Sunday, November 28, 2004

Sandcastles In The Sky

In the far western corner of India, in the shadow of Pakistan, a massive fort thrusts its ramparts towards the heavens. Like an immense golden sandcastle, the great fort of Jaisalmer rises from the parched desert; an oasis in an otherwise barren land.

Unique in a land brimming with ancient fortifications and citadels, the Jaisalmer fort is alive. Thousands of people call the tortured streets of the fort home, and shops, restaurants, galleries, hotels, and even Internet cafes line the narrow corridors. Outside the bastions of the ancient sandcastle, the city nips at the surrounding desert dunes. Jaisalmer has grown, and once-distant desert villages cling to independence, perilously close to becoming suburbs.

Desert life continues here as it always has. If the monsoon is strong, people prosper in agriculture; if rains fail to materialize, residents must find another way to put food on the table. Roads through the lonely desert fight constant battles with encroaching sand, and tour companies with both camels and jeeps stand prepared for either victor. Wild peacocks roam the dunes, goats and sheep ply the wild grasses, and camels pluck at forlorn trees lining the occasional road. It’s an ancient land bent on avoiding the passage of time.

Enjoy the Jaisalmer Photo Gallery.

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