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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Sunset on the Tughlaq empire

Profile for the ages

In what is now Begumpur in South Delhi, trash covers the ruins of Jahanpanah — which literally means refuge of the world — and obscures the 14th century monuments there-in. The city was the fourth iteration of Delhi and built under Muhammad bin Tughlaq in 1326-27.

There’s really not much to look at — degraded structures sit next to an open dumping ground, gaggles of men gather to drink or play cricket and children huddle and watch. Any bit of history about the place is not listed on placards on site. Wikipedia provides basics and a more studied look can be found in William Dalrymple’s City of Djinns.

But it still makes a good silhouette at sundown.

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Trying that shot again

Familiar perspective

A repeat of a photo I took roughly a year ago. Admittedly I like the original, but this one surely shows different details.

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A tomb fit for dogs

Cute puppy

A street dog relaxes on the grounds of Isa Khan Niyazi’s tomb, a side attraction of the Humayun’s Tomb complex, but grand and beautiful in it’s own way. This is one of my favorite Delhi monuments, not the least because it’s quieter than the harried Mughal spectacle honoring Humayun nearby.

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Gandhiji’s talisman

I will give you a talisman. Whenever you are in doubt or when the self becomes too much with you, apply the following test:

Recall the face of the poorest and the weakest man whom you may have seen and ask yourself if the step you contemplate is going to be of any use to him. Will he gain anything by it? Will it restore him to a control over his own life and destiny? In other words, will it lead to swaraj for the hungry and spiritually starving millions?

Then you will find your doubts and yourself melting away.

— M. K. Gandhi

From a wall in Gandhi Smriti in Delhi, now a museum and the grounds of the leader’s assassination.

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City in blue

Jodhpur, the blue city

Welcome to Jodhpur, the Blue City of Rajasthan.

It’s really not that blue, to be honest. The old quarter, nearest the towering fort are bluish, but even then, not every building pays homage to the city’s moniker.

And the reason for the blue paint? Jodhpuris themselves are uncertain. Some claim it’s to keep away the mosquitoes. Others say it’s religious. Still others just say that’s tradition. Who knows?

See below for more perspective on Jodhpur’s blues.

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Details, details….

Fantastic texture and color from Mehrangarh fort in Jodhpur, India’s “Blue City” in Rajasthan. The fort is spectacularly preserved as a museum and towers over the sprawling, grungy city. Inside are alcoves and hallways and galleries of marble and wood and ornament.

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Quito’s monumental basilica

A fun climb

On my first full day in Quito, I went for a walk around part of the old historic district and made my way to the Basilica del Voto Nacional, also known as the Basilica de San Juan.

It’s a huge church with twin fore-spires and a single rear tower with some of the best views over Quito. The stoic grey stone with subtle ornamentation outside, stained glass windows, and towering ceilings: it’s gothic beauty.

I spent most of an afternoon exploring where I could, taking pictures and hiding out from a hail storm. Enjoy the photos below.

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Clouds over Quito

A view to the south

A view from Quito’s basilica. On the hill stands the Virgin of El Panecillo. The city is truly wonderful, a jumble of history and culture and modernism all at once. Beautiful and clean with a dangerous side.

I could spend more than few days here.

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Bark worse than his bite

Stone pooch

The guards of the Grand Palace in Bangkok.

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