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En route to Jaisalmer from either Bikaner or Jodhpur, an hour’s drive away, lies Pokhran, also spelled Pokaran. A small town, Pokhran came to international fame after India’s nuclear weapon tests in 1974 and then again in 1998, which India carried out successfully eluding USA’s wide web of intelligence and a fleet of spy satellites. Though these sites are in the deep desert and way out of the tourist circle, Pokhran is worth a brief stop for visiting the 14th century fort here. Pokhran is also known for extremely hot chilies and articles made form camel leather available at comparatively low prices as compared to the other tourist destinations.

 

Pokhran is situated in a harsh and lonely landscape of Thar Desert, the reason why Indian government found it to be the best place for testing nuclear bombs. The name Pokhran literally means a place surrounded by five desert ranges, or five mirages. This solitary settlement, mostly devoid of tourists, has a strong feel of despondence about it. This feeling is elevated when you pay a visit to the Pokhran Fort, known as Balagarh.

 

Balagarh, a 14th century fort, is partially in ruins today, which is mostly due to lack of funding and maintenance as Pokhran is out of the high tourist traffic zone. However, one can still roam the entire wide premises at leisure and enjoy the rare quietness filled with a sense of loss. This melancholic feeling intensifies as you visit the caved in bastions and the corridors where the colorful statues that once represented opulence but now stand under layers of dust and cobwebs. Some of the old customs, however, are still kept intact, such as the temple of Bal Krishna (Baby Krishna) where a lady still keeps the cradle with the god’s idol swinging.

 

The main façade of the fort is stately and still holds the grand look about it. There is a museum of arms and weaponry and old royal articles such as clothes, garments and paintings. The royal Thakur family that owns the fort welcomes the tourists for a night’s stay in the fort, providing them a royal treatment amidst the royal chambers and rooms which are still well-maintained.

 

Bird-lovers have an added attraction at Pokhran at a nearby place where Hobura Bustards, Great Indian Bustards, Damsel Cranes and Siberian Imperial Sand Grouse migrate seasonally.

There is also an old Jain temple in Pokhran.

 

It is recommended that you take a brief halt at Pokhran before entering Jaisalmer. But Jaisalmer, without any doubt, is where you should spend most of your time if you are on a tight schedule.

 


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Pokhran is a small town situated in harsh and isolated sands of Thar Desert. This small town came to the knowledge of the world after grand success of India’s Nuclear Weapon Tests here in 1974 and again in 1998. You can take a quick stop at Pokhran on the way to Jaisalmer from Jodhpur or Bikaner. Here there is a 14th century fort named, Balagarh. The main façade of the Fort has a grand look. There is a museum displaying arms and weaponry and old royal articles such as clothes and paintings. The tourists are welcomed by royal Thakur family that owns the fort and facilitates them with the option of a night stay with royal treatment. Other attraction of Pokhran is an interesting bird watching site nearby.

 

Destination Grade: C (What is this?)
Rating: 5/10
Population: 18,857(2010).
Airport: Jodhpur(172 Km)
Railway Station: Jodhpur
Nearest Major City(s): Bikaner, Jodhpur
How to reach: Well connected by road
Major Tourist Attraction: Fort Pokhran or Balagarh, Ramdevsar Lake, Jain Temple
Speciality(Famous for): Balagarh Fort.
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Rating:
53.0
38 votes
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Total Reviews : 6
 
 
Reviews by users : (6)
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Pokhran's remarkable Rajputs Memorials - by Saravanaraj  Dated : 2011-05-02
I see here that almost all of them have commented not that good on Pokhran. I was recently driving through Pokhran from Jaisalmer to Jodhpur and just before entering the city of Pokhran, on the left side of the road at a kilometer's distance I noticed some huge black domes in ruins and it looked so amazing! Me and my friends were so impressed and wanted to go there.

We drove through a narrow muddy road that leads to the ruins and then came to a railway track beyond which there were no roads. So we parked our car there and walked up to the ruins. Once there, the magnitude of the structure takes you back in awe!

We climbed and went into the structure and there were no information on what it is. We saw some 4 big dome structures with plenty of pillars supporting them. In the middle of the domes there was a small altar where we saw feet carvings. I guess they should be the dead people from some royal family who were either buried there or this structure was built in their memory. There were smaller feet that look like children, then some that looked like womens feet and some like men.

But take my word, this place is such a wonderful piece of art! The Pokhran IAF's bombing range is close by and you could see and hear many jets roaring in the sky.

