The intriguing Salim Singh ki Haveli, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan || A magnificently designed mansion close to the Jaisalmer Fort

After roaming around the Gadisar lake and then dumping our luggage at the hotel, we headed off to explore the old Jaisalmer and its famous havelis. The first haveli we came across was Salim Singh ki Haveli. It was about 500 metres from the fort wall, where we had parked our car and was located inside the congested streets of old Jaisalmer.   Salim Singh ki haveli was been built on the remains of an older haveli that was built in the late 17th century. The new building was commissioned by Salim Singh Mahto, the then Prime Minister of the kingdom when Jaisalmer was the capital, in the year 1815 and was occupied by the Mehto family of Jaisalmer. They were the most influential family of their time.

After roaming around the Gadisar lake in Jaisalmer and then dumping our luggage at the hotel, we headed off to explore the old Jaisalmer and its famous havelis. The first haveli we came across was Salim Singh ki Haveli. It was about 500 metres from the fort wall, where we had parked our car and was located inside the congested streets of old Jaisalmer. 

Salim Singh ki haveli was been built on the remains of an older haveli that was built in the late 17th century. The new building was commissioned by Salim Singh Mahto, the then Prime Minister of the kingdom when Jaisalmer was the capital, in the year 1815 and was occupied by the Mehto family of Jaisalmer. They were the most influential family of their time. 

The architecture of the haveli has often been compared to a dancing peacock because of the arched balconies on its top floor that look like the open peacock feathers. Each of these balconies has a unique design and are intricately carved.   The haveli is also called Jahazmahal because it looks like it has been built in the shape of a ship. Dancing peacock or a ship, whatever it is, the haveli indeed has a very unique design.

The architecture of the haveli has often been compared to a dancing peacock because of the arched balconies on its top floor that look like the open peacock feathers. Each of these balconies has a unique design and are intricately carved. 

The haveli is also called Jahazmahal because it looks like it has been built in the shape of a ship. Dancing peacock or a ship, whatever it is, the haveli indeed has a very unique design. 

Allegedly, even now, descendants of the Mahto family occupie this haveli. I am glad they do. Otherwise, it is a shame to see these magnificent structures crumble with time. Heritage buildings need constant loving to survive.

Allegedly, even now, descendants of the Mahto family occupie this haveli. I am glad they do. Otherwise, it is a shame to see these magnificent structures crumble with time. Heritage buildings need constant loving to survive. 

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Gadisar lake was initially built by the founding king of Jaisalmer, Rawal Jaisal in the 12th century. At that point in time, it was known as Jaisalsar. It was later rebuilt by Maharawal Gadsi Singh in the 14th century and then came to be known as Gadisar or Gadsisar or Gadaria Lake.


When you search for places to visit enroute from Bikaner to Jaisalmer, the Internet would throw you many options - one of which is Akal (pronounced "aakal") Wood Fossil Park. While most of them will exalt the place, we would like to highlight that it may not be the right place for everyone.


After Khichan Bird Sanctuary, we had decided to stop at Pokaran Fort. It was about 68 kilometers from the bird sanctuary and we would reach it within an hour. Most of us in our generation only found out about Pokaran after India conducted their second successful nuclear test in this region.


On our way from Bikaner to Jaisalmer, Khichan Bird Sanctuary was our second scheduled stop after Bap Village. And we were really excited about it. Both of us love watching and Photographing birds and we never miss a chance to visit a bird sanctuary. So this would be the ideal spot for us to take a break and stretch our legs.


Demoiselle Cranes (grus virgo) are a species of crane that breed in central Eurosiberia, ranging from Black Sea and Mangolia to North Eastern China, plus a small breeding population in Turkey. The birds fly south to Africa and Indian subcontinent to spend the winter months.

>> Demoiselle cranes of Khichan, Jodhpur District, Rajasthan || Beautiful Birds that fly to and fro Mangolia and have found a mention in Indian mythological texts 


The locals in Bikaner refer to themselves as being "saral, sukh, and sust". One of my good friends from Bikaner shared that people in Bikaner take pride in acknowledging that they are content. So I guess it is true. The state of the traffic on the roads does reflect the pace of life.


However, we did spot some migratory birds flying around and were sure that there is probably a water body around. We decided to explore that. After asking around a little we reached a lake of humungous proportions and there was a temple on the shore. There was a man offering prayers in the temple and while we were roaming around, he caught up to us and started asking us some questions.


Even though we had been warned against booking a hotel in old Bikaner, because the roads are congested, we managed to find the perfect hotel - Hotel Jaswant Bhawan - which is perfectly located at the edge of old Bikaner with approach via wide roads and a spacious parking. And it was just walking distance from most of the places in old Bikaner.


Rampuria havelis are a group of 15th century opulent havelis that stand out in the labyrinthine roads of old Bikaner. While these havelis are symbols of wealth and luxurious lifestyles of rich merchants of Bikaner, they are surrounded by the comparatively modest homes of the middle class business people.


While travelling from Laxmangarh to Bikaner on Agra-Bikaner Highway, you will notice some chhatris on your left. When you do so, stop your car, get down for a bit, and stretch your legs. For this is a heritage site that you may want to capture in your camera.

If you are in Udaipur and have to chose only one place to visit & explore, City Palace has to be that place. Certainly there can be personal choices as for someone visiting a particular restaurant for a meal or take a walk around ghat of Lake Pichola is more important than the City Palace. In this blogpost we will share about why City Palace was a special place for us and what all you see inside this beautiful palace.  First photograph of this post is clicked by our guide who helped us explore Udaipur City Palace.

If you are on a tour of the havelis in Jaisalmer, you should visit the Patwon ki Haveli last. Because after seeing this haveli, your very definition of the word "haveli" will change. And after that, no other haveli will ever come up to your expectations. So in order to be fair to all the other havelis, visit Patwon ki haveli only after you have visited all of the others.

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