Travels With Abbotts
(November & December 2011)
Maps: 1, 2.
Bombay local. The harbour line platforms at VT.
At a Jain temple in Patan, northern Gujarat. This was the capital of states covering much of Gujarat from the 8th century until the Muslim invasions of the 15th. The Jains were prominent traders and financiers under both regimes.
I believe that pre-Islamic Indian architecture never had true arches. Certainly post-and-lintel is the style. But domes like the one below are common, and it had not occurred to me before that these are therefore always corbel vaults. (Britannica: 1902, 1911.)
Carvings in the Rani-ki-Vav, a step well outside Patan. Built c. 1050; excavated in 1958 (according to a sign which also said it was unknown until the 1960s!) They are astonishingly well-preserved, and there are a great many of them, all in situ. (I read later there was some restoration done.) General views of the well below.
On the left, the tomb of Ahmed Shah (d. 1442), the founder of Ahmedabad in 1411, the first year of his reign. (I have lost my notes but I think he was still a teenager at this point.) The attendants sleep outside just outside this chamber.
On the right, the musicians announcing the closing of the city gate. The descendents of Ahmed's men, we were told.
See also: a previous visit to Ahmedabad, in 2010.
Mysore. The present palace is essentially a 20th century construction, designed by an Englishman and fitted with 1 lakh bulbs while being built, to perform in its own sound-and-light show. The last wing opened only in 1940, just 15 years before Disneyland.
Echoes of Haider Ali and Tipu Sultan were nowhere to be found; in fact their capital was Seringapatam, 20km away. And the Wodeyars, whose stately pile this is, were the pliant dynasty restored by the Brits.
Konkan railway up the coast... this is somewhere north of Mangalore.
Preparations for christmas in Goa. This is at the Basílica de Bom Jesus, c. 1600, unusual for leaving exposed the red laterite, a very soft rock used for building everything. Oh and also for having (what is left of) the remains of St Francis Xavier. (The last picture is inside Sé Cathedral instead.)
Pictures by Michael Abbott
Astonished Eyes .net>