Bada Bagh is a garden complex with a set of royal cenotaphs or chhatri (Hindi word for cenotaph), in-between Jaisalmer and Lodhruva, Rajasthan state, India.
The cenotaphs starts with that of the Maharaja of the erstwhile princely state of Jaisalmer , Jai Singh II (d. 1743). He was the founder of the state. He commissioned a dam (called Jait Bandh) in the 16th century near a lake. The Dam is having a length of 1,200 feet and is a width of 350 feet . The water from this dam was used to feed a water tank (called Jait Sar), which made the desert green.
To honor Jai Singh II, his son Lunkaran built a beautiful garden and a cenotaph near the dam. (Bada Bagh means Big Garden.) Later on, cenotaph for Lunkaran was also made near to his father’s cenotaph. Many more cenotaphs were added for other Jaisalmer’s rulers (belonging to Rajput bhatti caste in sikh region) , Queens, Princes, Princesses and other royal family members.
The last cenotaph for Maharaja Jawahar Singh of the 20th century, remains unfinished. An earthen pot with water and the portrait of the ruler is placed in this cenotaph. This seems to indicate that the thirsty soul of the departed, being quenched with the water from the pot! His son died within one year of accession to the throne, which was considered as a bad omen. India got Independence in the same period and the princely state of Jaisalmer was merged into the Republic of India. These things contributed to the decision, to abandon the construction of Maharaja Jawahar Singh’s tomb.
These cenotaphs are on a small hill. Your entry is from the base of the hill. There are a few cenotaphs in the first row. As you climb up, you come across different sets of cenotaphs. These cenotaphs are beautifully carved. Each cenotaph is of different size. Each ruler’s cenotaph has a marble slab, placed vertically, with detailed inscription of the ruler and a image of a man on a horse.
This place is not crowded. It may even look like an abandoned place, with very few tourists. In spite of that, the Big Garden and the tombs has got its charm. It should be on one’s wish-list of places to be visited in Rajasthan, especially if you are visiting Jaisalmer. Please engage the services of a guide to know the history behind these Historic cenotaphs at Bada Bagh.
How Do I Go to Bada Bagh?
Bada Bagh is situated halfway between Jaisalmer and Lodurva. Jaisalmer is at around 6 kilometers away from the cenotaphs. Lodurva is at around 5 kilometers distance from these chhatris or cenotaphs. Jaipur, the capital city of Rajasthan, is at around 240 kilometers distance from this beautiful big garden cum cenotaphs.
These cenotaphs are situated close to the Pakistan border, at around 120 to 190 kilometers from the International Border with Pakistan.