A Travellerspoint blog

32 ~ Mehrangarh Fort : Jodhpur

Security staff took my camera ... but I ended up with pictures from a much better angle

Mehrangarh Fort

Here is the link to Tripsavvy:

Mehrangarh Fort is not only one of Jodhpur's top attractions but is also one of the most impressive, well-maintained forts in India. It looms over the "Blue City" from its lofty position atop a rocky hill where it was built by the ruling dynasty of Rathore Rajputs. King Rao Jodha started constructing the fort in 1459, when he established his new capital in Jodhpur. However, the work continued to be carried out by subsequent rulers right up until the 20th century. As a result, the fort has remarkably diverse architecture.

Unlike other Rajput forts that ended up abandoned, Mehrangarh Fort still remains in the hands of the royal family. They've restored it and turned it into an outstanding tourist destination comprising a series of palaces, museums, and restaurants. What also sets the fort apart from others in Rajasthan is its focus on folk art and music. There are cultural performances every day at various locations in the fort.

https://www.tripsavvy.com/top-palaces-and-forts-in-india-1539345

Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur dominates the skyline of the "Blue City" from its lofty central position on a rugged cliff, where it seems to have sprouted up out of the rock. The fort is one of the most impressive and best preserved forts in India. It has been thoughtfully turned into a superb tourist destination that will delight everyone from photographers to history buffs. The illustrious fort has also featured in the writings of Rudyard Kipling and Aldous Huxley, and was named Best Fortress in Asia by Time magazine in 2007.

However, it wasn't always in such great condition. Prior to being restored, it was lying vacant and inhabited by bats.

https://www.tripsavvy.com/mehrangarh-fort-complete-guide-4165570

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Bhanwar

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Ravanhatha

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Handprints of Maharaja Man Singh’s widows as they left the palace to commit sati on his funeral pyre – the last mass sati by wives of a Marwari maharaja.

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I was pleasantly surprised at the Phool Mahal or Palace of Flowers, I was trying to take photos of the interior and ceiling from behind the rope when one of the security staff took my camera and I ended up with pictures from a much better angle. No doubt he has done this many times before.

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Takhat Vilas – ceiling hung with huge Christmas tree balls.

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It was 90 brief minutes inside the fort then out and down towards the old town. Wow … what a difference with hardly any tourists as we walked down this way.

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Chipmunk

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I had investigated before the trip taking the zip line but decided not to as I can zip line back in New Zealand and the purpose of this trip was to see Jodhpur, especially the old city and their blue houses.

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The Fort Gardens was a pleasant surprise being a small oasis of green in amongst the desert surroundings. Plus it was so quiet with only a few people eating at the Chokhelao Garden Restaurant overlooking at the Fort Gardens.

Zip line starts here.

https://www.flyingfox.asia/Destination/Jodhpur.php

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Posted by bruceontour 00:09 Archived in India Tagged jodhpur blue_city mehrangarh_fort Comments (0)

31 ~ Jaswant Thada – the Royal Cenotaphs : Jodhpur

Much better from the outside than the inside itself

Leaving again at 9am / 09:00.

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It was 10.30am / 10:30 when we got into Jodphur and picked up Bhanwar, my local guide.

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Bhanwar

Here is the link to Tripsavvy:

Jodhpur, the second largest city in Rajasthan (albeit pleasingly unspoiled by haphazard development), has a fascinating past. In case you were wondering, yes, it is where jodhpurs got their name from! These unusual pants were designed by the Maharaja of Jodhpur's son, Pratap Singh, and worn by his polo team when visiting the Queen of England in 1897. Jodhpur is famous for its blue buildings, which were originally painted to signify that they were occupied by Brahmins, the highest caste in India.

https://www.tripsavvy.com/top-attractions-in-jodhpur-1539658

Jodhpur stands at the edge of the Thar Desert. It was founded by Rao Jodha, chief of the Rajput clan known as Rathores and the Rathore kingdom was once known as Marwar – the Land of Death.

After a brief stop at an unofficial viewpoint on the side of the road up to Mehrangarh Fort to take photos of the houses below, it was onto Jaswant Thada – the Royal Cenotaphs.

