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With a strange mix of emotions I stood on the awe-inspiring ramparts of one of the largest fortifications in the world, listening to the rising sounds of Jaisalmer as the city settled down for the night.

I realized a time-space compression of layers of history upon history, as I positioned myself between the 2nd and 3rd walls of the 3-tiered walled rampart where once kings stood and valiant warriors poured boiling oil over their enemies.

The tawny lion color of the yellow sandstone walls turned to honey-gold in the setting sun, eventually camouflaging the giant fort amidst the great Thar Desert. The magical hour transported me to the glorious era of 1156 AD when the Rajput ruler Rawal Jaisal built this grand structure.

The distance is dotted with several hundred-year old large and elaborate houses made of yellow sandstone called “havelis”. They have been constructed by wealthy merchants of the past.

It was here that Satyajit Ray filmed the detective novel he had written called Sonar Kella (the Golden Fortress) . The film became a classic and the fort attracts even today a large number of tourists from around the world to experience the world that Ray portrayed in the movie.

For me, as I stood in the cool breeze, it will always be a fleeting sensation of an era, stilled today only by the same twilight that also glowed in that time and space!


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