more forts and tombs? anyone?

Hyderabad sort of chose itself as our next destination. We wanted to head south to warmer climes but couldn’t commit to a journey of more than 24 hours and the city is famed for its tasty biryani… so Hyderabad it was. Plus, it’s Ralphie’s birthplace and although he feels very little nostalgia for the place, we felt duty bound to visit.

Golconda fort, the Qutb Shahi tombs and Chowmahalla Palace are all undoubtedly impressive but the city chokes on traffic and asphyxiation has a knack of taking some of the fun out of sightseeing, as do cabbies that have no idea where any of their city’s attractions are. One afternoon, we took navigational matters into our own hands and found ourselves wandering the streets of the city’s “Little Tehran” quarter in search of an obscure museum that no local resident had ever heard of. After happening across a billboard of the Ayatollah espousing that it’s better to die than live under your enemies, or words to that effect, we decided to cut our losses and retreat to the more familiar turf of G Pulla Reddy’s sweets shop, our frequent visits to which started to pose a serious threat to the viability of Linds’ skinny jeans. Australia Day also happens to fall on the same day as Indian Republic Day and we tried to make up for the lack of beer – in fact, our second consecutive dry Australia Day – by eating three types of meat at lunch.

Bidar was the first place in India where we sighted no other foreigners, although the guest book at the fort tells us they do visit, on average, about twice a week. Hats off to the caretakers who have resorted to the extreme measure of keeping most of the massive complex under lock and key in an effort to curb the mindless vandalism – “Ganesh ♥ Lakshmi” – that plagues many of India’s archaeological sites. Enter Shimon, our wiry guide, whose fervent enthusiasm for preserving the immaculate marble and sandstone structures matched the breakneck speed at which he whizzed us through them. We’ve developed a bit of a thing for tombs, rattling out to wander amongst some more on the outskirts of town, Isolated; stoic; the quiet punctuated only by occasional shrieks from the rag-tag bunch of boys playing cricket nearby, oblivious to the crumbling, onion-domed bohemoths around them.

Hampi has a definite air of Goa to it, with bongo drums and saggy-crotch pants on every corner, but we found a quiet corner and settled in for a few days of reading, napping and taking in the ruins at leisure. While the ruins are impressive, it’s the natural landscape of Hampi that really steals the show – the silver lining of all that pollution is the blood red sunsets over boulder-strewn hills that find you humming the “Incredible India” ad to yourself. And then there’s the other side to Incredible India, like seeing an elderly woman rush out of her home to scoop up a pile of still steaming cow dung in her bare hands. Usain Bolt would have struggled to make it there faster, mere seconds after Mr Moo deposited it on the road. They should put that in the ads.

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2 Responses to “more forts and tombs? anyone?”

  1. tskraghu Says:

    Lovely photographs. Ended up digging for more in your posts!

    Pls do visit more places and give us more snapshots:-)

    K Raghunathan

  2. beyondbagot Says:

    thanks! hope you enjoyed them

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