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Here is the link to Tripsavvy:

This intricately crafted cenotaph (empty commemorative tomb) was built in 1899, in honour of Maharaja Jaswant Singh II. It features white marble lattice screens and whimsical domes, while the inside is adorned with portraits of Rathore rulers. It's a peaceful place to relax and enjoy stunning views of the Fort and city. Many a tired tourist sprawls on the front lawn to recuperate after sightseeing.

https://www.tripsavvy.com/top-attractions-in-jodhpur-1539658

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Ravanhatha - The ravanahatha's sound box may be a gourd, a halved coconut shell or hollowed-out cylinder of wood, with a membrane of stretched goator other hide. A neck of wood or bamboo is attached, carrying between one and four or more peg-tuned strings of gut, hair or steel, strung over a bridge. Some examples may have several sympathetic strings. The bow is usually of horsehair; examples vary in length. Thanks Mr Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ravanahatha

Is it the predecessor of present day Violin?

http://gaatha.com/the-story-of-a-storyteller-his-instrument/

https://ipfs.io/ipfs/QmXoypizjW3WknFiJnKLwHCnL72vedxjQkDDP1mXWo6uco/wiki/Ravanahatha.html

https://www.ohmyrajasthan.com/ravanahatha

Had just 15 minutes free time which was more than enough as the place looked much better from the outside than the inside itself.

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Posted by bruceontour 01:16 Archived in India Tagged jodhpur jaswant_thada ravanhatha Comments (0)

30 ~ Not wanting to have his photo taken : Khejarla am walk

Day 8 : Fun & games as his mate got in on the action

After breakfast I had 30 minutes before the drive to my next overnight stop of Luni with on route a visit to Jodhpur, the largest city in Rajasthan after Jaipur. So went for a walk through alleyways nearby the hotel. It seemed deserted but besides the odd donkeys, dogs and cattle, people were around with a group of really cheeky children on their way to school.

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Love the sequence towards the end of this young guy brushing his teeth and he was certainly playing up to me and my camera by not wanting to have his photo taken. It was all fun and games as his mate got in on the action.

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Posted by bruceontour 00:26 Archived in India Tagged khejrala Comments (0)

29 ~ Should've had a top on saying “New Zealand” : Khejarla

“Where are you from?”


View India 18 - 19 on bruceontour's travel map.

Finally reached Fort Khejarla, another heritage hotel after 2pm / 14:00.

Khejarla seems to rise out of the Narwar plains like a sentinel. A sturdy fort, it is quite simple and uses very little ornamentation to break the almost forbidding exterior. The interiors too are simple and neat where the guests can look forward to genuine Rajput hospitality as most of the staff come from the local village.

https://jodhpurfortkhejarla.com/

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Making charcoal

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Of the Fort’s 42 rooms, I wasn’t staying in one of the 16 rooms in the old fort itself but neither the less was more than happy with my huge room situated up high on the fort’s parapet. Glad that I didn’t have to take my bag up the many stairs to my room but I did take it back down the next morning using the Osprey back pack feature for the first time.

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View from outside my room

Rest of the afternoon was supposed to be at leisure but for me it was a walk around the village.

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While they are used to tourists, I was still the focus of attention being the only tourist walking around. Again, the shop keepers were only too obliging for their photos to be taken.

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I should have had a top on saying “New Zealand” as one of the first questions was “Where are you from?” Then of course cricket was mentioned with both current and former Black Caps names banded around.

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I stood watching the old men playing a game on the veranda and one said to me “photo, photo” and gesturing me to take their photo which of course I gladly did.

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Then there was the old man who couldn’t speak much English at all but insisted that I sit and have a chai with him, served by the young chai wallah.

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I was surprised by the number of barber shops in this small village.

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At the Computer Academy, Parash called me in and we talked about what he was doing training villagers to use computers. Met his father and nieces and nephew.

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Then one of his best friend took me on the back of his motor cycle the short distance to the outskirt of the village where he worked at the local petrol station and yes, no helmet! Another chai was downed!

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From there I slowly walked back.

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Making bricks

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Kachori. Deep fried pooris which are made up of refined flour and carom seeds stuffed with variety of fillings (dal, peas, masala) etc.

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Still playing cards as I walked back

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During the 3.5 hours capturing what would definitely be one of the highlights of the trip having taken nearly 300 images plus the videos.

Did I take a photo or two of every shop keeper in town? Felt like it!

It was nearly 6pm / 18:00 and time for sunset when I got back.

There was this group of 3 gentlemen whom I asked permission to take their photo and it turned out that one seated was the owner of the Fort. Currently run under management, he will take it back in 6 years’ time. It has been in his family for 450 years.

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The sunset was nothing to speak of but I had the views of the surrounding countryside from the Fort.

