Rajasthan-II Day 5

As it was the last day of our trip, we thought why not make most out of it. At sunrise we went up on the roof for a fabulous view of Jaisalmer fort and city. Cold winter breeze with hot tea in hand and mighty ‘Sonar Quila’(jaisalmer fort) in front, could the morning be any better?

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After getting ready and having breakfast, we set out to see the only living fort in India – Jaisalmer fort.

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It is the second oldest fort in Rajasthan after Chittor and still has one –fourth of Jaisalmer’s population still living and working inside it. It was amazing to see the fort bustling with activity, a great contrast to other forts that only tell tales of the past. Once inside, we first visited the very famous Jain temple, and we were awestruck with the sheer brilliance of its architecture. It is built similar to Dilwara temple, with each pillar having sculpted figures. Artisans have covered all the stones with beautiful and elegant carvings.

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We said our morning prayers and did a tour of the temple taking in its beauty and calmness.

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After half an hour or so, we came out of the temple to the streets of fort that were filled with shops  of various kinds selling handmade paintings, diaries, jewellery, souvenirs. We bought few souvenirs for friends and home as a reminder of Jaisalmer fort.

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Houses after houses made of yellow sandstone, glowing in bright sunlight like they were made of gold; was the sight that greeted us from the lookout points of the fort. We could now, standing here, truly get why Jaisalmer is called ‘Golden City’. Watching people going about doing there day to day work as we passed through the narrow lanes of the fort, was fascinating.

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After setting the image of mighty Jaisalmer fort, we started our return journey to Jodhpur.

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Next we stopped in Khichan, which comes under Jodhpur district. This place is famous for the sighting of Demoiselle cranes. When we go for bird watching, it usually means through binoculars and you would be lucky if you see 4-5 together, that’s exactly what I expected. But what i saw was something i had never imagined. There on the bank of small lake were thousands of grey coloured cranes just sitting as if waiting for audience. What a sight!!!

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I had never seen so birds together at a time in a single place. Wow just wow!! We bought bird seed and started feeding it to birds; some flew to our side and started pecking on their food.

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It was such a pleasant sight. After an hour of fun and frolic, we resumed our further journey. The last stoppage of our trip was Osianji Jain temple. What can be better way to end a trip than visiting such a divine place? The best feature of this temple is its spire. It’s really unique piece of architecture; its minute carvings, intricate elegant design is just marvellous.

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We prayed in Jain temple and also visited the Sachaya Mata Mandir.

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After the divine Osian, we straight headed to Jodhpur railway station; marking the end of this wonderful 5-day trip that was filled with fun and frolic along with the exploration of the Incredible Rajasthan.

Rajasthan-II Day 4

After watching sunrise fromthe terrace of Renuka hotel, we drove towards Tanot Mata Mandir.

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We started early today as we had to reach Tanot Mata Mandir which is 120km from Jaisalmer city, and very close to Indian Border.The drive throughout till temple is filled with scenic beauty of sand dunes. We could see only Thar Desert all around us. And what a landscape it painted, reminding me of all those movie songs that are shot in desert. The fun started when we started to sing them out loud. On the way we crossed the Indira Gandhi Canal, which is after Ramgarh village. This canal is considered to be the lifeline of people of Rajasthan, especially those living in desert areas. As we neared the temple, we saw many military trucks, jeeps passing by, carrying the army soldiers who stay away from their family to keep us safe and sound with our family. We saluted them and each of them acknowledged it with a humble smile. At around 10.00 am we reached Tanot Mata Temple.

Tanot Mata Mandir
Tanot Mata Mandir

This is the last point where civilians can visit without permission. The temple is known for its significance during Indo-Pak war of 1965. It is said that, India soldiers took refuge in the temple, hundreds of shells/canons fell but couldn’t harm the temple. Inside the Tanot mata temple, we saw some of canons kept on display that fell during the war. After a quick visit, we got busy in getting permission to see Indian border –BP609. It took us 1hr approx to finally get permission, but it was totally worth it, as it’s not every day that you could Indian soldiers standing day-night to guard our borders. When we reached BP609, the soldier there asked for the permission slip, after providing him that we chatted, asking him about the borders, his family and his hometown etc. There was a barbed wire boundary running for miles marking the end of territory. The soldier told us that there is 24hrs electricity at the border, even if there is breakdown in anywhere in india there is still electricity there. After spending some more time at BP609, we headed back to Jaisalmer city visiting Gantewala temple which is some 5km away from Tanot mata temple.

Gantewala Mandir
Gantewala Mandir

At Ramgarh we stopped for lunch in a small dhabba. Though the place was small, the food was delicious especially sev-tomato curry (a rajasthani speciality).  Once in the city, we went to our room for a quick freshen up and headed to the much awaited Sam Sand Dunes. When we reached there we saw the vast Thar Desert inviting us towards itself with open arms.

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There was lots of hustle-bustle going on of tourists coming and going, the camel owners calling out to entice tourists to hire their camels or cart, still there was a sense of serenity that provided me tranquillity, beckoning me to explore more of this sea of sand.

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Since there were 8 of us, we hired a camel cart as it sounded more economical than individual camels. The cart took us around the sand dunes; we were too mesmerized to speak for first few minutes and then came the pic spree, where we just couldn’t stop clicking. The cart fellow was a jolly guy chatting with us, telling desert stories.

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He also showed us seashells, which one can sometimes find in this desert, telling us that once a vast sea existed in the place where we stood now and because of climatic changes on earth, the sea formed the mighty Himalayas leaving a immeasurable and magnificent Thar desert behind. We got down at a spot with sand dunes and enjoyed ourselves playing with the fine sand, letting it loose from our hands, making different poses for camera and watching the sun set to our hearts content.The sunset was a pretty sight, changing colour of sand from bright afternoon yellow to setting sun orange to almost gone red to pure calm white.

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When it started to get dark and cold, we decided to head back to hotel renuka. It was around 7-7.30pm when we reached back to our room. All of us were too tired to go out for dinner; hence we ordered food in the room itself. Also we had heard that a shop owned by a Mr. Bhatia sells amazing laddoos, and as we were thinking of going out to get them, the hotel caretaker offered to get them for us. We were delighted to hear this and asked him to arrange laddoos. Thus at dinner, the caretaker came with our ordered food and the delicious laddoos. We had a merry time; chatting, laughing and enjoying the tasty food.  After dinner, we went up on the terrace that provided a great view of Jaisalmer fort. We stood there watching the fort glow with the night lighting and enjoying the cold weather.

 

view of Jaisalmer fort
view of Jaisalmer fort

Later around 11.00 pm we retired to our respective rooms.