Sunday, February 24, 2013


The prayer niche, or Mihrab, of Bijapur's Jama Masjid. Dating from the first half of the sixteenth century, the Jama Masjid was built by one of the earlier rulers of the Adil Shahi dynasty, which, after the precipitous decline of the Bahmanids and the violent destruction of the Vijayanagar Empire, briefly rose to become the primary power in the Deccan. Inscribed in Persian and painted in gold, the Mihrab of the Bijapur Jama Masjid is, thankfully, in nearly perfect condition, and is but one highlight among many in a city that is simply awash in wonders of Islamic art and architecture.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


A window in the tomb of Mahmud Shah Bahmani, in the necropolis of the Bahmani sultans. This is in the village of Ashtur, a few kilometers outside of Bidar.

For a city that is largely unknown to tourists, at least of the foreign backpacking variety, Bidar has an embarrassment of fantastic things to see. From the early 15th century, until the early 16th, under the name Muhammadabad, the city was the capitol of the Bahmani Sultanate, the first Islamic rulers of southern India, who's sway extended over much of the Deccan.The Bahmanis, who were Shiites originally from present day Iran, built a number of truly magnificent monuments in the city, including Bidar's massive fort, and the huge necropolis in Ashtur. After the fall of the Bahmanis, the city was ruled by the Barid Shahi kings of the Bidar Sultanate, who produced a number of smaller, though certainly still beautiful, tombs.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Across the Khasi Hills: Sunday / Getting Back to Assam

A tree, the canyon wall, and jungle, in hazy sunlight. This was taken on my way back up the endless stairs.

The next day I woke up to the sound of falling rain, and seeing as how I had just completed a huge hike the day before, in which I walked for around ten hours straight up and down never-ending ancient staircases, I decided to take it easy. This was my last full day down in the canyon, and it too was an adventure, though of a different sort.