Qutab Minar in Delhi


These are the stone screens (or arches) at Qutab Minar in Delhi, India. They were built by Qutbuddin Aibak, the first sultan in the Mamluk or Slave Dynasty, who reigned from 1206-1210. It’s called the Slave Dynasty because the sultans, including Aibak, were slaves prior to becoming sultans. Aibak only ruled for 4 years. He ended up dying during a polo match when his horse fell and the saddle impaled him! He also built the Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque at the Qutab Minar and started the Minar itself.

These are giant (16 m high) stone arches that are intricately carved in patterns. Aibak (and the other Mamluk Dynasty sultans) was a Muslim and wanted these decorated in an Islamic style. However, the craftsmen working on them were Hindus and had no experience with carving more Islamic designs. These arches were more flowing, with lots of curves, vines, and elements of nature. Iltumish, a later sultan, brought in carvers from Iran when he expanded the arches, so that the designs would be Islamic (meaning more geometric) rather than Hindu in nature. Later, Alauddin planned to build even more arches, but never finished them.


Clock Towers and the Do You Edit? Question


This clock tower is in the center of Sardar Market in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India. It is about a century old and was built by Maharaja Sardar Singh in the early 1900s. Ghanta ghar, as it is called in Hindi, offers wonderful views of the market and city. It is definitely worth climbing up for photos. Jodhpur is known as the blue city and is home to Mehrangarh Fort.

This photo made me think about editing and how much one should or should not edit. With travel photos, I try to do minimal edits and keep it as close to what I saw as possible. I’ll adjust white balance to make the color more true to life (different lighting can add a color cast on a photo) and straighten or crop. My debate with this photo was whether or not to remove the wire stretching across the shot. I decided to keep it. What do you think? Is removing something from a travel photo ok or not? In what scenarios?



Fun Fact Friday: Why is Jodhpur the “Blue City?

Jodhpur Houses Blue with Green

Fun Fact Friday: Why is Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India known as the “Blue City?” Aside from providing photographers with some great photographic opportunities, I was sure there was a better reason. However, finding an answer was harder than I thought. No one seems to know for sure, but there are definitely many theories.

  1. Brahmin (upper priestly caste) homeowners painted their houses blue to stand out and others ended up following suit
  2. The blue paint fights against termites and other bugs. Copper sulphate and other chemicals were added to the paint to cover up damage and prevent further damage and this made the paint blue. However, others say it is just natural indigo dye in the paint.
  3. The blue keeps away mosquitoes
  4. The blue represents water, important in a city located in the middle of a desert
  5. The blue keeps houses cool
  6. The blue has a calming affect

I personally think that #1 or 2 make the most sense. What do you think is the reason?


Safdarjung’s Tomb in Delhi

delhi_safdarjung's tomb wm

Safdarjung’s Tomb in Delhi, India was started in 1753 as a tribute to a man known as Safdarjung, who was a governor and then a Prime Minister to Muhammad Shah, a Mughal ruler.  It is built in the same style as Humayun’s Tomb (and therefore, the Taj Mahal) and you might see many similarities. Like most Mughal-era tombs, you have the charbagh style of garden. The tomb sits in the middle with one garden in each of four quadrants.  Also similar to other Mughal tombs, there is a water feature at the front that can provide nice reflections. This is the last monumental tomb garden of the Mughals.

In terms of visiting, it is a quieter tourist destination than many nearby stops and is perfect for a picnic or some quiet reflection. It is in the middle of the city near the much more popular Lodi Gardens. Flowers are gorgeous in the spring.


Travel Tip Tuesday: Toiletry Bag

tughlaqabad fort wm

Want to save a few minutes packing? Keep your toiletry bag stocked with your essentials in travel sizes. I have a zippered bag that I keep packed with a travel toothbrush, travel sized toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, face wash, contact lens solution and body wash, a small loofah, and some basic medicine/first aid items (bandaids, neosporin, anti-itch cream for mosquito bites, acetaminophen, ibuprophen, allergy meds, cold meds, cough drops, etc.). Some medicine comes handily in individual containers like the cold meds I use. I also have a small divided container where I put a few doses of medicines that come in bigger bottles. Now that I travel with kids, I also keep the bag stocked with a thermometer, baby acetaminophen, the preschooler’s travel tooth brush and paste and saline drops for colds. When I pack, I just toss in my make up and night lotion and I’m good to go.

Pictured above: Tughlaqabad Fort in Delhi, India.

The Taj of the Deccan-Aurangabad, India

Aurangabad_Mini Taj

When you first saw this picture, did you think it was the Taj Mahal in Agra, India? But wait…it’s too small.  You’d be right. This is the Bibi Ka Maqbara (“Tomb of the Lady”) in Aurangabad, Maharashtra, India. Built by Azam Shah in the second half of the 1600s, it has the typical charbagh (or “four garden”) Mughal layout popular at the time. Azam Shah built it in honor of his mother.  Bibi Ka Maqbara is known as the Taj of the Deccan, due to its resemblance to the Taj Mahal and its location in the Deccan Plateau in central India.