18.02.2013 ►Barabagh ►Kings‘ Cenotaph

Published: 15.06.2013
Updated: 30.07.2015

The road suddenly crossed a narrow green valley, thickly grown over with broad-leaved trees. We stopped in front of a gate and got out of the car. A stony hill laid ahead which we climbed up. When we turned halfway the hill upwards, the narrow green valley emerged as banks of a then parched river from which only some wet stones had remained. Will it ever carry water again? Anyway, we had proceeded hill upwards far enough to see the necropolis of the Jaisalmer rulers in front of us. Since ages they were cremated here and after the wind had scattered their ashes over the desert they got a memorial on this burial ground without dead people or their remains..

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Cenotaphs of Jaisalmer rulers,…

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…declined and dilapidated, admonishing symbols of ephemeral worldly power and leadership…

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…as well as creating awareness of cruel traditions: Memorial for the ruler and those who wanted or had to jump into the fire with him.

In 18th century already the Rajput rulers abolished the cruel custom of burning the rulers’ wives, Sati. To honour these people who voluntarily - as we were told - followed the ruler to death, memorials were erected for the queens and court ladies who had jumped into his cremation fire. Most of the stones only show one picture of the deceased ruler. This perhaps can be seen as evidence that Sati has been abolished long time ago and confirm it.

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