This is a composite view of the Durbar Hall inside the Khilwat Mubarak at the Chowmahalla Palace in Hyderabad. This spectacularly adorned area was at the very heart of the Nizam dynasty’s power base for 200 years and was used for accession, religious and hosting functions. The royal seat was mounted on a pure marble base (seen lower-centre in the photo, beneath one of the 19 Belgian crystal chandeliers) and from here the ruling Nizam could regally preside over proceedings. After falling into near-ruin following the formation of the Indian State and the collapse of the Nizam dynasty, a partial reconciliation of family feuds has allowed Princess Esra, the first wife of the last heir of the Nizam dynasty, to instigate a restoration project of the buildings and the palace has been open to the public since 2005.
The Charminar in Hyderabad was built in 1591 under the direction of Sultan Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah, the fifth ruler of the Qutb Shahi dynasty. The structure was built to commemorate the city’s deliverance from a plague and was sited at the centre of his recently moved capital with approaches to it from the four cardinal directions. This view is from one of the upper levels of the Charminar and is looking south. To the right of the road is the Makkah Masjid, also built by the 5th Qutb Shahi Sultan. The whole area is a buzz of bazaars, jewellery shops and street food stalls – aided and abeted by the equally loud buzz from the hundreds of tuk-tuks patrolling the area, as you can also see in the photo
Since my last blog post back in the middle of the month, I have been fortunate enough to do some fantastic travelling with my family and there will eventually be photos to come of that 9-day period. However, as with most good things in life, there is always a price to pay for the good times and my bill will amount to working over Xmas. So, here are 2 photos that summed up my Christmas Day yesterday:
Inconveniently sat just where we wanted to go, this Cumulonimbus Cloud was on the approach track to Ho Chi Minh’s runway 27R at sunset yesterday evening. Luckily, with it being isolated like this and not particularly large, we were able to pick our way around it and land without too much trouble.
I came across this not-so-little bug crawling across my lounge floor. Apparently dopey from the recent colder weather, it seemed in no rush to go anywhere and so, before ejecting it from my home, I coaxed it onto a white sheet of paper and forced it to model for me for a few minutes. If it had been much livelier, there’s no way I would have got so close!
This is a view inside the main headquarters building of HSBC in Hong Kong. The central area of the building is a vast cavernous space, around and over which, the devilish machinations of one of the World’s leading banks grinds inexorably on. Bearing in mind the current, generalised, negative feelings towards the banks, it does feel, standing here, as if you have been swallowed by some vast financial beast and, unless you can escape quickly out of that escalator in the middle, you will inevitably be devoured, consumed and eventually excreted as a dry, lifeless, husk.
Can you imagine the calming and relieving effects of the massage treatment as lightly oiled hands ease away the stiffness in fingers and wrists?
This post is mainly directed at two of our regular readers who, whilst staying with us recently, experienced some unusual night-time Katabatic winds coming down from the hills that are in the background of the photo. Sleep was not easy for a couple of nights! For them, this photo is evidence to prove that that really was unusual weather. For the rest of you, please just enjoy the calm, reflective photo.
As described in the last blog, all are available during an evening’s horse racing at Hong Kong’s Happy Valley
If you are ever stuck for something to do on a winter’s wednesday evening in Hong Kong, I can highly recommend a visit to the Happy Valley race track. For a very nominal entrance fee to the track-side public enclosure, you get an evening of fabulous atmosphere, great horse racing and the excitement of perhaps winning on a small wager.