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The temples in Jaisalmer are famous for for their beautiful architecture and intricate carvings. However, Temple trail is different - it takes you to historical temples in far lung areas of Thar Desert which are frequented by locals. These are not mammoth temples, but have very relevance in the history of the area.
Its not just the temples which are beautiful, but also the empty roads one takes to reach them. They are all located far from each other and sign boards are absolutely missing for some. That's precisely what also makes these places so amazing...
There are five temples we covered in this trail:
1. Muhar Mahadev:
This is located off the road and you can go there only with someone who knows the area as well as the temple really well. Its rather small and looted close by is an ancient well. The pujari was quite smart and even had a nice red jeep to travel around. He had even engraved his phone number on the temple walls, making sure his number would live on even after he was gone :)
The temple dates back to the 16th Century and is dedicated to Muhar Mahadev (Shiva).
2. Nabh Dungar:
Sometimes its not the architecture of the temple but its story which hooks you to it. This was one such temple. Nabh Dungar is the second highest point in the entire region after Trikuta Hill on which Naisalmer fort is built.
Located on the top of a hill, the temple priest is quite a man! Full of stories and legends from the region, he can keep you engaged for hours together. Unfortunately we had time for only a few of them, but I have promised myself to revisit the place the next time I am in the region again.
3. Lodhruva Jain Temple:
As you drive towards the village, the temple rises up like a golden orb of unparalleled beauty. I was least expecting to find a temple as beautiful as this in the middle of nowhere. Jain temples across the region are beautiful, and this one still manages to stand apart. Dedicated to the 23rd Tirthankar Parswanath, this is a relatively well known place especially to the Jain pilgrims here.
Something really interesting happened here when I met a twitter follower just outside the gate who recognised me just by my face
4. Shiva temple, Khaba village
Khaba is one of the eighty four villages from the region which were deserted within a night hundreds of years ago. The temple rises like a phoenix from the ruins all around. Resorted recently by ASI, its a sight to behold. You can walk down from the Khaba fort to reach here and its rather wonderful to spend some quite moments in the ruins around.
The best time to visit the village is early in the morning (Breakfast with Peacocks at Khaba Fort) or late in the afternoon at the golden hour when the light is magical and everything in the desert glitters like pure gold.
5. Jain Temple, Jaisalmer fort
The temple is so beautiful that you are unlikely to find anything more beautiful anytime in future after that - especially if you like stone carvings and beautiful human forms.
To me it was also exciting because of the photo opportunities it presented, and the carved stories on the walls. Do not miss this if you ever visit Jaisalmer city!