Dinner = Garlic Naan 50 rupees / NZ$1 / US$0.70.
Jeera Pulao 180 rupees / NZ$3.60 / US$2.50.
Basmati rice tampered with cumin seed and salt 260 rupees / NZ$5.30 / US$3.60.
Mangodi Hara Pyaaz dumplings made from a combination of different lentils simmered in rich thick gravy 225 rupees / NZ$4.60 / US$3.15.
Plus GST and a tip came to 900 rupees / NZ$18.20 / US$12.60.

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Posted by bruceontour 00:02 Archived in India Tagged khejarla Comments (0)

28 ~ Same desert flat featureless : Jaisalmer to Khajrala

Day 7 : Train or plane would have been better ...


View India 18 - 19 on bruceontour's travel map.

After another wonderful Fort Rajwada filling breakfast, was ready early and left at 8.45am / 08:45 for the 5 hour drive through to Khejarla.

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More of the same desert flat featureless scenery so I didn’t take many photos till we came to the area where marble was been quarried. Something quite different.

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We had to pass right across Jodhpur as my overnight stay at Khejarla was some 85 km / 53 miles east or another 90 minutes on the other side of the city.

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Posted by bruceontour 00:55 Archived in India Comments (0)

27 ~ Royal Cenotaphs - Bara Bagh + Sunset Point : Jaisalmer

How to hold the moon

Back to Fort Rajwada, a walk around the lovely grounds and then soaked in the afternoon sun by sitting on the sun lounger by the pool. There was nothing to see outside the hotel itself and yes, I could have caught a tuk tuk back into Jaisalmer but decided not to.

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The Royal Cenotaphs of the Rawals

Leaving at 4.30pm / 16:30 I did the optional extra visit to The Royal Cenotaphs of the Rawals in Bara Bagh (meaning big garden). The entry fee had just gone up to 500 rupees / NZ$10.40 / US$7 and 200 rupees / NZ$4.20 / US$2.80 for the camera which in some ways was far too much as over at Sunset Point are similar but certainly not so many cenotaphs and that entry fee was only 50 rupees / NZ$1 / US$0.70 and 50 rupees / NZ$1 / US$0.70 for the camera!

Here is the link to Tripsavvy:

Jaisalmer has another group of similar looking cenotaphs, in a large unkempt garden around five kilometres further out, erected in honour of the city's royal rulers from the 16th to 20th centuries. The last cenotaph to be built is dedicated to Maharaja Jawahar Singh, who reigned after India’s Independence. However, it remains incomplete due to his death a year after Independence, which was viewed as a bad omen by the family. Most intriguing are the plaques on the cenotaphs. Plaques showing both maharaja and maharani together indicate that the queen committed sati (threw herself on her husband's funeral pyre). In contrast to the cenotaphs, modern wind turbines now populate the breezy hill as well, to generate electricity.

https://www.tripsavvy.com/places-to-visit-in-jaisalmer-1539657

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Allowed just 30 minutes at the Royal Cenotaphs as with the sun about to set had to head over to the nearby Sunset Point which is supposed to be the best place from which to both watch the spectacular desert sunset and also photograph the fort.

Sunset Point

Here is the link to Tripsavvy:

Vyas Chhatri, on the edge of Jaisalmer north of the Fort, is dedicated to the great sage Vyasa who authored the Hindu epic The Mahabharata. This haunting place is used as a cremation ground for Pushkarana Brahmins and contains a number of cenotaphs (empty tombs) erected in honour of notable ones. The cenotaphs are referred to as chhatris because of their domes, which look like umbrellas (chhatris). Go there for spectacular sunsets over the city.

https://www.tripsavvy.com/places-to-visit-in-jaisalmer-1539657

The sun was quickly dropping and colours changing.

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Set up the Go Pro on time lapse to try and capture the changes.

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In the distance were these 2 guys trying to do a selfie of the Fort and with the rising moon behind them I had to move very quickly to position myself and capture this shot.

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Using last night sunset experience as a guideline, I was one of the last to leave before they closed and locked the gates. By now the sky was really red and soon it was black.

Dinner with Askok at Junction Palace – boneless chicken tikka, 400 rupees / NZ$8.30 / US$05.60.
Butter masala - marinated and grilled boneless chicken cooked in tomato butter based gravy 425 rupees / NZ$8.90 / US$6.
Askok had something for 450 rupees / NZ$9.40 / US$6.30.
Khadi vegetable paneer cheese 450 rupees / NZ$9.40 / US$6.30.
Garlic naan 250 rupees / NZ$5.20 / US$3.50.
Kingfisher lager 250 rupees / NZ$5.20 / US$3.50.
Water 50 rupees / NZ$1 / US$0.70.
Plus GST and a tip came to 2,000 rupees / NZ$40.40 / US$28.

