ultramarinus – beyond the sea

DAY 3 (1/4): THE GOLDEN LIVING FORT, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India, 2018.11.26

Known as the Golden Fort due to its yellow sandstone, the Jaisalmer Fort is also famous as a living fort with its 2000 inhabitants still reside within its walls today.  With 99 bastions along its fortress wall, a series of Jain temples and a splendid palace for the Rajput royal family, Jaisalmer Fort alone is already a worthy reason on its own for travelers to venture 776km west of Delhi into the Thar Desert.  We had two full days in Jaisalmer, and planned to spend the entire first day at the fort.  In the fort, there are attractions, restaurants, cafes, souvenir shops, and a series of narrow lanes that would keep us busy for hours.

Some visitors would choose to stay the night at the fort.  We decided not to do so due to the vulnerability of the ancient structure in coping with the negative impact caused by mass tourism.   Studies in recent years discover that Jaisalmer Fort is in fact in danger of crumbling from inside.  Many suggest the poor water supply and sewage systems hastily installed in the past 30 years and the water leakage from these systems into the fort foundation is the main threat for the fort, a sandstone structure that has withstood sandstorms and earthquakes for over 1000 years.  Built as a desert structure in 1156 by King Rawal Jaisal, the structure of Jaisalmer Fort is particularly sensitive to water.  The increase of regional rain in recent years and number of tourists staying inside the fort have made the matter worse.

01It was only a 5 minute walk from our hotel to the main gate of the fort.  From the parking lot, we could see part of the fort palace and the entry watch tower.

02Beyond the watch tower we gradually moved uphill through a series of gates into the interior of the fort.

03A series of four main gates: Akshya Pol, Ganesh Pol, Suraj Pol, and Hawa Pol formed the entry procession and defense network for Jaisalmer Fort.

04Tourism has given the fort a second life in the modern time.

05Through the last gate Hawa Pol (Gate of Wind), we would soon arrive at Dussehra Chowk, the main square in the fort.

06Cow at Hawa Pol Gate.

07Dussehra Chowk, the main square of Jaisalmer Fort, is flanked by exquisite buildings.  This square was also the main arrival point for camel caravans back in the medieval times.

08The most imposing structure at Dussehra Chowk is undoubtedly the royal palace.

09Passing by the entrance to the palace, we decided to first visit the Jain temples (with limited opening hours) in the morning and left the palace for the afternoon.

10We spent the entire day at the fort.  As the day went by, more and more visitors arrived at the Dussehra Chowk.

11From Jain temples to the palace, we spent much of the day wandering around the narrow lanes in the fort.

12Around 2000 inhabitants still reside in the fort today, despite some buildings have been converted into hotels, cafes and souvenir shops.

13Further away from the main attractions, we encountered a more domestic side of the fort.

14Hindu images and touristic ornaments appear here and there in the small lanes in the fort.

15Henna is popular among tourists coming to Rajasthan.

16Lakshminath Temple is a famous Hindu temple in the fort.

17After visiting the Jain Temples and royal palace, we went up to one of the 99 bastions.  One Western tourist was playing a guitar, while several others sat along the edge of the fortification to enjoy the view of Jaisalmer.

18From the bastion, we could see our hotel First Gate Home Fusion, including the rooftop restaurant and the balcony of our room.

19After a long day of touring, we walked back down the same route where we came up in the morning.

20The imposing view of the palace from the parking lot would stayed long in our memories.

 

***
Posts on 2018 Rajasthan:-

Day 1: Jodhpur
DAY 1.1: IN TRANSIT TO RAJASTHAN
DAY 1.2: PAL HAVELI & THE OMELETTE MAN, Jodhpur
DAY 1.3: SPLENDOR OF THE SUN FORT, Mehrangarh, Jodhpur
DAY 1.4: SUNSET OVER THE BLUE CITY, Mehrangarh, Jodhpur
DAY 1.5: SADAR MARKET AND GHANTA GHAR CLOCKTOWER, Jodhpur

Day 2: Jodhpur, Osian, Jaisalmer
DAY 2.1: MARBLE CENOTAPH JASWANT THADA, Jodhpur
DAY 2.2: MEDIEVAL STEPWELLS, Mahila Bagh Ka Jhalra, Gulab Sagar, & Toorji Ka Jhalra, Jodhpur
DAY 2.3: PILGRIM OASIS IN THAR DESERT, Sachiya Mata Temple, Osian
DAY 2.4: SUNRISE AT THE FIRST GATE OF GOLDEN FORT, Jaisalmer

Day 3: Jaisalmer
DAY 3.1: THE GOLDEN LIVING FORT, Jaisalmer
DAY 3.2: JAIN TEMPLES PART 1, Jaisalmer
DAY 3.3: JAIN TEMPLES PART 2, Jaisalmer
DAY 3.4: FORT PALACE, Jaisalmer

Day 4: Jaisalmer
DAY 4.1: RESERVOIR OF THE GOLDEN CITY, Gadsisar Lake, Jaisalmer
DAY 4.2: ARCHITECTURAL JEWEL OF RAJASTHAN, Patwon Ki Haveli Part 1, Jaisalmer
DAY 4.3: ARCHITECTURAL JEWEL OF RAJASTHAN, Patwon Ki Haveli Part 2, Jaisalmer
DAY 4.4: DESERT HERITAGE, Hotel Nachana Haveli and Thar Heritage Museum, Jaisalmer
DAY 4.5: LAST STROLL IN THE GOLDEN CITY, Jaisalmer

Day 5: Pushkar
DAY 5.1: RANIKHET EXPRESS
DAY 5.2: 52 BATHING GHATS, Pushkar
DAY 5.3: SUNSET OVER SACRED WATER, Pushkar

Day 6: Pushkar & Jaipur
DAY 6.1: SUNRISE OVER PUSHKAR LAKE, Pushkar
DAY 6.2: GRANDEUR OF THE MAHARAJA, City Palace, Jaipur
DAY 6.3: IN SEARCH OF 1860 CARL ZEISS CAMERA, Jaipur

Day 7: Jaipur
DAY 7.1: AMBER FORT, Jaipur
DAY 7.2: JAIGARH FORT, Jaipur
DAY 7.3: MAHARAJA’S ASTRONOMICAL LEGACY, Jantar Mantar, Jaipur
DAY 7.4: PALACE OF WINDS, Hawa Mahal, Jaipur

Day 8: Bhangarh, Abhaneri & Agra
DAY 8.1: ON THR ROAD TO AGRA
DAY 8.2: HAUNTED RUINS, Bhangarh, Rajasthan
DAY 8.3: CHAND BAORI, Abhaneri, Rajasthan
DAY 8.4: THE ABANDONED CAPITAL OF MUGHAL EMPIRE, Fatehpur Sikri, Agra, Uttar Pradesh
DAY 8.5: FRIDAY MOSQUE, Fatehpur Sikri, Agra, Uttar Pradesh

Day 9: Agra
DAY 9.1: CROWN OF THE PALACES, Taj Mahal, Agra, Uttar Pradesh
DAY 9.2: AGRA FORT, Agra, Uttar Pradesh
DAY 9.3: RAWATPARA SPICE MARKET, Agra, Uttar Pradesh
DAY 9.4: SUNSET AT MEHTAB BAGH, Agra, Uttar Pradesh

Day 10: Delhi
DAY 10.1: TRAIN 12627, Agra to Delhi
DAY 10.2 : HUMAYUN’S TOMB, Delhi
Day 10.3: NIZAMUDDIN BASTI, Delhi

 

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