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Bada Bagh
About Bada Bagh

Bada Bagh, also called Barabagh (literally Big Garden) is a garden complex which is about 6 km north of Jaisalmer on way to Ramgarh, and halfway between Jaisalmer and Lodhruva in the state of Rajasthan in India. This is not really a garden but a place of royal canotaphs, built in the memory of Kings and Queens who rules this land. It contains a set of royal monuments, or chhatris of Maharajas of Jaisalmer state, starting with Jai Singh II. Each of the memorial 'chattris' has a central column with a bas relief of its owner. Many are followed by figures- one for each wife or consort who committed 'sati' on his funeral pyre.

One can see a definite sequence of style from the angular shapes of the early Hindu monuments at the back that are over 300 years old, to the round arches of later Mughal influence on architecture. Bada Bagh is an oasis at the bank of a man-made dam. It has greenery all around to provide relief, to the local people, from the unrelenting sun. In the cloudy sunset, this is a popular place to watch the setting sun turn Jaisalmer into a beautiful golden brown land.

Bada Bagh is an abundant oasis in the fascinating backdrop of a pretty rain fed lake and a dam in the middle of the plateau. Bada Bagh was founded by Maharaja Jai Singh II, most of the city's fruit and vegetables are grown here and above it are royal monuments with elegantly carved ceiling and equestrian statues of former rulers. The royal cremation grounds are set between the desert and a rain fed lake, built by Maharaja Jai Singh II. A wheat crop is planted as the lake dries up each year.

Main Attractions of Bada Bagh

Bada Bagh which literally means ‘Big Garden’ is located on the Ramgarh road. It was commissioned by Maharawal Jait Singh in the early 16th century and completed by his son Lunakaran after his death. The site itself consists of a tank, a dam and a garden. Nearby you will find the Govardhan Stambh ( pillar ) on which are engraved the names of the dam and the water tank which are called the Jait Bandh and the Jaitsar respectively, dedicated to the man who constructed them. The Jait Bandh is a huge structure, about 1,200 feet in length and 350 feet in width and built out of solid blocks of stone, as are the stepwells.

The Magnificent Drainage System
The interesting feature of the dam is the five tier drainage system which is known locally as Bhanvaria which extends by a bridge. The split-level drains ensure that when the tank fills up there is a natural outflow of water which minimises the risk of flooding. The drains on the other side are called Ramnal. The piece de resistance of Bada Bagh is the Shrine of Bhaironji believed to be a folk manifestation of Lord Shiva The popular image depicting him with his legendary dog is worshipped all over Rajasthan and is particularly visited by childless or infertile women who make offerings to him of their kanchlis.

Maharawal Bairisal's Chhatri
One of the most prominent monuments till recently at Bada Bagh was Maharawal Bairisal’s chhatri (reigned 1863-1901) until it collapsed. Each chhatri contains inscribed tablets and a statue of the Maharawal on a horse along with his queen standing nearby. The size of the chhatris is indicative of the individual’s status, with the king’s memorial obviously larger than any of his brothers. If a maharaja and his maharani are depicted together on a tablet it indicates that she committed sati on the death of her husband, while smaller tablets depicting women are generally of their concubines called paswans. The memorials represent an amalgamation of the Paliwal, Mughal and Rajput styles of architecture and Badi Bagh is the typical oasis in the desert.

History of Bada Bagh

A descendant of Maharawal Jaisal Singh, the founder of the state and Maharaja of Jaisalmer, Jai Singh II (1688–1743), specially made a dam to create a water tank during his reign in the 16th century. This made the desert green in this area.After his death on September 21, 1743, his son Lunkaran built a beautiful garden next to the lake and a chhatri (Hindi for cenotaph) for his father on a hill next to the lake. The site itself consists of a tank, a dam and a garden.

Later on many more cenotaphs were constructed here by the Bhatti descendants.Atop a hill just minutes away from the desert city of Jaisalmer, tourists will find the eerily calm setting of Bada Bagh or Big Garden. Wind whips through crumbling cenotaphs, made of the famous golden stone of Jaisalmer, built in memory of the city’s rulers. Huge wind turbines hum in unison are scatterd around the domed roofs shading the sandstone and marble markers. The sand dunes at Sam are a well revealed destination, especially for sunset views, and the cenotaphs at Sunset Point (closer to the city) are pushed by drivers too lazy to drive a few miles further. The last Chhatri is meant for maharaja Jawahar Singh which dates from the 20th century and remains unfinished after Indian independence.

The imperial chhatris or cenotaphs of the rulers were a tribute to the Bhatti dynasty. The oldest among them are the cenotaphs of Maharawal Jait Singh and his predecessor Devidas who reigned from 1470-1506. The newest cenotaph is that of Jawahar Singh who was Maharawal at the time of Indian independence. Jawahar Singh’s chhatri was left incomplete as his son died within a year of his attainment to the throne which was considered a bad sign by the family. From then on the practice of building a valedictory memorial to the ruling clan has been discontinued.

A whitel marble plaque inside the cenoptaph, below the dome tells about whom it belongs to and most of them are shown riding on the horse. There are plates outside, may be put by tourism department to tell which one belongs to whom. The latest one dated sometime in early 20th century is incomplete and the tradition was stopped after independence.

There was a garden built here next to a dam. The gardens are largely neglected, but the hill with the cenotaphs is still quite an interesting sight.There was a surreal feeling at this place, even though it was crowded with tourists.Visitors will enjoy the beautifully carved structures at sunrise or sunset when picture perfect light flourishes.

How to Reach Bada Bagh

By Rail
Jaisalmer is connected to major cities of India through broad gauge as well as meter gauge railway tracks. Direct trains to Jaisalmer are available from Jodhpur as well as Delhi. Jaisalmer is connected through both 'Broad gauge' as well as 'Meter gauge' tracks. One can also travel to Jaisalmer by Palace on Wheels.

By Road
Jaisalmer is well connected to the rest of state by well-maintained roads. Deluxe & Ordinary buses of Rajasthan Roadways & Private companies operate form Jaisalmer to Jodhpur, Jaipur, Bikaner, Barmer, Mount Abu, Jalore, Ahmedabad etc, Roadways main bus stand opposite Railway station & Golden bus terminal near State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur, Shiv road, Jaisalmer are the two major bus stands.

By Air
Jaisalmer is not directly connected to Airways as such, Jodhpur airport which is about 300 kms away is the nearest airport. Jodhpur is connected to all the major metros of India by government owned as well as private airlines. From Jodhpur you can hire Cabs or take a train journey according to one’s wish and preference.



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