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Posted by bruceontour 00:21 Archived in India Tagged jaisalmer sunset_point royal_cenotaphs_of_the_rawals Comments (0)

26 ~ Patwa Haveli + Nathmalji-Ki-Haveli : Jaisalmer

Merchant’s houses


View India 18 - 19 on bruceontour's travel map.

Note: Videos are "foggy" at the bottom for some unknown reason

Patwa Haveli

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Wonder what is the correct entry price?

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Jaisalmer is also known for the fairy-tale architecture of its magnificent historic havelis (mansions), located both inside and out of the fort. Many can be found in the narrow lanes about 10 minutes walk north of the fort.

In this area, the 19th century Patwa Haveli / Patwon-ki-haveli is the city's biggest and most important one. It's actually a cluster of five mansions built by a wealthy Jain trader and his sons. Kothari’s Patwa Haveli is particularly impressive, with its breathtaking intricate stonework and artwork, and has been converted to a museum. The entry fee is 250 rupees for foreigners and 100 rupees for Indians.

http://patwahaveli.com/

The magnificent havelis or merchant’s houses, each richly decorated and carved from golden yellow sandstone – Patwon-ki-haveli (House of the Brocade Merchants) is the largest and most elaborate of the famous havelis of Jaisalmer.

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Then the short walk to Nathmalji-Ki-Haveli.

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The builders

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Prem and one of his many local friends

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Finally got the angle and smile that I wanted.

Nathmalji-Ki-Haveli

The Nathmalji-ki-haveli (The Mansion of Nathmalji), the last of the great havelis was built in the late 19th century.

Diwan Mohata Nathmal, then Prime Minister of Jaisalmer built this Haveli in 1885. it was designed by two Muslim brothers Hathi and Lulu. An ethereal building, its construction has an unusual history associated with it; the two architect brothers constructed one half each of the building from the same plan. The two halves turned out to be absolutely dissimilar to each other and are joined together by a faÇade. There is no other building in Jaisalmer that surpasses Nathmal Ki Haveli in quality of workmanship even now. The entire building's faÇade has fine detailing and carvings. The main chamber of this mansion is carved out of rock and the entire frontage of the first floor is carved out of one solitary boulder. Its jharokas (balconies) and jaalis are carved exquisitely, like filigree. The Haveli's interiors are decorated with miniature paintings.

http://www.wondersofrajasthan.com/rajasthan-forts-palaces/havelis-of-jaisalmer.html

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It was just after noon when the tour of the Fort and old town finished and no, I didn’t visit the Government authorised Bhang (cannabis) shop but instead had a chai next door.

Here is the link to Tripsavvy:

You may be surprised to discover that bhang (marijuana) is sold openly in Jaisalmer. The renowned Lassi Shop (previously called the Government Authorized Bhang Shop), outside the first fort gate at Gopa Chowk, has been in business since 1977. It attracts a steady flow of curious customers who are served by the aptly named Doctor Bhang. There's a tempting array of bhang lassis (marijuana milkshakes) bhang cookies, cakes, chocolates and sweets, with potencies ranging from weak to strong. The safari packs, promising a smooth camel ride, are popular with travellers.

Do note: make sure you go to the original bhang shop, now called the Lassi Shop, next to Trotters Travel at the fort gate. The new "government authorized" bhang shop down the street is reportedly not as good. The owners apparently bribed the officials and took the government license.

https://www.tripsavvy.com/places-to-visit-in-jaisalmer-1539657

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Chai making

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Posted by bruceontour 23:58 Archived in India Tagged jaisalmer haveli jaisalmer_fort sonar_quila golden_fort patwa_haveli patwon-ki-haveli patwon_ki_haveli Comments (0)

25 ~ Pay no tax, no rent : Jaisalmer Fort

Graffiti with a difference


View India 18 - 19 on bruceontour's travel map.

Onto the Fort itself.

Standing 76m / 25 yards above the town, enclosed by a 9 km / 5.5 mile wall with 99 bastions, it certainly was an imposing sight.

