Jaisalmer to Jodhpur

26th February 2014 (Day 18) Jaisalmer to Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India

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A young camel hiding in the trees.

This was a day for travel in the Thar Desert, between Jaisalmer and Jodhpur.  All these images were taken from a moving bus and captions for most are superfluous.

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A groom walking by on the road.

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Another bridal party walking along the road.  You may be familiar with the term “getting hitched”; it seems they take that a little more literally in India.  It may not be completely apparent in the image but the bride is connected to the groom by a link of fabric.

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This and following images are now in Jodhpur.

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Jaisalmer – Market

25th February 2014 (Day 17) Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India

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This image is from the bus, in motion.  It is at the same location as another image in a previous post where we were arriving at Jaisalmer.  We have left the fort and are heading towards a market.  Apart from this image and the last one, all images in this post are at the markets.

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Great piles of ceramic pots.

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A fleeting connection with a beautiful young mother with her baby.

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Mothers and babies at the side of the markets.

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Not sure what he has on the cart….

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You wouldn’t want to be underneath those pots in the event of an earthquake….

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Two young men who asked me to take their photo.  Few would have a computer so it’s just for the interaction and to see their image in the back of the camera.

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Conversations and transactions.

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The young cow seems interested in the onions.

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Families out shopping.

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Women at a fabrics store.

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A puppet show, back at the hotel at night.

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Jaisalmer – Havelis in the Fort

25th February 2014 (Day 17) Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India

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Women selling jewellery near the front gate.

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Laneway fabrics stall.

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This woman is sitting here watching the construction workers, as we see in the next image.

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That’s a heavy weight to lift and it looks to me like poor lifting technique.  My understanding is that you keep your back erect and lift from a squat with your legs.  He’s young and fit and may get away with it but his back is at risk.

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No wheelbarrows, it seems.  It must be a very heavy weight for one person.  I hope he doesn’t have to do that too often or I imagine he might end up with compressed vertebrae.

 

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A group of women and children at a doctor’s dispensary.

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Selling and weighing vegetables.

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Narrow lanes and motorbikes.

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The cans say “Bikaner Fresh – Refined Groundnut Oil”.  The cow probably doesn’t know that though.

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Elephant outside Nathmal Ji Ki Haveli

Elephant outside Nathmal Ji Ki Haveli

Havelis are elaborate mansions, usually hundreds of years old.  This elephant guards the entrance to one.

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Nathmal Ji Ki Haveli

Nathmal Ji Ki Haveli

At first glance this appears to be symmetrical but look closer and all the details on each side are slightly different.  The guide told us that two brothers lived here like in a giant duplex and didn’t get on, but I read online that there were two different architects using the same basic plan but with their own embellishments.  The following two images are different views of the same facade.

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Nathmal Ji Ki Haveli

Nathmal Ji Ki Haveli

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Nathmal Ji Ki Haveli

Nathmal Ji Ki Haveli

Extreme perspective distortion due to photographing the building looking up from a narrow street.  An exposure from the first floor of the building across the street would probably have been better had there been the access and more time (that’s the second floor for Americans).  I could correct it in Photoshop but correcting it that much would not be easy, would take quite some time, would degrade the image and I’d have to invent new lower corners.

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Nathmal Ji Ki Haveli

A painter producing delicate traditional miniatures inside the Haveli.

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Nathmal Ji Ki Haveli

This Haveli is part exotic shop and part residence.  This is the owner (slow shutter speed, he is moving) and part of the interior decor.

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Nathmal Ji Ki Haveli

This is the shop, with myriad small artefacts for sale.

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Upper floor (internal) above Haveli courtyard

Nathmal Ji Ki Haveli

Upper floor (internal) above Haveli courtyard.

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Nathmal Ji Ki Haveli

From the colour and the time stamp of the image, this must also be in the Haveli.

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This must be out in the street, though nearby.

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Outside in the street, this image and the next two show other Havelis.

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Jhraokas Haveli

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Give way to the cow.

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Jaisalmer – A city inside a fort inside a city

25th February 2014 (Day 17) Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India

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Walking past, an ancient door opens to a mysterious courtyard.

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I’m not sure whether it was a private residence or a hotel but since the doorway was open, I went in a little further for this view.

