Thursday October 28

Breakfast at the hotel
Food - B
Service - A

We left the hotel to visit the Jaisalmir Fort also known as Sonargarh (Golden Fort). The fort stands amidst the golden stretches of the Great Thar Desert, on Trikuta Hill, and has been the scene of many battles. Its massive yellow sandstone walls are a tawny lion color during the day, fading to honey-gold as the sun sets, thereby camouflaging the fort in the yellow desert. For this reason, it is known as the "Golden Fort".

The fort is a wonderful example of a medieval "working" fort with it's magnificent architecture but it is ruined by the life style and callousness of the residents. It is also extremely overcrowded, and continues toward further decay and eventual demise, particularly by the present use of "piped in" water and the waste run off. It is still a must see.

Our guide's family was originally from the fort but his grandfather left with the Maharaja, when he left for new palace outside the fort in the city.

Within the fort walls there are many Havelis. Haveli is the term used for a private mansion in India and Pakistan. The word haveli is derived from Persian meaning "an enclosed place". They share similar features with other mansions derived from Islamic Architecture such as the traditional mansions in Morocco called Riads.

Visited three of the most impressive Havelis, outside the fort.
1. Salim Singh Ki Haveli - The family still lives here and no visitors are allowed.
2. Patwan Ji Ki Haveli - thus is the most important and the largest haveli, as it was the very first erected in Jaisalmer. It is not a single haveli but a cluster of 5 small havelis. The first one in the row is also the most popular one and is also known as Kothari's Patwa Haveli. It was commissioned and constructed in the year 1805 by Guman Chand Patwa, then a rich trader of jewellery and fine brocades, and is the biggest and the most ostentatious. This is the only one open for visitors.

Numbers 2 and 3 are boarded up, family lives in number 4 and the Government owns 1 & 5
Nathmal Ki Haveli - 2 sectioned architecture. Tazia Tower - from a distance.

Lunch - Trio, Food B+, Service B+, Bengali waiter.

After lunch we went to a jewelry store that specialized in old silver. It was an intriguing experience in that the shop was in the basement of his house. I bought some jewelry which he adjusted the size of and also willingly fixed my watch band.

Went back to the hotel and our guide left for the day.

We got picked up by Kuldip to go watch the sunset at the dunes in the Thar Dessert and have an open air dinner at the Prince Desert Camp. The dunes were almost 45 minutes away. We got out of the car and rode a camel to go over the dunes. The Thar plays a big role in Indian history and also in fiction, beyond it lies today's Pakistan.

The camel was teenage female named Michael Jordan for her long legs, per the camel's young owner Ali. He got the camel up and started and tossed the reins to me. Umm okay, fortunately one of us knew what was expected.

I have always wanted to see TheThar and the sand dunes and sunset camel ride, and Ali, all a neat experience. I did suffer the next couple of days from the camel ride but it I enjoyed and would do it again if the opportunity rose.

Went in to have dinner, had a drink while watching with dance performance.

Since it was Thursday, a no meat day we were given a Vegetarian Thali, with profuse apologies from the management.

Food - B
Service - B

Went back to the hotel and retired for the night all tired but happy.

No comments:

Post a Comment