Friday, November 2, 2012

Gadisar Lake - Jaisalmer's Oasis of Serenity

My rickshaw was moving away from the city limits, east of the fort. The road is parched, as golden as the structures that rise from the earth. Once upon a time, in an epoch of merchants, adventure seekers and conquerors, the city depended on Gadisar Lake (Gadi Sagar Lake) for their water supply. The area is a basin for rainwater, a virtual oasis in an arid terrain. These days, the lake is surrounded by temples, including a Krishna temple built by a famous prostitute, some tombs of saints, a cultural center, a local museum and several sheds that provide perfect viewpoint when you just want to enjoy the serene waters.

I took a leisurely walk from the paved road leading down to the tank, passing under an imposing archway called Tilon-ki-Pol. This was also financed by the aforementioned prostitute who offered to pay for the archway. When she asked the king’s permission, he refused permission. He didn’t want to visit the lake and have to pass under the archway built by a prostitute. It would be an affront to his dignity. When the king was away, she built it anyway, and included a Krishna Temple on top so that the king wouldn’t be able to tear it down.

The shed at the center of the lake is home to hundreds of birds. Paddle boats wait for customers, but the sun was bearing down its heat so there were no takers. Five men wearing turbans curiously sat beside the lake, gazing into the waters, seemingly suspended in their reverie. I went closer to the water to see some people throwing bread down the lake – and there was a school of voracious catfish feasting on their giveaway food. Across the lake, the dryness of the land stretches on to the horizon. Very few vegetation seem to survive. Imagine when it’s midsummer, when temperatures rise to 41 and 43 degrees.

I like places like this. It’s like a symbol of hope in the midst of drought. To visit the lake, you have to hire a rickshaw to take you outside the city limits.

This is the Eye in the Sky!     

Road leading towards the lake through the Tilon-ki-Pol Archway.

Tilon-ki-Pol Archway

Boats for hire

A school of voracious catfish

Catfish feasting on bread (above and below)

A temple (above and below)

Vendor selling colorful vases

The way out of Gadisar

Gadisar Lake in relation to the city of Jaisalmer. It's located south east of the city (bottom right of the map).


Freedom said...

Beautiful pictures and place. Once again such an inspiration!

eye in the sky said...

It's a pleasure to hear from you, N. I've been reading your very personal posts too - and they're very compelling reads. :)

Eye in the Sky said...

To Krishna:

I read and published your comment but cant seem to find it here now. But thanks for dropping a line. And congratulations on your milestone! More power! :)

Twin said...

Nice post. Looks like an awesome place.

eye in the sky said...

@ Twin:

It's a nice place to check out. Thanks. :)

Krishna said...

beautiful photos...

information is also indeed

happy Diwali...


eye in the sky said...

Thanks, Krishna. Happy Diwali too. :)

Anupama K. Mazumder said...

I have been there (albeit in 1987).. you brought back many fond memories! Lovely photos.
Happy Diwali.

eye in the sky said...

Hi Anupama,

Happy Diwali to you too. It's a serenely lovely place to visit. :)