HERITAGE TRIP TO JODHPUR &JAISALMER – SHIVAM GOEL
The Asian Lenses Forum is an initiative of the NIIT UNIVERSITY, its main motive is to see the world with an Asian perspective. It organized a 5 day trip for the student of the NIIT University to Jodhpur and Jaisalmer where we went through the historic places with their associated tales which made us introspect ourselves and think of what we are today!
Let’s start with the 5 days trip through words.
It was a bright sunny morning of July 19, 2016 we all were very excited to go for this trip as we got free from our exams a few days back and only this was not the reason, being in 1st year it was the very first trip for me and my college friends so we were a bit extra excited.
All our bags were packed and we were ready to leave, as soon as our traveler came we loaded the traveler with a very high zeal and we started off with our journey of more than 500 km towards Jodhpur. The journey was filled with fun and joy, the whole way we joked around, danced, sang songs and much more and at the same time it was tiring too, we stopped at small intervals to have some refreshments.
At around 8 pm we reached our destination, we checked into our hotel rooms after that and rested for an hour then we went to “Shastri Circle” to have some local Jodhpuri food (street food) a unique thing I tasted over there was “Girlfriend Chat” which was as spicy as a girlfriend could be! Jokes apart it was spicy as hell, we were crying like babies after eating that, that spicy it was, when asked, the vendor told he used a different spice named as ‘long mirch’ and then we knew what made it that spicy. I think this is the thing I will remember about Jodhpur the most. And that’s how we ended our day after returning to our hotel rooms.
So we started day 2 by visiting the “Umaid Bhavan Palace” which is named after Maharaja Umaid Singh. He was 31st Rathore ruler of Marwar, now it is currently owned by Maharaja Gaj Singh, He is the current king of Jodhpur and to our luck, he was in the town when we visited. Most of the palace has been converted to the hotel managed by the Taj Group. Then we went to “Jaswant Thada” where the corpse of the royal family was laid before here they were laid in “Mandore Garden”. There we saw a traditional Rajasthani instrument named as “Ravan Hatha” which had a melodious sound which was very soothing to hear. There we made a wish by tying a knot in front of the temple and then we went to have our lunch as we were starving after roaming around so much.
Then after that, we witnessed the best thing in the whole trip a “POLO MATCH”. Well, it was the first time we were watching a polo match, and that too while sitting right behind the king of Jodhpur. We also met the king and had a photograph with him that was the best time we had there and this was something you won’t find everywhere, it was the best!
After having watched that exciting match we went to Mehrangarh Fort, which was HUGE and standing tall unleashing such a great history behind, made us feel like the real explorers. It had such a ravishing history which amazed us to the core. It was a sign of royalty; India was undoubtedly a golden bird! Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder.
And after we went to our rooms and then to shopping in the local market nearby.
We started day 3 by visiting the “Mandore Garden” which was the old capital of Jodhpur where the corpse of the rulers were laid. The one thing worth noticing over there was the architecture of memorials, which changed with the era of different rulers. After exploring the place we left for Jaisalmer.
On the way, we visited Osian Temple, in which on of the most significant temple was Jain temple. I was a bit astonished when I came to know that there was a ritual that anyone wearing black could not enter inside the temple and there was a board which prohibited women from entering while they were on menstruation period, I felt a bit awkward at that moment but let’s not go more into that topic and moving ahead we then drove up to Jaisalmer. We stopped for refreshments as this journey was around 400 km which was again very very tiring. We reached Jaisalmer around 7 pm, then we went to have our dinner at a restaurant named “Desert Boys Dhani”. We enjoyed our food with some Rajasthani folk dance and then some “shero Shayari” which were amazing and made us laugh our guts out, we had a great time there.
At night we went to the terrace of our hotel and the view that we could see from there really took our breath away. We could see the Jaisalmer fort illuminated in lights, it was just amazing to watch. There I sat alone for some time thinking about myself what are my goals and what am I doing to achieve it! There I talked to the inner me and it was just amazing, beautiful, it felt like I really found the bull’s eye which I have to hit in my life.
