Kashmir of the desert

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The mountain pass in the Arvalli range of Rajasthan. Historically significant as the location of the historic battle of Haldighati, which took place in 1576 between Maharana Pratap and Raja Maan Singh of Amer, general of the Mughal emperor Akbar.

Haldi ghati, Rakt talai  is the famous venue where the Indian History’s most disastrous war had been fought between the Royal Soldiers of Akbar , brother of Jodhabai Maan singh & Maharana Pratap. 
The  name has come by the fact that the soil of that region is still like haldi( a spice with yellow colour) after four centuries of the war. 
The word throws up images of valour, heroism and honour. The battle of Haldighati was fought on June 18, 1579 between the forces of Maharana Pratap and Emperor Akbar for the honour of the motherland and Rajputs. Over 18,000 soldiers were slain in the bitter clash. According to a story so much blood had been shed that it had formed a large pool. That place is called Rakt Talai in memory of those who died there.

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Hideout of Maharana Pratap in exile.
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Rose farming in Haldighati

As one drives further into the valley, a surprise awaits. The valley, which was once filled with blood, still retains this crimson, albeit in a different form. Roses bloom where once death ruled.

Colourful boards advertising several rose products dot the landscape. They claim to have the world’s finest perfumes as well as gulkand, gulab jal, and several other products, including a special medicine for diabetes.

There are rows of boards tempting visitors to buy roses and rose products. In this valley of valour, roses of one of the finest varieties the chaitri rose bloom in plenty, though only for a month ( chaitra as per hindu calander, appx April) in a year.

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An interesting fact is that the seed of this bloom was sown in the battle of Haldighati. Folklore says it that soldiers of Akbar had brought along saplings of this rare variety of rose. Rose plants have been growing here for the past four centuries, but it was only in the last two decades or so that the cultivation became organised.

It seems a marvel of nature that amidst this lifeless blood-soaked land, nicely cultivated rose beds greet the visitors. There is hardly any vegetation in the Aravalli  Hills. Yet rose plants are being cultivated in the valley.

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