17.02.2013 ►Jaisalmer ►Gadisar Lake And Suri Dungar

Published: 07.06.2013

Sunday again! Hardly believable that we were travelling ten days and the second weekend only but felt like doing so for months. We decided to pass a quiet Sunday and therefore to visit Gadisar Lake, being five minutes by motor Riksha straight ahead the street of our hotel. In 1156 it was built as a rainwater collection lake for the first time by Maharawal (great king, title of the Jaisalmer and Dungarpur rulers) Jaisal himself, after whom the town was named. Over centuries it was forbidden to take a bath there or to wash clothes or to ride boats or even to water animals at its bank. Until 1965 the lake supplied drinking water for the town. The Jaisalmer rulers celebrated indeed their legendary music and dance parties at its banks and in the pavilions in it, but looked strictly after the keeping of the interdictions, which they also complied with. During the dry season the farmer cultivated modest field crops on its fertile ground. At present access to the lake is denied in the dry season when there is no more water in it. Bathing still is prohibited, but meanwhile there are boats for rent and also animals familiarly promenading in town are doing so at its bank. The lake is named after Maharawal Garsi Singh who rebuilt it in 1367. By now the traditional system of rainwater collection in lakes especially built for this purpose is being discussed again for ecological reasons.

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Tilon ki Pol, “Concubine’s Gate” to Gadisar Lake

This gate was erected by the rich concubine and then famous dancer Tilon in 1658. When the king threatened to tear it down because he did not want to pass with his queen and the royal household through a gate constructed by a concubine, she managed to erect a Krishna shrine on its top in the night before demolition was announced. She even found a priest ready to sanctify it immediately for an appropriate fee. So she prevented the demolition and literally forced the king, the queen, and the royal household through the gate. This story still nowadays is told with a smile in Jaisalmer.

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View from the gate left in the lake with the Shiva Temple and pavilions at its banks (l).

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Behind left around the corner

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Boardwalk with steps into the lake

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Dominical boat trip

Apparently our choice was right this Sunday. The international traveler groups were elsewhere on their way, and so we enjoyed this calm Sunday morning together with the inhabitants of the town. There were quite many young people and families with their children. At once many visitors gathered around one family on the banks of the lake, especially the children were gazing fascinated on the water.  

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Famous Gadisar Lake catfish crumbling for pieces of bread for sale at the banks 

One family delighted their children buying the ready-made fodder for the fishes. They gathered at one place where it again and again rained fodder for them. A neighbour nearby succeeded in finding food in the water.

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Stilt (Himantopus himantopus)

Stilts are looking like mini storks with their 35cm long red legs and their pointed beak. Whereas their body is not bigger than a pigeon’s. They live on water insects, crustaceans, and small fishes. Certainly the here shown is an overwinterer from eastern Europe, as those small and breakable looking birds can fly that far to their tropical wintering grounds. Their survival conditions depend like those of many birds of their breeding conditions. They are good if the colony of stilts has found a stable biotope consisting of wet hollows, not too deep waters, paddy fields, fishponds, and purification plants. We continued our promenade at the banks of the lake, after having watched the cute bird.

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Shiva Tempel at Gadisar Lake

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On bicycle to work: sportive Hindu priest

“The bicycle certainly belongs to the priest, “someone remarked with the intention to be funny. But so it was! The Hindu priest had arrived on the fancy, unlocked (!!) bicycle leaning under the old tree to catch the eatable offerings from the Shiva Temple and bring them to the needy. This what he does every Sunday, he told me.

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Souvenirs stand in front of picturesque Fort

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Souvenirs,

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souvenirs...

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and beautiful blocks for cloth printing.

When we got hungry we looked for a restaurant, but did not find. So we drove back to the Fort to take lunch at the approved and tested location. But this time the driver left us apologetically on the square where the big traveler coaches were parking, surrounded by plenty of small dealers offering their stuff. Impressing view on the Fort included.

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Gate to the Fort where no taxis are allowed after 08:30h.

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Jaisalmer Fort

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Printed clothes  in colourful diversity

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The last gate

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               Arrived at destination: Terrace of restaurant „8th of July“

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Restaurant manager Rama gifts a bangle decorated with elephants to Editor Karuna Jain

Eating and exchanging gifts somehow belongs together, a nice termination of a memorable Sunday morning excursion to the banks of Gadisar Lake.  
What to do in the evening was clear enough to us. We wanted to watch sunset on a hill known as Suri Dungar nearby our hotel “Australia Blue International” as we were advised by its owner Jag. 18:30h was the given time for sunset that evening. So we started about 18:15h. After some minutes we saw the hill in front of us, where some were sitting already on the top to witness nature’s spectacle.

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This way!?

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Up the hill in the golden evening sun, passing houses, are we right here?

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Oh, sun yet is touching the horizon line…

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and beneath it in an instant.

Too late! We missed the right ascension because some construction work there was going on, which gave the impression that there is no trespassing. This was not so, as we noticed later on. Nevertheless we were determined to try again for the natural spectacle another eve. We could not follow this picture book like sunset from the top of the hill and had to content ourselves with taking photos only halfway up. This cloudless eve with the sky changing its colours was nothing less than perfect. Could have been too nice. But eager and happy anticipation for the next day’s enterprise was very reassuring.

Slideshow: Jaisalmer ►Gadisar Lake/Suri Dungar

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Photos by HN4U
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