bhopal seems like a dream city from a mughal miniature. water bodies, lakes, jharokhas and stories. this in spite of the fact that in the faded palaces within the older city new mosters are ebing built. even in the newere parts of the city the dream like strangeness persists.
the brand new airport was like a spaceship in the desert glowing white. all around is was piss yellow light and a car park. our hotel was across the lake on the south- an old nawabi palace - now the jehan numa hotel. luxurious, gorgeous food around foutains in white courtyards. a short distance away was bharat bhavan where yuo could see the sun set.
the city was nestled in between hills and valleys all soft and rounded in the middle of the rugged landscape around. the lakes are gorgeous, especially in the summer evenings. the older city too was easier and more relaxed than the others i have been to. the market lanes seem slower and easier, the palaces and mosques picturesque like fading miniatures. not yet the tourist attraction, the older city mosques still seem like public spaces and not marketable commodities. kids lounge in the shade or play on the stairs. the walk took us through the bazaar to moti masjid and then to have falooda at haji center.
on the way out of the city we realized that the whole city is navigated through numbers- bus stop no 2 / chauraha no 5 / zone 3...
once in a while the eccentricities of an indian city make their appearance- a curfew mandir to keep peace at the corner of a public space / a bird weighed down by a stne- public art by swaminathan protested against by the local muslim community as an insult, a gaylord gym and a musical toilet- and on the road to bhimbetka in the industrial area of mandideep the union carbide factory.
|curfew mata ka mandir|
|union carbide factory|
|swaminathan's bird and stone|