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Here is the link to Tripsavvy:

There aren't too many places in the world where you can visit a "living" fort but Jaisalmer, in the Thar desert, is one of them. The city's mirage-like yellow sandstone fort is home to thousands of people who have been residing in it for generations. The fort also has a multitude of shops, hotels, restaurants, a palace complex, old haveli mansions, and temples inside it.

Bhati Rajput ruler Rawal Jaisal began building Jaisalmer fort in 1156, making it one of the oldest forts in Rajasthan. It eventually expanded to cover the whole hill and transformed itself into a city, which swelled in population during times of conflict. The fort survived many battles. However, its condition is now rapidly deteriorating due to illegal construction and poor drainage. Waste water has been seeping into the fort's foundations, making it unstable and causing parts to collapse.

https://www.tripsavvy.com/top-palaces-and-forts-in-india-1539345

Here is the link to Tripsavvy:

Jaisalmer's ethereal sandstone fort, which resembles a massive sandcastle rising from the desert, is the city's focal point. The fort was built in 1156 by Rajput ruler Jaisal, who also founded the city at the same time. What really makes it unusual is that it's one of the few living forts in the world. Thousands of people reside inside its walls. It's also home to numerous hotels, guesthouses, temples, handicraft stores, restaurants, and the former maharaja's palatial palace. The palace is open to visitors for a fee, although it does get crowded and could be better maintained. Tickets cost 500 rupees for foreigners, including an audio guide. You'll need to pay 100 rupees extra to take your camera inside. It's pricey, so you may want to skip it!

Unfortunately, the condition of the fort is rapidly deteriorating, as drain water is seeping into its foundations. Hence, many people now choose to stay outside the fort in a hotel with evocative views of it.

https://www.tripsavvy.com/places-to-visit-in-jaisalmer-1539657

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Poha, made up of flattened rice which is steamed and served with spices. Gently tempered with mustard seeds and fennel.

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Entered via the east Gopa Chowk, through the First Fort Gate (Akhai Pol), then up the ramp: Suraj Pol, Ganesh Pol, Hawa Pol and finally Rang Pol.

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Suraj Pol

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Palace of the Maharawal

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Jain temples

One of the main attractions inside the fort is a stunning series of seven interconnected Jain temples that date back to the 15th and 16th centuries. Carved out of sandstone, the detail on them rivals that of the marble Jain temple complex at Ranakpur. You'll need to remove your shoes and all leather items before entering. The temples are open daily from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m., although foreigners may only enter all the sections after 11 a.m. Timings are prone to changing, so do check first. Tickets cost 300 rupees for foreigners. Indians don't have to pay but there is a camera charge.

https://www.tripsavvy.com/places-to-visit-in-jaisalmer-1539657

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Pagdi (Turban) is a Rajasthani headwear worn by men and made up of cotton (printed).

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Pagdi and Mooch (Moustache) are the pride of Rajasthani men.

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Then a climb to the roof top for a great view over Jaisalmer.

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Instead of visiting the armory, Prem showed me where he lived and sipping chai from the roof top had a slightly different view of Jaisalmer below.

Prem is one of the 3,000 people who live within the fort. Looked like more than 3,000. Was told that they pay no tax, no rent. Now approximately 150 hotels and many restaurants are located within the fort dotted around the narrow winding alleyways.

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Prem with his sister's wedding invitation

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Note: For some unknown reason, videos are "foggy" at the bottom.

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Palace of the Maharawal

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Palace of the Maharawal

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Looking south

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Graffiti with a difference

In Jaisalmer, the unique practice of painting wedding invitations on house walls continues.

Caught between the expectations of the world to nurture the rich legacy and the growing aspirations of its youth to take a giant leap forward, Jaisalmer is holding on to many unique customs and traditions.

One of them is the practice of painting wedding invitations on the walls of the house. Tracing the remnants of the past, in the narrow winding streets of the Jaisalmer Fort – oldest living fort in India -- home to old havelis, exquisite stonework and a multitude of narratives, the painted wedding invitations make one of the most intriguing sights.

At the entrance of almost every house is painted Lord Ganesha - the deity invoked before embarking on anything auspicious – announcing the date of the wedding and inviting one and all. “In the case of bride's house, the girl's name is written first and then the groom's name while in the case of groom's house, its vice-versa,” says a middle-aged Anita, who is visiting her parental house, where a wedding has just taken place.

Standing against the backdrop of the colourful invitation her Vasu Family extends, Anita helpfully adds, “The trend of distributing cards began as late as some thirty years ago. Jaisalmer was a small city where everybody knows everybody and this was the perfect way of inviting people and spreading the word around. A family in one street would see it and then pass the message to the others living elsewhere.”

