Tragically by the late 20th century, Jaisalmer was on the verge of collapse. Within the fort's monumental walls, alongside the intricately carved temples, palaces and havelis of the former rich and powerful merchants live more than 2,000 people, descendents of Maharawal Rawal Jaisal's entourage.
Paradoxically increased consumption (and therefore waste), due to growing tourism and population, put unbearable pressure on the city’s aged infrastructurewith with water being piped in at a daily rate of some 120 litres per head - at least 12 times the amount originally used meant that the old drainage system, – open gulleys at the sides of streets intended for a time when waste water was minimal was no longer adequate– water become the enemy
What resulted was similar to what happens when you tip a bucket of water over a sandcastle? Jaisalmer, built of dry sandstone on foundations of clay, sand and rock, began to crumble.
Water, seeping through the decaying drains and penetrating the hillside, saturated the foundations of the fortress city, resulting in subsidence and cracks in buildings. Palaces and havelis came tumbling down! In places the retaining wall at the base of the hillside burst apart, while some of the bastions became unstable. After the devastating monsoon of 1993, some 250 historic buildings fully or partially collapsed, including the oldest existing Rajput palace, the Rani-ka Mahal, or Maharani’s Palace. Further damage resulted from the after effects of the Gujarati earthquake in 2001, when several more buildings suffered substantial damage.
One more village which is not very famous is Khaba Fort. This is also one of the 84 abandoned village which was vacated overnight by the people after the dispute with the king and is much better then Kuldhara. The Khaba Fort is also giving you good sight of the village. The stones used in this village are of different color then Kuldhara village. This village has got more close knit houses and a big temple in between.
Its around 12 kms away from Kuldhara Village. It also leads straight back to the Sam road.
Drive 18 km west of Jaisalmer and you will come upon the village of Kuldhara.Looks like the royalty of Rajasthan had made an art of killing the geese that laid golden eggs for them.The ruins of Kuldhara exhibit the architectural, excellence of those times, which was buried under dunes till recently.This is one of the most bizarre stories of human migration one can hear was in 1825.
The Paliwals made their fortune by the sheer brilliance of their business and agricultural acumen. They knew the art of growing a water intensive crop like wheat in the Thar desert; they could identify areas with gypsum rock layers running under the ground surface to ensure water was retained for the crops. The rulers depended on the Paliwals for much of their tax revenues.
The Prime Minister, or the dewan, is believed to have developed a lecherous eye for the chief’s daughter, it is said the Paliwal women were in general stunningly beautiful. He may even have imposed unreasonable taxes on them. With pride and honour overruling all worldly interests, the chiefs of the 84 villages decided to go away in a single night with whatever they could carry with them.
Not the best
This place, within the fort, is fairly high up next to the 8 July Restaurant in the main square. I came here and had a pizza and was the only one and it's not all that hard to find out why. The place isn't the cleanest in the world and is accessed up a narrow set of steps and has wonky tables (i.e. not stable), which annoy me especially when eating. The pizza wasn't the best I've had so I wouldn't bother coming here and go to the 8 July instead.
Patwon Ji ki Haveli
This is one of the largest and most elaborate Haveli in Jaisalmer and stands in a narrow lane. It is five storeys high and is extensively carved. It is divided into six apartments, two owned by archaeological Survey of India, two by families who operate craft-shops and two private homes. There are remnants of paintings on some of the inside walls as well as some mirror work. The intricate work on the walls of the Haveli are absolutely out of this world!! You can see a lot of this replicated in many houses across the city.
patwa was a wealthy merchant who had many trading centres from China to Afghanistan. His haveli is truly an embodiment of his wealth and sucess!! The 5 storeyed building with it's myriad chambers are definitely worth a trip across the country!