Over the Diwali break back home, I took a couple of days and traveled to Jaisalmer with friends. I don’t remember when was the last time I had actually traveled in India apart from visiting relatives. So, I was really looking forward to this.
After arriving in Jaisalmer, we stopped at the Gadsisar lake enroute to our hotel. It is a scenic rainwater lake excavated in 1367 by Rawal Gadsi Singh (and therefore the name). The lake has a couple of pavilions that can be reached by boat. The temples on the banks of the lake reminded me of illustrations in some of my childhood books on Indian mythology…a temple on the leafy banks of a clear lake under the starlit sky with a crescent moon. Some things are so fixed in my mind.
It is evening, the sun is about to set. The royal shikara bobs up and down by the steps of the pavilion. The Rawal and his queen are sitting among plush cushions enjoying the sweet coolness of the evening breeze as is sweeps across the lake. One hears the cry of the peacock mingling with the notes of the classical music coming from the musicians sitting in another pavilion a few metres away. Soon, the sun sets and the temples on the banks are lit in the flickering light of the flame torches. It is time for the evening prayers, the music stops, and slowly the chanting of the priests and the clanging of bells fills the air……….
That is what came to my mind as I watched the lake – the romanticism is all in my head. The reality was probably very different. Or maybe not. Who knows?