It is said to be one of the strongest forts in India. It isn’t a surprise as a fort sitting on a hilltop with deep trenches on three sides, surrounded by many other hills covered by severely dense tiger infested forests could have been nothing else but a very formidable one. Currently the fort is right in the middle of the Ranthambore Tiger Reserve and National Park. It is said that this region was part of the Chahamana Kingdom of Shakambhari. Shakambhari is where present day Sambhar is. Those who have visited Sambhar Lake will know that there is a very famous and revered Shakambhari temple at Sambhar. The kingdom ruled the many parts of the present day Rajasthan for many centuries until the 12th century. Some historical references say that Chauhans were derived from Chahamanas. Th...Read More
Where a 180 million year old history is fossilised
This is another of the Jaisalmer’s most underrated places after Desert National Park. This is a park as well, a parkin desert of real trees which were here just about 180 million years ago, only difference being that they all are fossilised now. You won’t find any tourists here too, but then who will come to see some caged fossils resembling some unknown graves covered in iron enclosures, lying around in a rocky and barren terrain of the Thar desert. Slice of 180 million year old history Akal Fossil Wood Park isn’t a usual place though. It is one of the only seven geological parks in India. It houses some of the most important remains of geological history from the Indian deserts. Actually, we have 26 National Geological Monuments in India and out of them seven have been declared as...Read More
Well, worst of summer is over. Although with onset of Monsoon, humidity will keep pushing us to limits. It’s safe to be in homes therefore due to all sorts of reasons, and surely weather is the least of our concern. In any case, by the time it is safe or rather safer (than now) to travel in times of COVID19, it will be already winter perhaps. So, travelling to desert won’t be a bad option. This post is regarding keeping yourself ready for it, or giving you just another travel idea. Map of the Desert National Park All the birds that are found here and they are really too many, including the migratory ones. In Indian hot desert of Thar, Jaisalmer is already a hotspot for tourists. But among the attraction of usuals glamorous tourist spots like Sam Dunes, Sonar fort, havelis, Bada B...Read More
When story transcends literature and becomes an art and drama
We all have listened to stories in our childhood. And, I am certainly not talking here about text book stories but about bedtime stories listening to grandmas in particular. It never used to be a simple narration. Grandmas will be sourcing all elements of theatrics to make it as dramatic as possible. That used to be its most fascinating part even if content in the story was good for nothing. That is perhaps the strength of story telling. A very good content can be very boring to listen, while an ordinary story can be made captivating by a story teller. And, it has nothing to do with being a kid. A good story mesmerises adults equally. Fortunately, art of storytelling has seen a great revival recently. From audio stories to story telling festivals, people are enjoying it. Udaipur Ta...Read More
In the maps, Gadsisar Lake of Jaisalmer is said to be as big as the city itself! Besides size, it also shares most of its age. In about 800 years of the existence of the city, this lake has been there for almost 700 years, quenching its thirst! Neither of them would have existed for so long without the other. Just outside the Gadsisar Lake (stone spells it wrong) At a glance around you can see the huge mounds of sand on the other side. Even if you approach closer, you will feel as if you have reached the edge of the desert. But, it actually is the high and long bund of the Gadsisar Lake. Moving ahead, you will find a huge arched gateway with two watch towers on either side, five beautifully carved oriel windows and one big entrance and two smaller ones on the either side of it...Read More
Lodurva, a temple to see and a love story for delight
The vast barren dunes of Thar are strewed with many mysteries of history… many of them untold, a few unexplained. A lot of it might be because of absence of more written account of those times. Erstwhile capital of the Jaisalmer Rawals- Lodurva stands one among those. Nothing remains of the capital city, but for a beautiful Jain temple. The deserted ruins of Lodurva, the Bhati Rajput capital before Jaisalmer, are 17 km northwest of Jaisalmer and 10 km beyond Amar Sagar. Lodurva itself is on the banks of river Kak. Shikhars of temples as seen from outside There would have been a perfect logic for any strongman to rule this place. This place was on ancient silk route and entry point to India, hence rich traders would have been passing through here on regular basis. This would have als...Read More
Bada Bagh: An oasis and cenotaphs side by side!
It was an amazing sight- with Royal Cenotaphs of the Bada Bagh in the foreground and towering windmills in the background. A modern technology making a backdrop for a slice of history. Bada Bagh or Bara Bagh was the first wind power project in Rajasthan in private sector at the start of this century. Completing the view was a dense garden in the foreground, almost like an oasis in the desert. It actually was. Huge windmills, cenotaphs and a secluded garden all together gave a feeling of an eerie calmness. Entering the cenotaph complex It was astounding that there was no other tourist in the Bada Bagh cenotaph complex when we were there, and it was surprising also considering the fact, that whole complex looked too impressive to be missed by any tourist. A view from above ...Read More
Those who have been to Udaipur and would have gone out in the evening for a stroll along any of its lakes, they would have certainly noticed an illuminated castle looking like almost hanging in thin air towards the west of the city. Well, in daylight you can locate it very clearly, unless it is too misty. It’s Sajjan Garh. A view from Karni Mata temple- Doodh Talai, Pichola Lake and Sajjangarh atop the hill in the background. In comparison to other historical structures related to Mewar, Sajjan Garh Palace is comparatively recent one, still it is 135 years old. More interestingly, the construction of this palace took place when India had already become a British colony officially. Palace was built by Maharana Sajjan Singh who was at helm for ten years from 1874 to 1884. Hen...Read More
Guns and colours at Holi of valour in Menar
So, you would have enjoyed the Holi of colours the previous day, but another part of India is today celebrating Holi in its unique way. I have often referred to Menar near Udaipur as a Bird’s village. But I have also always mentioned that this particular village has a very unique history. So, when rest of the north India, celebrates Holi with colours, this tiny village celebrates Holi with its gunshots. Its Holi not of myth but a history of courage, a daring win. Also read: Morning lights at Menar - The birds village Going by the Indian caste structure, Menar is known as a village of Brahmins. But interestingly in Mewar region brahmins of Menar (surnamed as Menarias) are also referred to as Brahma Kshatriyas, and history has big role in naming them so. On the third day of Holi...Read More
मरु देश में होली के रंग aka Colours of Holi in Desert!
होली के मौसम में जिक्र एक और अनूठी होली का। यह होली राजस्थान की है। यह है बीकानेर इलाके की तणी होली। होली में तणी को काटने की प्रथा को तकरीबन 300 साल पुराना बताया जाता है। हालांकि इसके बारे में ठीक-ठीक कहना मुश्किल है। पुराने लोग बताते हैं कि यह परंपरा रियासत काल से चली आ रही है। बताया जाता है कि इसका मकसद वहां के पुष्करणा समाज से जुड़े जोशी समुदाय के लोगों को होली की उत्सव में भागीदारी कराने से है। यहां यह मान्यता है कि होलिका जोशी समुदाय से थी इसलिए उन्हें होलिका के जल जाने का अफसोस रहता है। इसलिए इस समुदाय के लोग होली की स्थापना होने से लेकर होलिका दहन तक सब्जी में छोंक नहीं लगाते। न ही वे होलिका दहन देखने के लिए ही जाते हैं। Among many different colours of Holi in India, this one is from western end of the Rajasthan, from the heart of the That Desert. This is Tani Holi of Bi...Read More