Tag Archives: Ajmer

What Is A ‘Kos Minar’?

Mile Stones,Mile Pillars

The 'Kos Minar' at The Veer Tejaji Circle in Mansarovar,Jaipur

Kos Minars or Mile pillars  used to be the mile stones on the Mughal Highways or trade routes which  inter-connected the Mughal Empire . They were first made by Sher Shah Suri to mark the distance. A kos  measures 2 miles of distance. The distance between two Kos Minars was approximately 4 miles. They were more than 30 feet high round pillars of masonry. The design might have varied slightly but their function was the same. They were later on instrumental  in day to day governance of the Mughal Empire as they had horses and riders and drummers stationed there for relying royal messages at speed. They also developed as travelers hubs as step-wells & ‘sarais’ were built nearby. The routes on which these Kos Minars were built had been there for ages. Consequently they are near famous battlefields and monuments and ancient cities. Also modern highways have taken place of the ancient tracks used by Mughal horsemen. They were mostly built during 1556-1707 AD.

In 1575  Emperor Akbar issued an order, as stated in  Akabarnama by Abulfazal,  that Kos Minars should be built on the way from Agra to Ajmer to  act as guide posts  to travelers. Later on Jahangir & ShahJahan had these pillars built along the major routes connecting the Mughal Empire. One of these Kos Minars  still exists  in Mansarovar  near the Veer Tejaji  Road Circle in Jaipur.

There were about 3000 km of highways in the Mughal Empire. So there should have been about 1000 Kos Minars in the Mughal Empire. Their numbers have diminished over the years due to urbanization etc. Nowadays these monuments are protected by the Government of  India, coming under the purview of the ASI.

In February, 2005, a first day cover was issued depicting, a renovated, Kos Minar as a symbol for Heritage Conservation.

Kos Pillar,Mile Stone

Another view of the Kos Minar situated near the VT circle in Mansarovar in Jaipur.

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A Day At The Pushkar Fair 2009

Just Resting A Bit

A Merchant Waiting for Customers

A Camel Ride

The chameleon

Pushkar is about 150 km from Jaipur .So if for some reason you wish to hurry back to Jaipur on the same day you arrive there it can be done. So I planned to do just that. Even before I start the journey I am planning how it will end. That is a result of the rushed lives we all lead. It is just one more habit we can not seem to break.

Jaipur-Ajmer and Pushkar are very well connected, especially during the Cattle Fair time. So I put my camera in a bag and took a Meri Car Taxi to the Sindhi Camp Bus Stand to catch a Deluxe Bus to Ajmer. I was in Ajmer at about 6 am in the morning. I am glad to say it was a good trip and economically priced too. Only thing to note was that the citizens follow the first come first served rule and not the seat number rule when they take their seats on the bus. It worked this time to every body’s satisfaction. Or maybe they were not awake enough to fight.

At Ajmer I asked the ticket seller to sell me a ticket to Pushkar on one of the jam packed buses parked there. He answered reasonably enough that he had already sold 70 tickets on the bus to pushkar  and asked me where I planned to sit in the event that he sold me a ticket. He told me to wait for the next bus. I finally got a ticket on the next bus which started on its winding route through the Aravalies to Pushkar after a long wait. Though the holy town is only about 15 km from Ajmer we reached there about 7 am. The town was already coming alive for the long day ahead. I bought a local newspaper in hindi and avoided drinking tea some body pushed in my face and went into the town towards the ghats.

I was surprised to see dried mud and small ponds of water. Somebody told me for 21 rupees he would sprinkle a little holy water on me to purify me as it was the holy ritual one had to follow before visiting the Brahma Temple. I avoided him too and went on to the Brahma Temple. After taking off my shoes and socks and buying flowers and prasad I tried to go in but they wanted me to deposit my bag with the camera into a free clock room which was not open yet. The Prasad seller did offer to keep the bag but you know how it is when you are traveling alone nowadays – you try not to trust anybody. So I went on again. The shops were opening up. People were trying to display their wares in the best possible way. As I went along I kept noticing temples and dry ghats. What struck me was our piety has nothing to do with a full Sarovar. It is with in us. It is good to have a full tank of water and good to take a holy dip but we can still feel we are purified even with a few drops of holy water sprinkled on us when we have to.

I came to a couple of giant wheel standing silent and empty with numerous other rides. I saw a couple of giant gas balloons giving rides to their foreign guests. I saw a craft mela and a stadium where the animal competition would be held during the day and came to the animal compound. There were Camels and Horses and tourists in a big number. I took a few photos and got directions to the Helipad on the Devnagar-Banseli Road where my friend had put up Swiss Cottages in the style of Bhadrawati Royal Camps. I got to the Helipad but there were no Swiss cottages, instead there was a big elevated road there. Later on I found out that the road is where the railway tracks are to be laid and the cottages were on the other side of the elevated road.

I had some breakfast and headed back to the Ghats again had some holy water sprinkled on me and went to the Brahma Temple and had darshan.

I came out and took some more photos of the colorful and diverse wares on display in the markets. I remember a woman exhorting her husband in a loud voice to buy her a camera and just then I saw some Kodak film cameras on display too. The gap between haves and have nots is narrowing, and rightly so too. Some of these photos are enclosed here.  I had some pakoras and a cold drink as a snack. And headed back for Jaipur after 5 pm and was home for dinner after a day well spent.

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