which are in the royal state of Rajastan.

It's was an extremely beautiful experience, I got to learn so much about their royal history. This trip was unique in so many different ways, I had so many first time experiences. 

We first went to Jaisalmer - The Golden City.

The name suggests, the fort and most of the places in the city are built using the yellow sand stone. It gives a unique yellow-golden color to the whole city.

Here are some pics from the city of Jaisalmer:

Patwa haveli

City View, Can see the Fort In the background

Calm and Beautiful Gadisar Lake

Rajastan is a mecca for art work made out of Camel bones. See this one (needless to say we didn't buy anything). People also made bags and shoes out of Camel leather

Camel Bone Art

Next day we went to visit the Jaisalmer Fort. 

Entrance  To The Fort

It's unique since it's one of the very few living forts. There are many narrow lanes full of street side shops which display beautiful art work. About 4000 people live inside the fort even today!

Some pics from the top of the fort
Beautiful Golden City

Notice roof top restaurants, which serve authentic Rajastani food!

Next day we went to Longewala. A lot of people visiting Jaisalmer, miss out on this attraction, but IMO its a must visit place. This is the place where the Battle Of Longewala between India and Pakistan took place (remember the movie Border?).  About 120 Indian solders won over 2000-3000 Pakistani Solders!


One can visit the beautiful War Museum and Memorial, Tanot Mata Mandi and the actual India Pakistan Border.

Battle captured Pakistani Tank

Few important things to notice about this pic, see how the flag of Pakistan is upside down and the barrel of the tank is pointing downwards? Thats because the tank was captured in battle, this is the actual tank that was captured!

We were lucky to see present day Indian tanks nearby, I think they were filling up the fuel and moving in the desert. You can hear them roaring and feel the ground shaking when they move!

Operational Indian Tanks

This is the India Pakistan Border. Beyond the fencing, starts the 150 m no man's land between India and Pakistan. When you are here, your mobiles and smart watches might switch to Pakistani timezone - happened to us.

India Pakistan Border

Next, we had lined up a day full of adventure in the famous sand dunes of Jaisalmer i.e. The Sam Sand Dunes. On the way to Sam we went to a famous Amar Sagar Jain Temple. The temple complex itself is very beautiful but the stone carvings blew my mind away.

Amar Sagar Jain Temple

It might feel like the the carvings are done on wood or some other material but its all stone - it's the sand stone we spoke about earlier. 

Beautiful Stone Carving

On the way to Sam, we stopped at the Kuldhara village. Legend says that all villagers emptied the village overnight, left their homes as is and settled elsewhere. These are the remains of those abandoned houses and there are 100's of such houses in this area.

Kuldhara Village Remains

And finally we reached the Sam Sand Dunes, it was magnificent! They are part of one of the biggest Desert National Park. 

Let me ask you a question, close your eyes and imagine a place which is naturally very beautiful? 

What came to mind? Did you imagine, green cover, trees, forests, grass lands, mountains, beaches etc? I would have done the same. But Sam Sand Dunes has none of it, there are no tress, no grass lands, no forests, just hills and valleys of sand, but it was one of the most beautiful natural places I have ever been to.

Pictures do not do justice to the beauty of this place. You must see it to believe it.

Sunset at the dunes

There are many activities like Camel Ride, Jeep Safari, Paragliding, Quad biking available here. We did Camel Ride and Jeep Safari. 

All the camels seemed to be named after famous personalities like Shahrukh Khan, Salman Khan, Michael Jackson etc. I was sitting on the camel called Hritik Roshan :P

A Camel Called Hritik Roshan

I wanted to share some pictures from our Jeep Safari, but I don't have any good pictures from that adventurous experience. The jeep went up and down the sand dunes, suddenly it will turn left or right. I was struggling to hold on to something, I could not muster enough courage to take out my phone to click a picture :D! 

Next, we went to Bikaner another historical place. Main attractions in Bikaner include the Junagarh Fort and Lalgarh Palace. 

Everywhere in Rajastan you will find this kind of architecture, it's a mixture of Hindu and Islamic styles. 

A section of the beautiful Junagarh Fort

This one is a unique swing, during Janmastami (Krishna birthday), The Queen would place the picture of Lord Krishna on the swing and stroke it. Thats not all, you see the Gopis (dolls, girls) on the pillars? They all dance when the swing moves!

Swing where Gopi's dance!

Near Bikaner, there is the world famous Karni Mata Temple. This temple is also known as "Temple Of Rats". There are Hundreds of Thousands of rats in the temple, they live harmoniously with humans!

Rats drinking milk

On the way to Jodhpur we visited this ancient jain temple which is around 2500 years old, its located in the city of Osian. 

Beautiful carvings

Next day we visited the Majestic Mehrangarh fort. My poor photography skill are on display here, pics just do not do justice to the forts beauty!

Mehrangarh Fort

Inside Of Mehrangarh Fort

Blue City View From Mehrangarh Fort

Beautiful Ranisar Lake

The fort is maintained in pristine condition, kudos to the people working there. This is one of the only forts I have visited that has a lift to go to the top.

Next we went to Mandhore Garden, this is an abandoned place of worship. It's said that, 65 different religions were worshiped together here. Currently there are no idols in any of these temples. Some of the temples were 3 story high!
3 Story Temple

Ek Thamba Mahal

Beautiful Evening At Mandhore Garden

Some pictures from the Jodhpur city

Clock Tower

Toorji Ka Jhalra Bavdi - A Step Well

Rao Jodha Desert Rock Park

And finally this is the Umaid Bhawan Palace. The current Jodhpur King lives in this palace. Part of it is also a hotel, if you want you can book a room in this palace hotel as well. Neither did we stay in the palace hotel, nor did we get to meet the King :D!

Umaid Bhawan Palace

Overall, I enjoyed every bit of my time in Rajastan, I would highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in History, Architecture, Nature, Stories and Museums.
Have some Fun!