Located 141 km from Jodhpur District headquarters,
Phalodi is an old caravan center in Thar Desert. A dessert
town in erstwhile state of Marwar was originally known as
Phalverdika or Vijaypur Patan and there after Phaluerdika.
This town was a trading center being on the land route from
North Western India into Central India. It was originally
under the rule of Rao Maldev Rathore of Jodhpur. Thereafter
for a short while this town came under the direct rule of
Emperor Akbar who gifted this town to the Rulers of Jaisalmer.
Many a wars have been fought to have custody of Phalodi
which for long has been an important trading town between
Maharajas of Jaisalmer, Bikaner & Jodhpur.
Phalodi is thought to have been founded
in the 15th century, famous for old town of ancient Jain
and Hindu temples, it houses temples of over 300 years old.
A 400 year old fort of monumental importance is another
specialty. In typical regional style in Phalodi the havelis
loom up from the road, secluded by jharokhas and
jaalis, and thick wooden doors frequently embellished
with ivory and brass. Many of the havelis paint their grand
front doors a fantastic shade - so vibrant in the desert
scene. Temples prefer bright yellow for the doors, a fabulous
combination against pristine whitewashed walls, the sand
and the colorful attire of the womenfolk.
A heightened sense of beauty somehow seems
to have pervaded the desert region, perhaps to balance or
counter the extreme aridity. Correspondingly, workmanship
and artistry of a high order also appears to be an inborn
gift of the people here. The richness of Phalodi architectural
heritage brooks no denial, especially as a visit here can
be combined with trips to nearby Bikaner and Jaisalmer.
Phalodi town is home to the 'jooti' and
these fine embroidered shoes, can be ordered or bought ready
made for a very fair price. Glass bangles from the local
women who put out stall every day regardless of the heat.
A small bead jeweler's shop quickly puts together Bishnoi
style necklace complete with enormous pendants. A heightened
sense of beauty somehow seems to have pervaded the desert
region, perhaps to balance or counter the extreme aridity
of Rajasthan. Correspondingly, workmanship and artistry
of a high order also appears to be an inborn gift of the
An early morning trip into the desert is
so cool and pleasant. These women are always splendidly
attired, in colorful ghagras usually red, a nylon
odini with blouse and oodless of silver and
beaded ornaments. The unmarried girls reveal their faces,
but the married ones are modestly covered from head to toe.
The camel too is grandly dressed, with embroidered cloth
thrown over its dignified hump. The Bishnoi men take it
easy, wrapped in mild opium, and immersed in card games
through the day. Old Jain and Hindu temples too charm the
visitor, marvels of an ancient sculpted work, done in a
Given the popular hyped attractions of
the bigger cities in Rajasthan, it is no surprise that this
area is not so well known. However, the richness of its
architectural heritage brooks no denial. The temple of Jambaji,
a few kms from Phalodi, is a simply lovely spot, on the
banks of a small, very blue lake full of brackish water.
It's a perfect picnic spot, to bathe and relax and have
a leisurely picnic spread. The temple of Ramdevra too is
a popular place, locally much revered. Oswals and Maheswaris,
the rich flock from Phalodi is seen all over the world .One
drives into Phalodi, often pursued by a sandstorm in summer,
with rains beginning in July. The region thus begins its
holiday season. It is a perfect opportunity to explore,
and enjoy, a lovely new place, seemingly having excited
forever. One can spend a day in haveli. Havelis are sumptuously
decorated mansions as residences, built by the merchants
of Rajasthan. The merchants had commissioned artisans to
ensure that they construct and decorate the havelis in a
manner that befits the prosperity of the owner. Havelis
are common everywhere in Rajasthan and plays a major role
in Rajasthan Tourism. Many of the large havelis have a basement,
as is evident from the raised front, serves as a cool area
in the summer heat and also suitable for the storage of
perishables. Large chutes from the raised frontage send
out the rain water into the streets.
