Khinchan – 16/3

We saw our first sunrise of the trip today! But no photo L

A short walk from the lakes is a small enclosure where the khurja get fed grain everyday. This morning, on the way to and back from this ‘feeding station’ as they call it, we saw row after row of havelis – many of them around 300-400 years old, beautiful, with intricately carved doors and windows, some spacious and grand, some small and homely, some well looked after, others crumbling and on the verge of collapse, but every single one of them locked up and abandoned. It was like a long walk through a ghost town, like something from a Wild West film…

I’m no great architecture enthusiast, and maybe there are havelis in Rajasthan that are of greater historical or other interest, but to me this was really a treasure trove. It’s a curious thrill to walk through these empty streets, peeking in through the occasional open window, and letting your imagination go wild with what is behind another locked one. I’m amazed that these streets just exist as they are, with no one taking any particular interest in them. We saw bus after bus of tourists make 5 minute stops at the lake to take a quick photo with the khurjas – there’s no real accommodation at Khinchan so it’s a fleeting stop on the way to grander destinations like Jaisalmer – but not one of them went towards the havelis.

 

We travelled from Khinchan to Jaisalmer in the afternoon and that’s doggy in the photo below (who, most regretfully and unforgivably, we have not yet introduced) braving the desert heat and checking out the landscape. I’m not sure what he thought of it, but it was actually quite a surprise to me. The route to Jaisalmer is mostly exactly what you see in the picture, dry scrub land with sporadic trees, not really the smooth undulating sand dunes that I had in mind. Apparently the area around Jaisalmer is more sand duney, maybe we’ll get to see that too. Occasionally you see patches of a bright green, some are oases, and some are new agricultural farms that we were told are coming up all around the area thanks to irrigation from the Indira Gandhi Canal and good rains in the last few years.

 

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