Gadisar Lake

  based on 1 review   write a review

Jaisalmer, India

Gadisar Lake Jaisalmer Reviews

Toonsarah Toonsarah
473 reviews
Gadisar Lake and Tilon-ki-Pol Oct 23, 2015
Our first stop on our day’s sightseeing tour in Jaisalmer was at this very photogenic spot on the edge of the old town. The lake is also often referred to locally as Gadisar Tank, as it is manmade – built as a reservoir for the city of Jaisalmer by Rawal Jaisal, the first maharaja of Jaisalmer, and later restored and improved by Maharaja Maharwal Gadsi Singh in about 1400 AD. There are a number of temples and shrines not only around the lake but also out in the middle, and several ghats once (but no longer) used for cremations.

A large number of catfish live in the lake. Our guide Gaurav had bought some slices of bread from a local lad as we walked along the road and we were soon to find out why. He tossed a few pieces into the water and it immediately began to churn as the fish jostled to grab a bite. I don’t think I have ever seen so many fish so close together in a body of water at one time!

It is possible to hire boats here, and it’s also a good place for birdwatching, as well as for photography as I hope you can see.

Some of the structures around Gadisar Lake have small memorial stones, beautifully carved, which Gaurav told us commemorated women who had immolated themselves. In fact, I have since learned, they commemorate first and foremost the men who died and were cremated at these ghats, but also their wives who practised what is known as sati – self-immolation on the funeral pyre of their husband. The stone with the carving of a man on horseback is a memorial to the man, while that with the figures with their hands folded is for the wives, with the number of figures showing how many wives performed sati.

This seems a horrific idea to Westerners, and probably these days to most Indians too, but Gaurav told us that it was not so long ago that sati was still practised here. His own great grandmother had immolated herself on the death of her husband (I didn’t think to ask about the date, being quite shocked at the revelation, but I would guess that it must have been in the first part of the twentieth century, long after the practice was officially banned in India). Later that day we were to visit the Brahmin cenotaph of Vyas Chhatri where he told us that this (to me) gruesome sacrifice had taken place.

The main path down to Gadisar Lake leads beneath a lovely sandstone gate, the Tilon-ki-Pol (meaning Gate of Tilon), which dates back to the 14th century. The story goes that Tilon was a famous dancer (some say prostitute) in the court of the maharaja. She wanted to pay for a gate to be built here, but the maharaja refused permission because he would have to pass under it to go down to the lake, which he felt would be beneath his dignity. But while he was away on court business she had it built anyway, and when he returned and threatened to pull it down, she added a temple to Krishna on the top so that it would become sacred and therefore not to be destroyed even by a king. To get a good view of the gate don’t walk through it to the lake but instead follow the road a short way past it and head down to the water further to the east.
Gadisar Lake
Gadisar Lake
Tilon-ki-Pol
Sati memorial
Link
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!

Check Jaisalmer Hotel Deals

Check-in:
Check-out:
Guests:
Rooms:
Jaisalmer Map
1 review
1 review
1 review - $9
3 reviews - $87
Jaisalmer
photo by: lrecht