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Jaisalmer Fort - Not Recommended by Lonely Planet

sunny 24 °C

Standing sentinel over the desert, Jaisalmer Fort with its ninety-nine bastions is a giant sandcastle rising out of the surrounding sandstone sea like an Atlantis rising from the ocean…
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This massive fort was built in the 1500s on the backs of the camel trains that paid protection money to gain safe passage across this stretch of barren Thar desert en-route to Afghanistan. This part of India was then, and in many ways still is, the Wild West where, in addition to running protection rackets, the Rajput rulers filled their coffers by rustling cattle. It’s a pity someone doesn’t rustle these strays off the city’s streets today…Jaisalmer_street.jpg

As with all ancient Indian cities, there is a legend for the founding of Jaisalmer. In 1156 AD Maharawal Jaisal Dev, (who, somewhat bizarrely, claimed direct descendancy from Lord Krishna… a purely mythological figure!), is said to have thrown a discus which happened to land on top of the only hill for miles. Therefore, it was god who chose the location for his fortified capital from where he could harass the passing traders and could retreat to when his quarrelsome Mughal neighbours came knocking. Imagine trying to scale these walls while boiling oil and these rounded rocks were being rained from above…
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However, all forts suffer the same weakness - they are susceptible to siege - and Jaisalmer fort was particularly vulnerable because of the arid conditions. It may only rain here once in seven years so, without access to an aquifer outside the city, the defenders could quickly become parched. The fort was taken three times, once after a nine-year siege. But, rather than surrendering, on each occasion all of the Rajput women committed ritual suicide by fire while the men charged out to take as many of the enemy as possible before they were slaughtered. This was the Maharawal’s great palace…
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Today, a more insidious enemy is attacking this massive fortress. There is no sewerage system here, so water and effluent from the dozens of hotels, cafes and restaurants, in addition to that of the four thousand residents, has been seeping into the sandy foundations for centuries and the whole city is sinking. For this reason, and despite numerous advertising signs to the contrary, the Lonely Planet does not recommend that any visitors should stay at the fort.

Posted by Hawkson 02:11 Archived in India

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Comments

Wow Jim
It does look like a giant sand castle just perfect for pillaging !

by patgoodeve

awesome post...
Honeymoon In India

by MAYANK22

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