While some prefer to do simple crisp ones in Hindi, a few families pep it up with amusing one-liners. The residents claim it's a tradition that's specific to Jaisalmer in Rajasthan but something that cuts across different Hindu castes and sects living there. According to Tarachand Vyas, the practice runs common to Pushkarna Brahmins, Bhatias, Khatris, and many more. “I was born here in 1940 and have seen these invitations ever since. Marriages or saawas, as we call them, are an auspicious occasion and how do we forget Ganpati on such an important event. So, we call a local painter three to seven days before the wedding, to paint. And it's important to note that the invite stays on the wall till a new wedding is announced and replaces the old one.” Another local citizen chips in, “That's why our weddings used to be so huge, around 2000-3000 people and still are…”

Practiced for centuries, the tradition's popularity hasn't faded a bit. The younger generation considers it an integral part of their culture which is indispensable. “Wedding cards are there but nothing can replace the charm of these wall invitations. Our grandfathers did it, then our fathers did it and now we will do it,” says Prashant Acharya who works as a guide.

https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/society/graffiti-with-a-difference/article2931600.ece

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Posted by bruceontour 01:08 Archived in India Tagged jaisalmer jain jain_temple pagdi mooch jaisalmer_fort sonar_quila golden_fort Comments (0)

24 ~ Protect me from evil eye - Gadisar Lake : Jaisalmer

Day 6 : 7 chillis & a lemon


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What a brochure said about Jaisalmer“It is India’s most exotic and unusual town – a medieval looking place, straight out of the ‘Tales of the Arabian Nights’. This beautiful city is situated inside a huge mud fort and grew as a result of its strategic position on the trading route between India and Central Asia bringing great wealth to the city. It is a tiny jewel in the heart of the Thar Desert – once the capital of the Bhatti Rajputs. Jaisalmer started as an important caravan centre and remnants of caravan sarais still exist.

It was part of the Silk route renowned for the textile, scarfs, antiques and silver jewelry.

Visit this perfect Rajput walled desert city which is like a golden jewel shimmering above the hard sand.”

Another 9am / 09:00 departure and Prem my local Guide was waiting for us at Gadisar Lake – the large natural oasis that attracted Rawal Jaisal to this site.

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Prem

Here is the link to Tripsavvy:

Gadsisar Lake, also called Gadisar Lake, is a huge artificial reservoir that was built by Maharawal Gadsi Singh in the 14th century. It provided the only water supply to the city until 1965. The many small temples and shrines that surround the lake make it an inviting place to relax and spend some time. Migratory waterfowl are an added attraction in winter, along with numerous catfish in the water that love to be fed. Boats are available for hire too. The lake is situated on the southeast edge of the city.

https://www.tripsavvy.com/places-to-visit-in-jaisalmer-1539657

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Buri nazar na lage. (Keep me protected from evil eye). This is very traditional. 7 chillis and a lemon.

Hindus believe that this device drives bad spirits out of the house. This special string of chilies and lemon is also hung in front of businesses for good luck.

Just hang a fresh string of chilies in the house, at the door or on the balcony, or perhaps carry a plastic ‘horn’, which looks like a chili, in your pocket as a lucky charm. Tradition dictates the chilies should be fresh, not dry, to ensure good fortune.

https://www.finedininglovers.com/blog/food-drinks/kitchen-superstition/

https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-significance-in-India-of-hanging-lemon-and-chili-tied-to-a-thread-outside-of-ones-house

Traditional Belief (what people think) or Scientific (ancient) belief? After knowing the reason, all logics seems so simple. Our Ancestor are more scientific than us, they just hide the pure logic and attach it to religion.

https://dharamvigyaan.blogspot.com/2015/12/why-do-we-hang-lemon-and-7-green.html

https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-history-or-significance-of-Nimbu-Mirchi

https://www.thebetterindia.com/51153/explanation-behind-superstitions-in-india/

Then on leaving walked up the bank and the view of Jaisalmer Fort, also locally known as Sonar Quila or more popularly nicknamed the Golden Fort due to the golden aura that seems to engulf the fort during each sunset.

While all Hindus are generally cremated and not buried, things change per state and belief depending on the village or town.
In the foreground was the cemetery where I was told the unmarried are buried as married Hindus are cremated.

