Friday, March 07, 2008

A morning in Bijapur

I checked into the Hotel Tourist and set off on foot. Bijapur's bigger than it looks on the map, so I pottered along for some distance, before I came to the signpost I was looking for, Ibrahim Roza. This is the mausoleum of some local sultan (he originally intended it for his queen, but since he died first, he ended up there too). I'd been attracting curious glances (actually that's putting it very mildly - almost everyone I passed stared openly), and when I signed the visitor's register it became obvious why. This is Bijapur's principal attraction, and it receives, on average, 5 foreigners a day. And it's high season right now.

Anyway, the mausoleum is very pretty - got a few good pics. Photographic potential increased still further by green parrots and obligingly brightly-dressed cleaning staff sweeping the grounds and manicuring the lawn with miniscythes. Yes, really. I had the place to myself (besides the sweepers) for some time before I was joined by a Muslim family, who asked me to pose for a photo with them. Asian people love to have photos taken with foreigners - even in well-touristed areas of Thailand, where Westerners are hardly a novelty. I've lost count of how many photos of me there are floating around various corners of South Asia by now - if I charged a quid a time I'd probably have enough for a fortnight's accommodation.

I made my way back in the direction of the hotel, meandering through residential lanes and being accosted every few paces by schoolchildren eager to be photographed. 12-year-old Kashidhra (or something) invited me to her home for a cup of tea, where I chatted to her English-speaking mother and aunt for ten minutes and admired the marvelously tacky disco-light Hindu mini shrine above the door. Then I was led to another family's home and, after more photos, given a bunch of grapes.


Post a Comment

<< Home