Jaisalmer. Unesco Fort. Only living Fort in India, Asia and world. 900 years old.
We have a wonderful guide, very good friend of Luv. His name is Lalu and he has a Great sense of humour and is a story teller. We are so fortunate. He is a guide of the highest quality … He speaks from his heart to my heart.
This living Fort was once a long the silk and opium route in ancient times. Once inhabited by “robbers”, the very wealthy and corrupt … Allowing those who will pay for the service to enter. The Fort protected only those who pay. Not very democratic!
Then with border Pakistan and conflict, the trade ended. The trade route was severed. And no water was here in this desert place. No trade, no industry. Since 1947 no income for the inhabitants. Indira Ghandi introduced and supported in 1984, tourism.
Previously women were carrying water on their heads from 1.5 km! So Mrs Ghandi funded a water canal to be built, some 647 kms. To improve and sustain the lives of those who lived in the Fort. It provided a Lifeline for this place, many thanks to her effort.
In 1985 first tourist came. And for six months of the year, this is the only income for this town.
Summer here is hell, temperatures of 48-50 even 52 C this past year or 126 F degrees. “It’s a punishment kind of place.”
“It’s not that easy in desert to see the lake. Haha.”
First stop many crematorium and structures to honour those who passed. In ancient times, with no vegetation, no power … Architecture is special here. Unique, detailed and elaborate.
Six months of tourism, rest of time helping each other. “This is a Living desert.” Hippies and gypsies. Very close to each other, close to heart. Safety for women, friendly and family atmosphere.
We visited an Artificial lake. With little rainfall, this lake is very important to their lifestyle. Used to be a huge stone quarry, so filled it up :). Ghat is spectacular in the morning sun. A temple was built in this lake when it was started … A rule made never to destroy a temple and gate. The gate that was Built by a woman so some men, even today, the Royal leader will not enter the gate. Crazy! There is a king here now, he still won’t go through gate.
I see strung marigolds in the lake, left over from ceremony to support spiritual growth.
Nasty huge catfish bubbling up in the water. I took pictures and shuddered! I figure if I ever fell in, I would NEVER stop screaming. Luckily no one falls in from our group, lol.
A Gypsy woman arrives with a babe on her hip and small child at her side. We learn of her life style. The more kids in w family, the more hands to earn money. She is excluded from main community and had to walk 4-5 km to get here this morning from her home in the desert. Caste system still present. She sings for us and we are giving her a small donation of support. It is hard to support the begging of children. Such an internal conflict I feel within. So I breathe and let it be what it is.
Mrs Ghandi made such a difference in the lives of women in this country. More than I ever knew. I will study more about her and honour the changes she made in the lives of women and girls around the world with her courage. Magnificent mentorship.
The owner of the 30 km diameter Fort was a “robber”, and built four gates. High security. Have to pay to enter the Fort. Storage of food was issue. If had to face enemy and enemy got control of Fort, they would poison their own water, bury their money, women commit suicide….. So there would be no gain for taking control of the Fort. So any conquerors did not get much.
You can’t see next gate from this one. So if at this gate, the Fort dwellers could go out for food. Enemies could not tunnel in.
All built from golden stone.
A secret tunnel found by security guard of Mrs Ghandi. Was five hundred years since the tunnel was opened. No paper back then … But now archeologists are interpreting what was written palm leaves. Incredible place!
Lalu tells us that the buildings can go in to disrepair … And India can boast the Best family, spiritual, and social life of the world! India offers that.
The Grandmother is boss inside home. Men of the outside world. If you need a room of your own, you get it. Otherwise kids sleep all together with grandparents. No “old persons homes” in India. Family life in India supports family.
India is heart. We were welcome in a family home. We saw how simply they live, how little in the way of possessions.
Lalit is German. He spends some time talking to me about his values and his India. We weep together and hug.
Three major emotional expressions, tears of change, today. With the brilliant guidance of this spiritual man …
He said to tell my daughters they have a “nice, precious mom”. I want to weep again. I am so honoured to be in such a presence.
Forever changed by the guides I have met. Lalu and Luv I am so grateful to know you! India is so much more than what we think and know about it. Meeting and speaking with the heart to the locals life guides is life changing. I wept many times today and I feel such gratitude and love. Thank you. Thank you thank you. Namaste
PamelaTravelBlog | February 1, 2016 at 5:45 pm