I highly recommend you a visit to this place which is definitely worth going. I see no facility to post pictures here, or I have some great pictures taken there. If someone would like to see those pics, mail me at sharansmail at rediffmail.com

We tried to ask some people there on this structure and either they didnt know or we didnt understand what they said(as we didnt know Hindi) I dont see any info on the net too. If someone knew what it is exactly and who build it, pls post here!
Not too Good Not too bad Pokhran - by Vaibhav Singh  Dated : 2011-05-02
Actually Pokhran is not a tourist destination, it does not have huge palaces or temples, but it has one fort called the balagarh Fort. The only fort in Pokhran is not very much a visit as it is ruins today. It has a museum that displays arms and ammunition and royal articles. There is an old Jain temple here.

The harsh Thar desert makes it worse, the weather is hot and dry here. Pokhran became famous only due to the success of India's Nuclear Weapon tests. The place has nothing much to offer if compared to rest of the Rajasthan state. I would say, going there purposely would not be very intelligent but can be visited on the way to Jaisalmer.
No Bet on Pokhran! - by Ritesh Kher  Dated : 2011-03-16
Well, Pokhran is not much of a tourist place. It is not among the league of popular tourist places in Rajasthan because it does not boast of lavish palaces or magnificent forts. I had gone to Pokhran because I was visiting a distinct relative of mine. I was not to stay for a long time but I thought to visit the place and check out how the town was.

I was really not excited when I went around the town. There is a fort here, Balagarh fort. But the fort is very much in ruins and I did not see any efforts being taken to conserve or reconstruct it. There is a museum in this fort. It displays royal articles and artillery. It did not impress me much. However I felt nice, there was a distinct calm about the fort, no noise or bustle of tourists, there were just one or two. I leisurely roamed about the fort. The entrance of the fort still looks lavish.

Nearby Pokhran you can spot birds like bustards, grouses and cranes. All in all Pokhran is not good enough to win your heart over; it is just another place in Rajasthan, a state full of beautiful cities. Do not specially visit Pokhran; just take a quick visit if you are passing by it.
Dull Pokhran - by Mehul Parekh  Dated : 2011-03-14
I will never suggest anyone to specially visit Pokhran. It is not some place where you can find some beautiful palaces or Havelis like in rest of Rajasthan. It got famous only because of the nuclear tests that it hosted, which luckily got successful without the U.S getting to know.

If you are on your way somewhere to Jodhpur, you can wait here for a while. But you cannot see the place where the nuclear tests were carried out. The only thing that proves its connection with rest of Rajasthan is the Balagarh fort. It is a 14th century fort, very much destroyed with the sands of time, in ruins and not worth a lot of clicks of your camera.

There is some sort of a museum which hosts weapons and artillery of the old times, some paintings and royal articles. Also there is an old Jain temple nearby. Well, you cannot spend a lot of time here and there is nothing worth exploring in Pokhran, but it can be a good time killer. But a strict no for inclusion in your royal Rajasthan itinerary.
Pokhran - by Asim Bari  Dated : 2011-03-10
Pokhran is near Jaisalmer and is famous for india’s nuclear test in the 90s which was a great achievement because india carried out these tests without letting america’s spy satellites know about them. But when you go to Pokhran you do not get to see the site of the nuclear explosion which is a big disappointment. But there is a army museum here which is a very interesting place. If you are interested in wars and are passionate about your country you will like to visit this museum.

There is also a fort in Pokhran but it is not very good. The fort is old and not in a good state. It takes only a few minutes to visit this place. There are some shops of camel leather items outside the fort and theu are very cheap, cheaper than other places in Rajasthan.
Pokhran - by Apurva Pathak Dated : 2011-01-24
The town of Pokhran, hardly an hour away from Jodhpur is remotely situated in the harsh Thar Desert. It is also called Pokaran meaning a land surrounded by five desert ranges. It became famous internationally because tests of Indian nuclear weapons were carried out here.

Balagarh Fort, a 14th century fort in Pokhran is mostly in ruins due to no funding and negligence. The Fort is grand but with a feeling of emptiness. It has museum of weapons, old royal articles and paintings and an old Jain temple in vicinity. The royal Thakur family that owns the Fort still welcomes tourists for a night stay, providing extravagant and royal treatment. It is hard to give Pokharan a star rating but a short visit on your way won’t do any harm.