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Posted by bruceontour 23:37 Archived in India Tagged jaisalmer gadisar_lake jaisalmer_fort sonar_quila golden_fort Comments (0)

23 ~ Sunset over Sam sand dunes : out of Jaisalmer

Jeep to myself having booked a “shared” jeep


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Being close to the Pakistan border (100 kms / 60 miles), the Indian army had many, many bases here as we approached Jaisalmer. Soldiers stay for 2 years only before being moved to another base.

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It took over an hour to get to the Sam sand dunes out in Rajasthan's Thar desert, about 42 km / 26 miles west out of Jaisalmer. I had the jeep to myself having booked a “shared” jeep. So that was bonus. 1,000 rupees / NZD$22 / US$14.80.

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We had time to stop off at a small group of houses where the locals earnt a living quarrying the local rock.

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Hundreds and hundreds of wind turbines dotted the countryside. Hate to see them all going when the wind really blows which it must do but certainly not today.

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Pass many of the paragliding operators who use jeeps to get their fare paying people up into the skies above.

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Soon it was off the main tar seal road, passing one of the many tourist luxury glamping tent village complexes, proceeded along the sandy track. I was asked by Kabir my jeep driver if I wanted to go to a tourist or non-tourist sand dune? Of course the non-tourist area please.

Decided before the trip not to do an overnight stay “glamping” it up in one of these luxury tent complex. Mainly because of how cold the overnight winter’s temperature could drop to. A wise decision as the buffet dinner food selection back at the Fort Rajwada was the best on tour!

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A tourist filled sand dune

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Kabir of course had his friend Isak the camel man and while he stayed with him, pointed me in the direction of the sand dunes which was not far away and up I climbed. The dunes here are not high at all but the best that India can offer.

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I had over an hour enjoying the peace of this area finding my own space away from the neighbouring dunes with many tourists dotted on them. Yes, tourists on camels plus the local gypsies wanting to perform a dance for me wandered by. You could hear the traffic in the far distance on the road and later the noisy powered paraglider but … it was worth it.

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Slowly the sun dropped below the horizon a few minutes before 6.00pm / 18:00. (Yes, lots of sunset photos!)

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I eventually wandered down the sand dune and Isak still had a hot chai waiting for me that he brewed up on an open fire much earlier and kept it hot by no doubt burying it next to the hot embers.

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Kabir ~ Isak

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It was nearly dark 20 minutes after the sun had dropped when we left going back to Jaisalmer dropping Isak off at his village first. The jeep with no side window (roll down plastic if we had wanted to) so it was fresh air for the hour long trip back. Again was glad for the merino layers that I had taken. Yes, could have stopped and rolled the plastic windows into place.

Back to the hotel and their marvellous buffet dinner.

This hotel had by far the best buffet breakfast and dinner on tour!

Sonal Restaurant - A self-sustainable Rajashtani Fine Dining Restaurant which uses organic and local produce from nearby farms to offer the best of what rajasthani cusine has to offer. The decor and luxurious interiors add to the whole Imperial Experience offered by us at Fort Rajwada.

http://www.fortrajwada.com/

1,000 rupees / NZ$20.20 / US$14 all up.

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Posted by bruceontour 00:58 Archived in India Tagged thar_desert sam_sand_dunes Comments (0)

22 ~ Police & their radar ... Gajner to Jaisalmer

Day 5 : Along the flat boring road with a ridiculous speed limit of just 80 km / 50 miles per hour


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Beautiful presented breakfast and I was asked if I wanted another omelet which of course I couldn’t refuse and said, “Yes please …”. The photo of the second omelet just doesn’t do justice.

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Time to take the outdoor scenes that I took last night so that you can see the comparison in the previous entry.

After breakfast again, it was a 9am / 09:00 departure drive for a 5 hour drive through to Jaisalmer.

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Kilometres after kilometres seeing the trees being protected by the small circle of bricks. With so many brick kilns around here with some billowing out smoke, no wonder ….

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More overloaded trucks with hay.

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Onwards we drove along the flat boring road with a ridiculous speed limit of just 80 km / 50 miles per hour. Yes, police with their speed radar was out and …. you can finish this sentence. Remember this is India ...

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Cotton behind this tractor

Jandals / footwear being left behind by pilgrims heading to Ramdevra Temple. Ramdevra is home to the temple of Baba Ramdevji. Devotees from all over visit the temple all-round the year.

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Dates

Got to Fort Rajwada a 4 star hotel at 2pm / 14:00 and a representative of the local agency was waiting. Was informed that the jeep ride out to the sand dunes to see the sun set was later this afternoon leaving at 3.30pm / 15:30.

