Longewala – The Land Of Victory | 1971-Battle of Longewala | Rajasthan Trip

“Rajasthan is not all about deserts but its beyond more . Welcome to Rajasthan, the land of Rajputs and the palaces …” .These were the words that Matthu ,our driver cum Guide said to us . On our very first day of our four days trips to Rajasthan we planned to visit Longewala border post .
We started from Jaisalmer Railway station early in the morning and had a small stop over at a restaurant which was quite near to the Jaisalmer fort . We took a small halt when we reached Ramgarh ,a small town before  Longewala border post. After we crossed Ramgarh the whole geography of the place took a sudden change . We were expecting to see huge sand dunes but could not find many to see en-route ,even after driving for more 1 hours ,except for the many wind turbine mills neatly installed in a meticulously straight line amids the parched flat drylands . Few vegetations mainly grasses and shrubs could also be seen which was the only vegetation available in those hostile piece of land .Apart from the one or two wild asses and camels no other things were moving under the scorching sun. We could see few mud houses too ,but were not sure whether those were occupied .The roads running to the last border post were quite well maintained.
 Wind mills
Vast road lanes.
The time was 11 O’clock on my wrist watch and the temprature outside was at brazing 38 degress when we reached Longewala border post. This fortified border post is only 15kms away from the indo-pak international borders and took us three hours to reach our destination ,Longewala, Yudh Sthal(Battlefield).
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BP 638 pillar
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As Longewala , is an important and strategic border post 15 kms from the International border , we could see heavy military presence. We were asked for our Identity proof at the check post and driver took our vehicle to the park lot at the left .
 Around the War memorial
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 From Inside the Tank
Inside view of the Destroyed tank
We crossed across the BP 638 pillar to reach,the defeated patton tank at the entrance to the ‘Longewala War Memorial’ .The war memorial at Longewala commemorates the heroic battle fought there on the chilly nights of 4th and 5th December,1971. This is the very site where Pakistan faced a humiliating defeat wherein over 179 Pakistani soldiers were killed or wounded and 37 Pakistani tanks were destroyed. Two destroyed tanks of the  battle, T-59  and Shermans, remain at Longewala to recount the tale.The murals of the soldiers and the 106 mm recoilless gun, which were the main anti-tank weapon, occupy a place of pride in the memorial.
106 mm recoilless gun used during the War
More details on the Battle of Longewala can be found in the below wikipedia link :-
There is also a newly built memorial in the honor of soldiers martyred in the Operation Cactus Lily of December, 1971 and Operation Parakram of Year 2001-2002. The war memorial also has a state-of-the-art audio visual theater for screening the movies on the battle of Longewala which also includes an interview with Major (Retd) Kuldip Singh Chandpuri, recipient of second highest war gallantry award , Maha Vir Chakra award .He displayed conspicuous gallantry and inspiring leadership ,holding off the Pakistani attack with maneuvers that made the Pakistani ground forces going into a frenzy.It can be seen in the below pic which shows the tracks left by the Pakistani tanks trying to evade the Indian attack.
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Source : Google
Tracks of the tanks , desperately maneuvering to escape bombings from Indian Air force.
We watched the short film there for a nominal fee of Rs 25 and it was an awesome and proud feeling to watch the short documentary on the War fought by our Brave soldiers of Indian Army. We then moved towards the bunkers, area near the memorial . Happily clicked some pictures with the war trophies there .
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We left Longewala via Sadewala village for our next stop at Tanot mata Mandir some 50km from there. The Sun overhead was at its full afternoon glory and temperature must have peaked more than 40 degrees .
We reached Tanot Mata temple in an hour .There’s a legend associated with this temple .It is said that during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, Pakistani Army dropped more than 3000 bombs targeting this temple but not even one exploded . The Pakistani Tank regiment was stupefied and kept shelling futilely.But again not one single bomb exploded. After the war it is said that the then Pakistani General asked his Indian counterpart about this incident and on knowing the story of the power of the temple that apparently protected the area he showed his interest to visit this place. The Pakistani General request was eventually granted and he went to the temple and paid his respects and acknowledged the supernatural happening.
After the war was over the management of this temple was handed over to Border Security Force of India on their request .It is still till date is maintained and manned by the BSF soldiers. The temple has a small museum inside which has a collection of some of the unexploded bombs .This temple draws a majority of tourists and faithfuls alike , throughout the year .But,the best time to visit this place is between November and January when otherwise the temperature is bit low than the remaining months of the year .
We sat on our Taxi and headed back towards Jaisalmer City .

1 Comment

  • Amiya Patra February 10, 2017 at 4:57 am

    Nice piece of work. You have comprehended the trip to Jaisalmer in great detail. This blog could be very helpful to travellers looking to start a trip to the far West of India.

    Reply

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