Located an hour outside of Jaipur is a secret, salt-crusted land where mythology, history and folklore collide to create an unusual experience. It is here that the British, after discovering the commercial viability of the vast salt lake, Lake Sambhar, set up India’s first circuit house. But the history of Sambhar as told by the locals goes further back. Legend has it that Shakhambhari Devi, the tutelary goddess of the Chauhan Rajputs and the consort of Shiva, was so pleased by Prithviraj Chauhan’s devotion to her that she appeared before him and converted the dense forest into a land of silver. When the local villagers began to worry about the strife that such possession would beget, she transformed it into a silvery salt lake that would sustain the locals for centuries to come.
More than a thousand years later, Lake Sambhar, India’s largest inland saline lake, continues to glisten by the day with all the white crystal steeping inside it. And when the flaming desert sun sets over Sambhar, its waters are ablaze with its molten glow, flaming orange this minute, liquid gold the next and ember pink just before nightfall. In the summer months, the night skies over the lake bed, with no light pollution around, are a perfect place to view the milky way.