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Posted by bruceontour 00:54 Archived in India Comments (0)

21 ~ 2 Hot Water bottles : Gajner

Gajner Palace = best room set up on the trip


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Time was marching on, so it was time to go as my overnight stay was Gajner Palace, another heritage hotel.

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It was 30 minutes out of town, getting there just after 5pm / 17:00. There was no time to wander the village of Gajner by myself.

https://www.heritagehotelsofindia.com/rajasthan/gajner-palace.html

Not much time to explore the buildings and grounds before a non-existent sunset over the lake.

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Here are the "day and night " images from the same spot.

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Told that dinner service started at 7.30pm / 19:30. On arrival it was effectively booked out with several large groups having reserved most of the inside tables. So I was asked if I would sit outside on the courtyard with the local group of dancers and musicians providing the entertainment for the dinner guests. Thankfully my dinner didn’t take that long to arrive as it quickly became colder but thankfully I was dressed for it.

Dinner = Laal Maans - Regional Rajasthan preparation of mutton in a spiced red curry 650 rupees / NZ$13.50 / US$9.10.
Steamed jeera rice - Tomato lemon peas or dried fresh fruit 350 rupees / NZ$24.30 / US$16.80.
Naan bread 110 rupees / NZ$2.30 / US$1.60.
Plus GST and a tip came to 1,200 rupees / NZ$25 / US$16.90.

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The Gajner Palace certainly had the best room set up on the trip – felt like a mini apartment. Pity that it was for just one night.

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A knock on the door and a real nice surprise - 2 hot water bottles.

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Posted by bruceontour 23:43 Archived in India Tagged gajner_palace Comments (0)

20 ~ World’s Smallest Miniature painting : Bikaner

Steady hand needed


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Now 3.30pm / 15:30 and it was back across town by tuk tuk to see the World’s Smallest Miniature Painting.

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I simply don’t have the steady hand to even try something like this. Shiv Swami demonstrated his craft. Yes, I was fascinated.

Shiv held in 2002 and 2003 the Guinness world record for the world's smallest painting.

http://bikanerminiaturearts.com/artist.asp

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Can you see “Bruce in India”, 9 trees, 6 birds and the 3 temples on my nail and rather dried finger? I had to use a magnifying glass to see the fine detail in this magnificent art form.

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Posted by bruceontour 01:29 Archived in India Tagged miniature_painting Comments (0)

19 ~ Bhandasar Jain Temple : Bikaner

Beautiful leaf paintings, frescoes & ornamented mirror work


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Bhandasar Jain Temple is a three-storey temple, famous for its beautiful leaf paintings, frescoes and ornamented mirror work. This temple is constructed using red sand stone with beautiful paintings and yellow-stone carvings on walls, pillars of the sanctum and mandapa. On the walls there are illustrations depicting the lives of the 24 Jain tirthankaras. The temple consist of garbhagriha, antarala, mahamandapa and ardhamandapa. The sanctum is pancharatha (five rathas) is covered by shikhara having karna-amalakas and amalakas at top.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhandasar_Jain_Temple

Jain temple is one of the oldest temples in Bikaner, and was built in the 15th century. It is decorated with mirror work, frescoes and leaf paintings. The temple is built of red sandstone and is divided into three floors. One can see the skyline of Bikaner by climbing to the topmost floor of this temple. It is believed that the temple was made with 40,000 kilograms of ghee instead of mortar, which locals insist seeps through the walls on hot days.

https://www.tourmyindia.com/states/rajasthan/jain-temple-bhandasar.html

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Posted by bruceontour 02:47 Archived in India Tagged jain jain_temple bhandasar_jain_temple bhandasar_temple Comments (0)

18 ~ My Mooch is longer than yours : Bikaner

Wouldn’t even try and grow one like his


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Then a walk through the old town with more shop keepers being willing subjects.

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Starting from top:
Bread Pakora - Bread sliced and filled with potato filling, dipped in chick pea flour mixture which is spiced and deep fried.
Mirchi Bhajia - Green Chillies (not spicy ones) are stuffed with besan (chick pea masala) and deep fried.
Kachori (at bottom).

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Having Javed with me and a tip of 50 rupees / NZ$1 / US0.70, secured the photo op with this guy and his rather impressive mo (moustache). In Hindi known as a “MOOCH”.

And no, I wouldn’t even try and grow one like his.

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Posted by bruceontour 00:36 Archived in India Tagged mo moustache mooch Comments (0)

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