Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Povestiri din Rajahstan 13 Jaisalmer, orasul de aur / Stories of Rajahsthan 13. Jaisalmer, the Golden City

At the outskirts of Jaisalmer we saw camels, eolian mills (which was quite unexpected!) and military camps, which reminded us that we are here very near the border with Pakistan, and the conflicts are not quite seldom. 


Jaisalmer got its name of "golden city" from the fortress built by Rawal Jaisal in 1156. The names of Rajahsthan's cities are about colors: Pink City (Jaipur), Blue City (Jodhpur), White City (Udhaipur). Why? You will see in due time.


We spent 2 nights in Jaisalmer, so we had one and a half days at disposal for visiting but also many objectives. So, we went firstly to visit. The first one was Gadi Sagar Lake, a rain water reservoir built by Maharaja Gadsi in 1367. Once the only water supply of the city, now the lake receives water constantly on Indira Gandhi canal. A recreation spot, you may take a boat on the lake or you may visit the numerous little shrines and temples devoted to Vishnu and Shiva. Near the lake the Teelon-ki Phol or Teelon's Gate was erected with money from a prostitue or singer. 

The story goes that Teelon looked for approval from the Maharaja but he was embarased to go through a gate constructed with money from a prostitute, so he didn't grant his approval. Teelon waited till he was gone in a war and erected the gate. To protect it from the Maharaja's rage, she put a deity statue on top of it, forming a little shrine. So Maharaja could not destroy the gate. It seemed to me that this little story has something from the perfume of Seherazade's tales...


Passing  behind an old man, whom I gave some rupees to photograph him (but he asked for "dollars, dollars"), we went on a little hill from where I saw, for the first time, the impressive fortress of Jaisalmer! A small cemetery, at he foot of the hill, looking shabby and deserted, made me think it is an old one. But after I used my zoom, I saw it is in use! It looked so simple, arid and deserted as the desert itself!

De la Pokaran ne-am indreptat spre Jaisalmer. In apropierea orasului au inceput sa apara turme de camile. Ne aflam in apropierea granitei cu Pakistanul aici si multele baze militare din jurul orasului ne readuc in minte  desele conflicte ale Indiei cu acest vecin, desprins din trupul ei. Tot in apropierea orasului vedem si un element de modernitate pe care nu ma asteptam sa-l regasesc aici: eolienele! Vanturile care bat dinspre desert, par sa ofere Indiei si o binefacere: producerea relativ ieftina de curent electric.
Jaisalmer isi ia numele de "orasul de aur" de la gresia galbena din care a fost construita cetatea in anul 1156, de catre Rawal Jaisal si care, in bataia soarelui, devine aurie. Cum majoritatea constructiilor au folosit acelasi material, totul aici este galben-auriu. De altfel, orasele Rajahstanului au denumiri "colorate". Astfel, Jodhpur este "orasul albastru", Jaipur - "orasul roz" si Udaipur - "orasul alb". De ce, veti vedea la timpul potrivit.
Ca si in celelalte localitati si aici mergem mai intai sa vizitam cateva obiective, inainte de a ne caza, ca sa castigam timp. In Jaisalmer dormim 2 nopti, asa ca avem la dispozitie o zi si jumatate dar si multe de vazut.

Oprim mai intai la Lacul Gadi Sagar. Acesta este un lac de acumulare a apei de ploaie, construit in anul 1367 de catre Maharaja Gadsi. Multa vreme a constituit singura sursa de apa a asezarii. Acum el primeste apa constant din conducta Indira Gandhi. In jurul lacului se afla numeroase temple si altare mici, inchinate mai ales lui Shiva si Vishnu. Lacul a fost transformat intr-o mica zona de agrement. Exista aici un mic muzeu al artei populare, iar pe lac te poti plimba cu barca. Numerosi comercianti isi desfac aici marfurile care i-ar putea interesa pe turisti, spera ei! Acum insa toti au aflat despre criza mondiala si se plang ca sunt prea putini turisti...
Un monument care atrage atentia este Poarta lui Teelon sau Teelon-ki Phol, aflata chiar pe mal. Ea a fost construita in secolul al XIX-lea din banii unei cantarete, zic unii, ai unei prostituate, zic altii, numita Teelon. Indiferent ce era, ambele profesii erau la marginea societatii si nu se bucurau de consideratie.

