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Phalodi - Fact file

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 people here.

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 remote place.

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.

Jeep Safari
Bird Watching Tour
Desert Camping
Camel Rides
Folk Music & Dance
Bird Watching
Phalodi Fort
Jain Temple
Osiyan Temple
Ramdeora Temple
India Tourism
Bird Watching
Picture Gallery
Dadha Heritage Museum
Phalodi & Osiyan