Jaisalmer

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In 1156, Jaisal, a Bhati Rajput ruler, began building his fort of the yellow sandstone which blends so seamlessly with the surrounding Great Thar Dessert.  At sunset the massive fort turns from pale sand to a warm golden honey colour and from a distance is invisible to its enemies. 
Jaisalmer Fort 
The largest and only living fort in the world - from the rooftop
restaurant and lounge of the Shahi Palace Hotel

 

Dev and his brothers have worked hard to build their hotel and make it a success and I was happy with my eco decision to stay outside the Fort.   It was very tempting but the pressure of visitors and the 50,000 gallons a day of imported water they require is taking it's toll on the structure.  The sewage system is leaking water into the foundations, doing what sandstorms and earthquakes have so far failed to do, undermine the fort.  It is listed as one of the 100 most endangered heritage sites in the world and the Maharaja is working with international groups to save it before it's too late

 

Entrance to the Golden City from the ramparts

 

The city beyond the walls is immense
 

Street within the Fort and evidence of our impact

Australia's
 contribution to the cultural life of the fort
 
Moti Mahal One of the forts 5 integrated palaces
The fort has only fallen to an enemy twice.   As was customary when facing defeat the women donned their wedding finery and jewels and marched to commit
Jauhar on fires thoughtfully lit for them.   The men wearing saffron robes then opened the doors to the fort and fought to the death.
   24,000 women died in the first Jauhar, 16,000 in the second.  On the third there was no time to build a fire so the men slit their throats rather than let them be taken.  Reinforcements arrived in time to save the Fort but not the women

 
Many of the beds in our Indian hotels are hard but none as hard as these appear
Bedroom of a very large Maharaja.
Spartan when compared with the formal rooms
By comparison the ceilings are positively decadent

 

Residence within the fort


The young escapee!
Jain Temple

Jainism believes that the Universe and all its substances or entities are eternal, having no beginning or end with no need of a Creator or manager. The Universe runs itself in accordance with its own cosmic laws



Chapel in one of the seven Jain Temples in the Fort

Depictions of the Jain Gods are always represented as seated with their legs crossed in front, the toes of one foot resting close upon the knee of the other, and the right hand lying over the left in the lap

If it isn't exquisitely carved it can't be Jain
The Fort from a distance.  To the distant left are the wind turbines that power the lights on the border with Pakistan


The Cenotaphs of Bada Bagh
It was the custom to build a cenotaph for each Bhatti ruler. The first was for Mararawal Jait Singh who reigned from 1470 - 1506. The death of a young prince from a mystery illness in 1947 was interpreted as a bad omen and the building of cenotaphs was discontinued
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