O legenda spune ca Teelon ar fi cerut aprobarea Maharajei pentru aceasta constructie dar el nu a vrut sa i-o dea deoarece mergea deseori la lac si s-ar fi simtit injosit sa treaca pe sub o poarta construita din banii unei asemenea femei. Teelon insa a pandit o vreme cand Maharaja era plecat la razboi si a construit poarta. Ca sa o protejeze, i-a asezat in varf statuia zeului Satya Narain, ceea ce ii conferea si rolul de altar. In felul acesta, Maharaja nu putea sa o darame, socotindu-se jignit. Mi s-a parut o poveste demna de intelepciunea Seherezadei!

Alta poveste spune simplu ca Teelon era o apropiata a Maharajei, lucru care a starnit gelozia printesei acestuia. De aceea a fost plasata acea statuie in varful portii, pentru a o apara de furia lui Maharani.
Teelon-ki Phol
Trecand pe langa un batran, caruia i-am dat 5 Rp ca sa-l fotografiez (si care striga emancipat dupa mine "dollars, dollars") am urcat un mic damb, in varful caruia se afla o cocioaba, adapostul lui sau al altcuiva.
Pentru ca Lacul Gadi Sagar se afla cam la 1 km de cetate, am avut primul prilej sa o vad in toata splendoarea ei. La poalele dambului se afla un cimitir pe care, data fiind starea lui, l-am crezut intai vechi dar cand am folosit zoom-ul am vazut ca este unul contemporan. Privelistea este diferita de cea de "camp cu flori si verdeata", cu care suntem obisnuiti pe aici. E simpla, arida si, parca, parasita.
Fiindca mai aveam cateva ore bune pana spre asfintit, am plecat sa mai vedem doua locuri: templul Amar Sagar, aflat la 5 km N-V de Jaisalmer si Bara Bagh, la 6 km N. Dar despre acestea, in postari viitoare.


20 comments:

Life Ramblings said...

what a fascinating post and great photos. I would love to take a ride on one of the camels.

Traveling Hawk said...

Which one? One from the herd outside town or that from the cart? :)

Rizalenio said...

I learned little about Majaraja from the movie Moulin Rouge. So happy to read another stories re them here.

I love the photo of those colorful umbrellas. My first time to see that kind of umbrella designs. Very unique.

The man asking for dollars is an excellent photo subject. Ohno. Beggars can't be choosers.

Traveling Hawk said...

Those are sun umbrellas.

I'm glad you enjoyed the story and the photos, Rizalenio.

Randy said...

Wonderful shots but the umbrellas are my favorite. Such great color!

VertAnge said...

Foarte isteata aceasta Teelon. :)

pharaonx said...

pe linga povestirea cu persoana care a ridicat templu, fascinanta mi s-a parut fotografia celui care striga "dollars". si m-o izbit imaginea cimitirului.

o zi buna

Traveling Hawk said...

They got my eye too, Randy :)

Traveling Hawk said...

Tocmai de aceea m-a si dus cu gandul la 1001 de nopti, unde toate povestile au dezlegari istete, VertAnge.

Traveling Hawk said...

Ca intotdeauna, ai prins esenta acestei postari, pharaonx...

VP said...

The parasols are gorgeous!

Traveling Hawk said...

It seems everybody likes them :)

Phivos Nicolaides said...

Great photos by all means. Fantastic place and culture.

Traveling Hawk said...

You are so right, Phivos!

joo said...

Fascinating photos! I can't decide what I like the most:)

Traveling Hawk said...

Good for you that you like them, Joo, :)

Joop Zand said...

These p[ictures are again very nice.

Greetings, Joop

Traveling Hawk said...

Thanks, Joop Zand! Have a nice week!

magda said...

I was struck by the wind!
The cemetery in the desert, this colorful lake !!
All photographs and journalism is amazing!!!

Traveling Hawk said...

Thanks a lot, Magda! The cemetery seems to be in the desert but it is not! It is in town, seen from a hill. But the earth is so bare there that it looks like desert because it is a lot of sand too and everything has that golden color!