We were trundling along a dusty semi-desert countryside when suddenly two birds flew across the road. The Family and I said simultaneously “Black-headed Ibis.” We stopped the auto and saw that behind the rocky wall on the left was a large but shallow lake. This was full of birds. Northern India, even the arid region of Jodhpur, is full of winter visitors. We got in an unexpected bit of bird watching, with multiple lifers.
A female purple sunbird
The lake was Devkund, a part of the Rao Jodha desert park. Later we had an interesting lifer elsewhere in the same park. My lifers are marked in bold-face in the list below. Amazing that we had two lifers in a place where we were not aware that there was birding! Our bird list would have been longer if we had binoculars with us.
- Black-headed Ibis
- Common coot
- Eurasian wigeon
- Common teal
- Great cormorant
- Little cormorant
- Common pochard
- Knob-billed duck
- Black-winged stilt
- Little grebe
- Red-wattled lapwing
- Red-vented bulbul
- Jungle babbler
- Indian robin
- Purple sunbird
- Black kite
- Long-legged buzzard
- Blue rock pigeon
- Eurasian scops owl
Jaswant Thada lies on the way from Jodhpur to Mehrangarh. This cenotaph for Jaswant Singh II, ruler of Jodhpur, was built in 1899 by his son, Sardar Singh. The white marble building with its profusion of domes stands above a tiered garden built with red stone walls. We passed the super-sized equestrian statue of Jaswant Singh II, and walked past Devkund before we saw the warm glow of the marble structure in the morning sun.
Cenotaph for a peacock
Cenotaphs for three other rulers
Domes and turrets of the main cenotaph
Jaswant Thada and its tiered garden
Beautiful marble jalis in the main mausoleum
A dome with Tekri Mata mandir in the background
Inside the mausoleum.
Chhatris and Mehrangarh seen from Jaswant Thada
A super-sized statue of Jaswant Singh II outside Jaswant Thada
We were early enough that there were very few other visitors. The place is full of whimsical touches. We passed a memorial to a peacock which is supposed to have flown into the funeral pyre of the king. We walked around the mausoleum and peered into its main hall. There is a silver throne in the middle of the hall, and portraits of the Rathore rulers hang on the walls. Pigeons roost everywhere, passing through the exquisitely carved marble jali. We descended into the small but well-maintained garden to see the three other memorials. There was a great view of Jodhpur from the far corner of the garden. As we walked back towards the entrance we had a great view of Mehrangarh.
It is a nice and peaceful place, and we got in a little unexpected birding in the lake behind the mausoleum. More about that in a future post.