Pokhran, Jaisalmer: A large crater in this remote area in the desert state of Rajasthan is testimony to India`s first nuclear test which was carried out on this day in 1974.
Locals still remember the impact of the test which left a crater which is now protected by fencing. The test, which also brought the area into international spotlight, was carried out by the Indira Gandhi Government and officially called `Smiling Buddha`.
International attention was once again focussed on it on the 11th and 13th May, 1998 when more nuclear tests were conducted in this region by the AB Vajpayee Government.
"I was 12-years-old when the first nuclear test took place in 1974. We heard a strong explosion in the morning hours and thought it was part of a routine military exercise
in the firing range. Later in the day, we heard the news on radio that it was a nuclear test near Loharki village," Manohar Joshi, a local, told reporters.
"However, most of the locals did not know what a nuclear test was. After the test, there were reports of a few houses in surrounding areas suffering damage due to the impact of the explosion, but in fact, it gives us immense pleasure and feeling of pride that the town is now internationally known because of the nuclear tests," he said.
The test site for India`s first nuclear weapon detonation, Pokhran is around 110 kms from the district headquarters of Jaisalmer and is a sparsely populated area.