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There is an old city inside the fort, with a myriad of narrow passageways and shops, havelis, hotels, palaces and temples.

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The fort dates back to the twelfth century but it was sacked and then abandoned on at least one occasion.  The current temples date from at least the sixteenth century.  I recall reading that the old town dates from the seventeenth or eighteenth century though I can’t find the reference.  The toothbrush in the above image is likely to be more recent.

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You may have heard of people going “off the beaten track” and wondered where that might be.  Well here it is.  In the back streets of Jaisalmer Fort.

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For a while it seemed we had entered the land of the dead motor scooters…

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A door in a state of rather precarious disrepair.  Probably there is another entrance.

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This is the entrance of the hotel where we stopped to have lunch.

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This and succeeding images are from the roof patio where we had lunch.

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Two-thirds of the population of Jaisalmer live outside the fort.

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A group of women at the entrance of the fort selling jewellery.  The passing cow didn’t seem too interested.

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Jaisalmer fort has three concentric walls and ninety-nine bastions, ninety-two of which were built between 1633 and 1647 to be used as gun platforms.

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There are some underlying structural problems with Jaisalmer Fort, though, causing a palace and some walls to collapse.  It is built on soft sedimentary rock and the main cause of the problems seems to be that the sewerage system is leaking and undermining the foundations.

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Jaisalmer – Entering the Fort and visiting a Jain Temple

25th February 2014 (Day 17) Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India

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Fairly early in the morning we entered the fort at Jaisalmer.  I have broken up the events of the day into separate posts, though there is probably little logic for the separation and it is more of a continuous stream.

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There was a most curious set of steps on an outside wall.

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Fabrics and garments for sale on the way in…

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Elaborately carved facades…

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A warren of small streets and roadside shops…

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Looking in to a fabrics shop as we walked past…

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We also visited a small Jain Temple.  Here, unlike the larger Jain temple we visited at Ranakpur, we were permitted to photograph the sacred figures.  We are looking through at one of the Salakapurusas, not a god but an illustrious person one might like to emulate, probably not unlike Buddhist Bodhisattvas.  There are a few more of these in following images.

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Elaborately carved ceilings…

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The sign below the desk says “Please do not give tips to the holy men.  All gifts please place in the donation box instead.”  Notwithstanding this, a holy man demanded money upstairs, claiming rather implausibly that it was a different establishment up there.

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A wonderful delicacy in many of the carvings…

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Click on an image if you want to see a larger view.

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Not everything was open for view.

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Arriving at Jaisalmer

24th February 2014 (Day 16) Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India

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By late afternoon we were in Jaisalmer.  After stopping at our hotel, we visited Gadisar Lake.  We are in the middle of the Thar Desert, less than 100 kilometres from Pakistan.  This is a man-made lake filled by rainwater that was originally the source of Jaisalmer’s water supply.

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These days the lake never dries up because it is fed by the Indira Ghandi Canal, which carries water some 650 kilometres from the Punjab.

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Boat rides are available but we didn’t go on one on this occasion.

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Nearby was a musician playing on a distinctive Rajasthani instrument.  I bought his CD.

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Near where the bus was parked was this small timber mill and firewood supplier.

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A view from the bus of what appear to be fairly poor families in front of their houses.

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We arrived at a vantage point where we could take photographs of Jaisalmer Fort at sunset.  There were also some interesting views of the city nearby, including this one featuring many stacked ceramic pots.

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A woman near where we were standing.

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Some people were playing volleyball on the street below.

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A view of a market area some distance away.

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Looking along a nearby street….

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These two young men asked me to take their photograph.

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And there was another musician playing distinctive music.

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The sunset was gathering towards the west.

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And here is Jaisalmer Fort at the peak of the sunset.

The fort was built in 1156 and Jaisalmer means “the hill fort of Jaisal” after the founder Maharawal Jaisal Singh.  On two occasions in the fourteenth century, sieges led to jauhar.  This meant that, at the point where all was clearly lost, all the soldiers launched out of the fort to die in battle while the women and children burned themselves on a huge pyre.

The first occasion was at the hand of the Delhi Sultan Ala-ud-din Khalji, the second involved the Persian Emperor Ferozshah.

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A lone figure on a roof at bottom right surveys the town and the fort after sunset.

Jaisalmer was one of the last areas in India to fall within the British Raj.

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