Well, it was the 4th day of this trip, everything was going smooth and as planned. The first place we visited in Jaisalmer was the “Gadisar Lake” there was a gate which is said to be made by a prostitute. It is said that when the king came to know that it was being built by a prostitute then he ordered his men to break it, but that lady was clever and she built a temple at the top of that gate.Previously, kings never used to break temple and that’s how she saved the gate from being broken but the royal family never used that gate as it was considered that going below that gate meant going under the legs of that lady. So, they had another gate which they used to go to that lake.
After that our guide explained us some differences between the terms that were commonly used in Rajasthan, first one was the difference between ‘mer’ and ‘ner’ like Jaisalmer and Bikaner it meant that the place which ended with ‘mer’ had its fort built on top of a hill and where ‘ner’ was used it was built on a plain ground. And the other one was the difference between ‘pur’ and ‘bad’ like Jodhpur and Ahmedabad, where ‘pur’ was used it meant that a Hindu ruler settled that city and where ‘bad’ was used it meant a Mughal ruler settled that city.
After that we went to see the “Golden Fort” also known as Jaisalmer Fort, there the main attraction were Jain temples, in all, there were 6666 statues of tiraths which sum up to 24, and surprisingly it is believed that Jainism has 24 tiraths.
That fort was so massive that we couldn’t even complete the whole tour of the fort in just one day.
The fort also had its uniqueness. It is the only fort in India where people still live inside the fort, and due to this, there is a big water problem with the fort. The water that is consumed, is seeped down in the land thus it is making it hollow day by day as the fort is built on a hill of sand and not on a rock. Some walls have been falling down recently, which has raised the eyebrows of the government as well the residence of that fort.
After the fort, we went directly to our desert camp which was another 100kms away from that place. It was evening while we reached there, after a rest of 2 hrs we went into the desert on camel back, we did camel ride which was bumpy but fun. The funniest part was when the camel used to sit and stand that was some giggling part! Then we came back to our camp, and all those who were residing came together and sat around a bonfire. It was more like a socializing session with other people, I went into the conversation with a group from Assam, those people were really humble to talk to. Then we enjoyed Rajasthani folk dance and saw a man playing with fire which was very very dangerous. He was such an expert in that, that he was doing it without any safety measures which amazed us so much. While we were watching all this, we were served some “pakoras” with “tea” which was really the need of that hour as we all were feeling too hungry at that moment. Then the dinner which was served in a proper Rajasthani manner, the food was just amazing, delicious! And then some DJ night where we danced our souls out.
And then came the best part, we went to the desert at night where we relaxed a bit from the chaos of the outer world. I think that was the best night as I saw three shooting stars in one night, and we shared some of our life experiences with one another which made us know each other a bit more. That moment was like we were making some friends or life and that’s how the day ended.
On day 5 we just went to one place and that was the village Kuldhara. The history behind this village was that once there was a cruel prime minister of the king name as “Salim Singh”, and had got the name “Jalim Singh” for a reason! One fine day he had his eyes on a girl of this village, the villagers got terrified by this and they emptied their 84 villages in one night. They left their houses as it is and till now the artifacts are discovered from there, which has been an attraction for tourists there. When I saw those ruins, it made me feel a bit amazed that such a huge village where once people lived happily and peacefully had to leave their own built houses with their own hand, leaving a peaceful life and accepting hardship. It really needed a heart of steel to do so! That’s how this amazing, exploring, informative, fun-filled excursion to learn and see this part of India ended. While returning back to the university, we traveled almost 1000kms in one day. That was a ride we enjoyed it to the fullest and we also got to know too many new things about the Indian society that lived centuries back.
I would like to thank Mr. Abhishek Dutta and Miss. Sushmita Singh for giving such an opportunity.