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"Just be who you are, calm and clear and bright." - Richard Bach, Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah

Golconda

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The view over the entryway from the ramparts at Golconda.

There are only a few more stops on my India trip to share with you; from Hospet (the nearest station to Hampi) I took an overnight train to Hyderabad, and I had the day to pass before taking another night train to Aurangabad (the jumping-off point for the marvelous caves at Ellora and Ajanta). Then I took a morning flight back to Mumbai and chilled at the airport until it was time to go home.

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So I arrived in Hyderabad around 4AM, which meant that I was pretty much at the mercy of whichever shady character wanted to lead me to a hotel that wasn’t shuttered for the night. I ended up at the ‘Hotel Reliance,’ where there was a bucket of water beside the Indian-style (i.e., hole-in-the-floor) toilet in lieu of a working faucet and the ceiling fan rumbled and shook like it was about to fall on my face. The consolation prize: I had not one, but TWO numbers scribbled on the wall to choose from! I was a lucky girl indeed. This room made me think of the horrible place Kate and Elliot stayed at in Hong Kong, where it appeared the air shaft led directly down to hell. I laughed to myself, tried to get a couple hours’ sleep, and thought up the perfect last line for my magnum opus. Then I got up, went to half a dozen places before I found a restaurant with veggie-friendly breakfast options (many more Muslims than Hindus in Hyderabad), and bargained for an auto-rickshaw to Golconda, a vast medieval fortress a half-hour ride from the city.

(By the way, I got pretty good at bargaining with taxi drivers. I’d ask for the price listed in the guidebook, they’d initially refuse, I’d start to walk away and they’d call after me saying they’d do it for the price I’d asked. I was always too timid to do this before, especially when traveling on my own.)

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The Balahissar Gate.

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Balahissar Gate detail.

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The mortuary baths. Fairly self-explanatory.

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I glanced up from taking that shot of the mortuary baths to find this little boy looking down at me. I love this shot.

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You pass all sorts of royal residences, mosques and temples and stables and such as you traverse the grounds and climb up to the summit. There’s a multi-story hall at the very top with a view out over the rest of the fortress as well as a refreshment stand and a Hindu temple (you can see it below).

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On the way down again.

It was really hot, so I treated myself to a ridiculously overpriced peach iced tea at a slick Western-style café down the street, then went looking for some nearby Islamic tombs. I took a few wrong turns and gave up when I got too tired and cranky.  This part of my trip was about deciding when I’d seen enough and that it was time to relax. So I took an auto-rickshaw back to the city and rested up before the night train to Aurangabad.

Kate and Jill and I are leaving for Turkey tomorrow (Elliot is meeting us there in a couple weeks), so I’ll be taking a break from blogging until September. Enjoy the rest of your summer!

1 Comment to Golconda

  1. Kate's Gravatar Kate
    August 8, 2011 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    Haha that place does look pretty bad, but I think Elliot and I still have you beat with our Hong Kong “mansion.”
    The detail on the Balahissar Gate is really exquisite.
    So excited for our trip!

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Hi! I'm Camille. I only write stories that could never ever happen in real life, though I do believe in real-life magic. If we were in the same room I'd fix you a cup of tea, but for now we'll have to settle for a virtual connection. I'm really glad you're here.