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Former Jaisalmer ruler Brijraj Singh no more

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The former ruler of Jaisalmer Brijraj Singh, 52, passed away in Delhi’s Vedanta hospital on Monday. The titular Maharawal was taken to Delhi by an air ambulance from Jodhpur where he was admitted for severe liver-related disease, but his condition deteriorated last night and he passed away on Monday morning.

The flag at the palace inside the fort was lowered as a mark of respect to the former ruler. The former ruler lived in the palace located in the fort.

He is survived by his wife and two sons. His wife, Rajeshwari Devi, comes from Nepal. His two sons are Chaitanyaraj Singh Bhati and Janmajeyaraj Bhati. His last rites will be performed on Tuesday. The people of Jaisalmer mourned his death and a large number of people thronged the palace.

Brijraj Singh worked hard for the ‘heritage’ tag

Brijraj Singh lived in the golden fort along with 4,000 others in what is called the world’s only living fort. The golden fort has been immortalised as Sonar Kella by ace filmmaker Satyajit Ray in his film by the same name. The fort was listed as a UNESCO heritage hill fort in 2013.

Brijraj Singh worked very hard to get the fort the world heritage site status and it was finally given the world heritage site status along with four other hill forts of Rajasthan.

The city of Jaisalmer earned a lot of global publicity because of Ray’s film Sonar Kella when it was shown in Europe and in the United States and a lot of visitors started coming to see the city and the golden fort and today, it has become an established tourist destination.

Though the fort was built by the Bhati rulers, its ownership passed to the Union government after the merger of the princely states in 1948. Brijraj Singh lived inside the fort in his palace.

It is believed to be one of the very few “living forts” in the world, another living fort is Carcassonne in France, but it is not a hill fort. Jaisalmer fort for the past 800 years served as the living fort as nearly one-fourth of the old city’s population still resides within the fort. For the better part of its 800-year history, the fort was the city of Jaisalmer. The first settlements outside the fort walls, to accommodate the growing population of Jaisalmer, are said to have come up in the 17th century.

Built in 1156

Jaisalmer Fort is the second oldest fort in Rajasthan, built in 1156 AD by the Rajput ruler Jaisal from whom it derives its name, and stood at the crossroads of important trade routes.

 

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