Puja day in Tughlaq ruins

Hurry up, mom

The last time I visited Tughlaqabad Fort, a small shrine was drawing a crowd for puja. Despite multiple trips to the fort, which is my absolute favorite hideaway in Delhi, I have yet to discern just who this shrine celebrates.

A small stream of worshippers continued even in the afternoon heat, as they carried food and items for puja. Festive times for a fort that is usually home to herdsmen and a handful of tourists who escape the beaten path.

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Abandoned to the herdsmen

The 14th-century fort, Tughlaqabad, is a tourist haven that tourists seem to have forgotten. So today, it’s more likely the home of a few people grazing their goats, donkeys and cattle. See below.

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Visions of the 14th century

Bovine wanderer

Welcome to Tughlaqabad, a fort built in the 1320s and shortly abandoned. Today, it sits on the southern edge of Delhi and remains a largely ignored tourist attraction home to random herders and a handful of Hindu devotees who visit an open air shrine.

The circumference of the fort is measured in kilometers. Adjacent to the site are a beautiful tomb and a smaller fort.

It’s a spectacular place to spend an afternoon and one of Delhi’s fantastic if often overlooked historical sites. See below

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Rising right out of the rock face

Towering Mehrangarh

Mehrangarh, the picturesque fort of Jodhpur, towers above the city. It’s a museum and heritage site today, fascinating for its alcoves and exhibits of royal life, weaponry, artifacts and art.

The fort itself rises out of the old Blue City and is an imposing feature of the skyline whenever the crowded markets and teeming bazaars provide a view.

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That’s the sound of the men working on the chain gang…

Midday heat means no work

Repairing the battlements of the Jaisalmer fort. The pressure from tourism and unrestricted, chaotic building means the fort is, in some places, in danger of collapse.

These guys wanted me to take their photo every day. They’re not technically a chain gang. For a day’s work in the sun, they make about Rs. 200, according to one of the younger ones who tried to constantly get my address.

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Doors to anywhere

Texture

I like doorways. Especially old ones. They offer some of my favorite still-life photography. See below.

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Warrens of Jaisalmer

Back alley

Jaisalmer’s fort isn’t just a relic or tourist trap. It’s a living fort, with dusty alleys and cattle dung and people going about their days.

Don’t trust that bull for a second.

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A palace rises from the sand





Jaisalmer fort is just too easy. It’s also a living fort — ancient homes and businesses still reside inside the walls.

There are still plenty of firangi, but it’s not on the prime tourist circuit, either, which makes it all the more alluring.

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Built for modesty

Rajkumari?

Typical Rajasthani forts have many rooms and screened sections built specifically for the women of the maharaja’s court. Seen one way, such cloistering protected the ladies from the coarse men of the day and gave them almost revered status. Yet, equally if not more, that kind of restriction was a way to contain and control women in a society that believed men deserved all power.

On a tour through the Bikaner fort, I repeatedly bumped in to this beautiful and obviously modest woman, vacationing with her new husband.

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Lonely tower

Fantastic vantage point

From Rajasthan, the land of grand forts and stark landscapes. The name literally means place of kings. This from 2004 just outside Jaipur.

I’m traveling at the moment in Rajasthan with Joel and Kate. I won’t be near the Internet much for several days. Enjoy preset blog posts.

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