Bada Bagh, literally meaning “great garden,” is located halfway between Jaisalmer and Lodhruva and contains a series of royal cenotaphs or honey combed chhatris of Jaisalmer Maharajas, notably that of Jai Singh II (Maharaja Sawai Jai Sing). Bada Bagh is perched atop a tiny hill. This Bagh, with its famous golden cenotaphs, is located 6 kilometres from Jaisalmer’s northern region.

The memorial chhatri cenotaphs were all carved out of sandstone blocks, but they came in at least four distinct sizes – for the governing kings, queens, princes, and other members of the royal family. A marble slab with inscriptions about the departed king and a symbolic image of a man on a horse adorns each cenotaph. The cenotaphs here all have ornately carved ceilings and gorgeous equestrian ruler statues. They are constructed in such a way that each one represents the ruler’s power quotient with whom it has been related. In other words, the more powerful a king or queen became, the taller his Chhatri became. A stone inscription at the summit of each Chhatri reflects the date and name of the king or queen to whom it was dedicated. You could even see a little summary on some of them.

Bada Bagh, which gleams through Jaisalmer’s desert regions, was formerly encircled by lush green gardens. In the 16th century, Jai Singh II’s son, Lunkaran, constructed the region’s first cenotaph. Jai Singh II was well-known for his contributions to making the city more environmentally friendly. To pay tribute to him, his son erected a cenotaph beside the dam and constructed a large park around it. Maharawal Jawahir Singh’s cenotaph was the final to be built, although it was never finished. Maharawal Girdhar Singh, his son, died in the middle of the construction process. According to local legend, the disaster was so bad that the site was abandoned right away, and stayed that way until it was completely demolished. Since then, the garden complex has fallen into disrepair, with many of the trees wilting to death while the outstanding stone structures withstand the test of time.

The garden is open throughout the week from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm. The entry fees is also kept nominal being Rs 20 for Indian nationals and Rs 50 for foreign nationals. Spend the day interpreting the sculptures at Bada Bagh and then wait until dusk to behold the monument of memories transform into a golden illusion. The royal structures magnify their beauty differently in different transitional phases of light, making this spot a photographer’s dream.

To know how to reach Jaiaslmer, read our blog post .