Friday, 25 January 2013

A Mirage


Watching through the window of my hotel room, it appeared to me A Mirage.  “सोनार किला ” -  "Sonar Qila", with open arms, had just welcomed me a short while back.

सोनार किला                
Tired and worn out after nearly a 14 hours drive my first rendezvous with Jaislamer got me super excited and then tiredness vanished in thin air. Fascinated, amazed, and spellbound – I just couldn't stop gazing at this super structure near which our car halted for directions to the hotel. 


The Golden City caught me surprised, hard to believe the existence of something of this kind on earth. But then there were bigger surprises ahead. Driving through the zigzag lanes of the fort, the car halted outside a gate, reception of the Hotel of our stay. Confused as I entered it was actually a hotel inside the fort. There are several such hotels within the vicinity of the Jaislamer fort. Not just hotels, there are also people residing and owning houses within this fort complex.

Hotel
At first I could not stop clicking pictures of the hotel, my room, of the view from my room….

Entry to my Room
Window Side Sitting
Astounded with this piece of Mirage, we then headed for some finger licking Rajasthani food.  Flabbergasted as we all were, its intensity increased manifold after the Superb Lunch. Though I had eaten Rajasthani food before, but the taste, the variety I got here in Jaislamer was simply outstanding.  

Hotel Terrace
City View From Hotel Terrace
However, even during my lunch, I was super distracted with the view around as the lunch was organized at the terrace of the hotel. I was constantly caught in confusion between my dream and real world. Actually I couldn't draw the line. I had no idea whether where I am is a real world or an imaginary one.

I have no idea or count of the hours I spend on that terrace that day. The realization is just from the fact that I went there for lunch and retired to my room only post my evening cup of tea.

Hotel View
Even after coming back to my room, there was no scope of rest but just the excited kid inside me kept propelling me to explore further.

Lanes of Fort
Day 2, in Jaislamer, started with a trip to the “Sonar Qila”. After visiting it I got the answer to my question why it had been christened as the “Sonar Qila” by Satyajit Ray. This golden super structure blemishes in the golden hues of the desert ambiance.The setting sun in its most colorful shades gives it a complete fairy tale look. This living fort, over 800 years old, has been a witness to the scenes of many battles. But today its home to nearly half the population of Jaislamer besides also being a major tourist hub. The main attractions inside the fort are: Raj Mahal (Royal palace), Jain temples  and the Laxminath temple.

Inside the Fort
Jain Temple
After spending nearly half a day at the Qila, we meandered through the narrow lanes of the fort and headed for a different terrace for some different variety and taste of Rajasthani food. Having enjoyed the sun, the sand and the sustenance we then proceeded to explore the Golden City further.

Strolling in the Fort
Driving through the city we reached our next destination – Gadisar Lake. Amidst shrines and temples boating at this lake was super fun and thoroughly an enjoyable experience.

Entry for Boating
Captured while Boating
Exit of Lake
Near the Gadisar Lake, there are also quite a few options of entertainment. Get to enjoy Rajasthani folk music, puppet shows, and a little shopping place in there.

Stuff To Buy
But for shopping there is definitely no better place than the fort area, which houses quite a few shops. Get lovely pieces of Mirror work, tie and dye, applique bed covers, silver jewelry, fabrics and rugs among others. I had great time shopping at Sadar Bazar, Sonaron ka Bass, Rajasthani Govt. shop and Khadi Gramuddyog Emporium.

Applique Work
Shops In Fort Area
Another most different and one of the best experiences was the journey to the Sand dunes. We reached there post lunch and had to hurry up so as to enjoy the sunset. Quickly we got on back on our camels, and in no time we were amidst the golden sand dunes. We reached a point where we could only see the sky above, sand dunes around, and right in front of my eyes was the sundown. I long to capture that moment at least once more. Thereafter, we went further in the sand dunes and from a distance we were shown a porous divide – the Pakistani side of sand dunes.

Camel Cart
The Setting Sun
The Sand Dunes
As night set we reached our tents in sand dunes where we enjoyed camp fire with Rajasthani folk music, dance and food. Before, the lovely evening fainted from my mind, it was time to sit on the camel cart and we were on our way to capture the rising sun.

Sun Rise
Spreading Sun Rays
With the warmth of the sun rays penetrating inside me, my mind still strolling in those crests and troughs, one of the best vacations I ever had was coming to an end – Journey to the Mirage. 

6 comments:

  1. Wow , beautifully written wish to go back again to jaisalmer......luk forward to more of ur posts.....

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  2. Wow , beautifully written wish to go back again to jaisalmer......luk forward to more of ur posts.....

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  3. It looks really beautifull. I want to go Jaisalmer with family...its look like new adventure.

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  4. I have never been to Jaisalmer but the way I felt after reading your post above was like experiencing it myself... beautifully put up in words... I believe you may be a reason for peoples' expense by pushing them to go there or you may be saving them their money by making them virtually experience the place already through your words...

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  5. Lovely post with beautiful captures!!

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  6. You motivate me to travel :)

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