Khaba Fort, Location, History and Visit to Museum
Khaba Fort may be the smallest fort of Jaisalmer, Rajasthan. Much of it is damaged and in ruins. The restoration work is still on and it will be a while before it is restored back to its old glory! The history and stories associated with this fort are interesting and that makes the visit very worthy. The visit to Khaba Fort was part of Experiential Tourism from Suryagarh Resort.
History of Khaba Fort
Almost 200 years ago Khaba Fort and its surroundings was populated by Paliwal Brahmins, a community of Rajasthan. But suddenly one night in the year 1825, due to some mysterious reason they vacated the village. Some say it was overnight desertion of the fort and its surroundings. There were around 80 families then in these regions. No research on this has yielded any fact about how this sudden disappearance took place or where they went. There are unverified rumours that they moved on to Jodhpur and settled in some place beyond that.
There are stories of how the Paliwal Brahmins before leaving the village cursed the place saying no one would ever be able to inhabit the villages. And to this date there are just ruins, not a sign of life as far as the eye can see.
Paliwal Brahmins since 1291 were prosperous residents of Kuldhara village of Jaisalmer. Till date it is a mystery that why after residing there for 7 centuries they vacated the place overnight.
Legend around desertion of Kuldhara Village
Rajasthan has several interesting legends. One I mentioned on how Kiradu Temple complex came to be known as haunted. This legend is on why Paliwal Brahmins left the Kuldhara villages. The story is:
A minister or Dewan of the kingdom saw the young daughter of the village chief. Bewitched by her beauty he desired to marry her. The girl’s father refused to give his daughter in marriage to him. This angered the minister and forced the village chief for marrying off his daughter. He gave a deadline for marriage after which he would forcefully enter the village and take his daughter. The chiefs of all 84 villages met that night. To safeguard their pride and honor they decided to leave the villages in the dark of the night.
Visit to Khaba Fort
The ruins of some of those deserted villages are visible from Khaba Fort. The remains of the village looks like a well planned settlement with a temple surrounded by several houses. Strangely none of the houses in the ruins have roofs! The walls are crumbling and no effort is there to maintain them. The whole area has an eerie deserted look and it was just fore noon. You can well imagine the condition middle of a new moon night!
Our guide further told us Khaba Fort was the Sarai Fort (fort at the frontier). The traders who entered Rajasthan via the Silk Route trade stayed inside this fort for a night. Only after they paid taxes they were given the permission to go ahead for trade.
Restoration work is on in the fort. The window frames half made and a couple of guards man the fort. At a distance is the Pakistan border, our guide told us. I looked in the direction he mentioned, all I saw was vast stretch of land with nothing mention worthy in sight!
Museum at Khaba Fort
Today Khaba Fort houses a geological museum with display of fossils. In addition there are various kinds of rock formations too. There are explanatory boards with the display and it is a learning experience.
Location of Khaba Fort
Khaba Fort can be reached by road. You can drive to the place from Jaisalmer. It is 35kms west of Jaisalmer.