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.
||C (What is this?)
|Nearest Major City(s):
|How to reach:
||Well connected by road
|Major Tourist Attraction:
||Fort Pokhran or Balagarh, Ramdevsar Lake, Jain Temple
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