In a cursed village of Paliwal Brahmins, who abandoned this place 200 years ago due to unknown reasons is a ruined citadel known as Khaba Fort. At a distance of 35 km from Jaisalmer, set amid a barren desert village in the Jaisalmer district of Rajasthan, it is a must-visit while staying at Manvar, our desert camp in Jaisalmer. The crumbling structure of the fort still has the ruins of the homes and was the home of some 80 families. Khaba Fort was built back in the 13th century AD and was once an important part of Kuldhara, a village inhabited by Paliwal Brahmins.
It is a deserted palace, with no crowd at all, ancient ruins all around and peaceful surroundings for miles. It is supposedly the smallest fort in Rajasthan and most of its part is damaged and ruined. The restoration work is on and it will be restored back to its old glory! History and legends associated with this fort are interesting and that makes the visit very worthy.
Khaba Fort and its surroundings were populated by Paliwal Brahmins almost 200 years ago, a community of Rajasthan. One night in the year 1825, due to some mysterious reason all 80 families together vacated the village suddenly. Some say it was overnight desertion of the fort and its surroundings. No research on this has yielded any fact about how this sudden disappearance took place or where they went. While staying in our desert camp in Jaisalmer at Manvar you can plan a day trip to the fort. It is a serene and calm place to spend a day.
The story of Khaba Fort goes like this:
A minister or Dewan of the kingdom once saw the young daughter of the village chief of Kuldhara villages. Captivated by her beauty he desired to marry her. The girl’s father refused the proposal as didn’t want his daughter to marry him. This made the minister angry 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 of the region met that night. To safeguard their pride and honor they decided to leave the villages on the same night.
They cursed the place before leaving the village, saying no one would ever be able to inhabit the villages. And to this day, there are just ruins, not a sign of life as far as your eyes can see.
Khaba Fort was the Sarai Fort, i.e a fort on the entrance. 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 permission to go ahead for trading in the state.
While staying in Manvar Desert camp in Jaisalmer, visit the fort, climb the staircase to the fort’s entrance and imagine a past when it was the focal point of a prosperous village. The remains of the village look like a well-planned settlement with a Shiva temple surrounded by several houses. Admire the turreted towers, elegant windows, and intricate frames in those windows. They serve as a testament to the artistic talents of the Paliwal Brahmins. Walk along the ramparts and enjoy uninterrupted views of the village below and the surrounding countryside. There is a small museum in the fort to see displays of archaeological artifacts found in and around the area of the fort.
Take time to stroll through the spookily quiet streets of Kuldhara, which stretch out from the base of the fort. Visit the Shiva temple, see the huts and peer down staircases that take you deep underground. Find the remains of more than 80 deserted sandstone abodes.
Khaba Fort is open every day. You can visit the fort from our desert camp in Jaisalmer, at Manvar, in the morning during sunrise or in the evening during sunset, when you can watch the sandstone buildings and surrounding desert dramatically change color and appearance together.