Rural Life of Phalodi is exciting. Water
is literally like nectar in Phalodi. People and animals
in Phalodi can manage without water for a considerable period.
Housewives manage their chores with a minimum of water like
for cleaning vessels; they use a piece of cloth and fine
sand, which is available in plenty. Brass and copper vessels,
plates, and tumblers acquire a shiny look after a sandy
dry-clean! After this they get a final wash with very little
water and are ready for use. A village well is the hub of
activity in the morning. People, who cannot afford to purchase
water, draw water from the well in earthen pitchers by themselves.
The water in earthen pots becomes ice-cold in the simmering
heat of summer and becomes uncontaminated, although initially
full of sand, as the sand settles. Women usually cover their
faces with an odhni or dupatta and wear thick,
full-length skirts with innumerable pleats and a blouse
with colorful designs. "Tie and dye" is a home industry
and the colorful head-wear (pugdi or rumal) of men and the
gaudy dresses of women provide a wonderful contrast
The heavy jewelry made mainly of silver,
tinkles and jingles when the women grind grain, pound spices
or draw water. Villagers are friendly and helpful, but wary
of strangers. Men and women never mix or talk in public
except for business. Amusements for the people are in plenty
but are enjoyed in segregated groups. Weddings, the births
of children, and festivals are great opportunities to find
women dressed in their finery, visiting village temples
with pitchers on their heads. On the occasion of a baby's
arrival, a betrothal, or a wedding, women gather in groups
and sing in a chorus for hours, with the accompaniment of
the dholak (small drum).
Camels are integral parts of the many households
in Phalodi, Rajasthan, and are used for transportation,
travel and amusement. Camel load-lifting competitions and
camel races take place on festive occasions. Marriage processions
are typically led on camel back, with the groom and bride
huddled together. Each house has a huge gate for camel-entry
and only a very small door for human creatures. Sheep grazing
is a common sight, mostly taken up by girls.
A stay in Lalniwas can be
combined with trips to nearby villages, gives you a glimpse
of arid desert life of Phalodi.
Osiyan - Temple town
Osiyan is an ancient town in the Thar
Desert, situated 62 km north of Jodhpur, in Rajasthan, famous
for its exquisitely sculptured temples, most of which have
withstood the ravages of time. It was a major trading center
dominated by the Jains in the 8th and 12th centuries. Osiyan
comes first at 62 km, literally in the middle at the edge
of the Thar Desert.
Osiyan is a major Jain pilgrim center.
It boasts a large number of Brahmanical and Jain temples
dating back from the 8th to 11th century. Among them, the
old Jain temple dedicated to Mahavira, built of local red
sandstone, is the major attraction. The statue of Mahavira
here is said to be over 2000 years old. Other attractions
include the Sachiya Mata temple and Sun (Surya) Temple.
Both Hindu and Jain temples, of red and cream sandstone,
reputed to be around 2,500 years old, are superb work of
art. The Jain temple, 2,500 years old, is a masterpiece
in creamy sandstone, very well maintained. Graceful thorans
(arches), freestanding pillars and fantastic sculptures
make this unique temple something of a fantasy. The dome
temple has exquisite figures of apsaras in cream
and pink stone, quarried locally long, long ago. This temple
has been restored with care, using no cement or iron, but
the materials used originally. With the Sand Dunes never
far away, Osiyan can provide tented stays on the dunes and
camel rides across the desert.
A visit to Osiyan can be combined with
trips to nearby Bikaner and Jaisalmer. The exploration of
Jodhpur or Jaisalmer is incomplete without advancing into
the desert, towards Phalodi and Osiyan.
Bird watching vacations in Rajasthan
is a visual feast for the Bird watching connoisseur. Get
close to the famed Demoiselle Cranes. Take wings on a Bird
watching tour to Khichan and you will want to fly back again.
Experience India Tourism in all its colors.