Saturday, September 24, 2011

The English are gone but...

From the intrepid Nazneen, on her solo Golden Triangle trip:
Gorgeous aerial view photos of schoolchildren queuing at Humayun's Tomb.

The queue has a strangely hypnotic quality, doesn't it? As if it has a life of its own.

I also simply *love* the way the queue is snaking its way through the centre of the Char Bagh Mughal Garden scheme.

The first Mughal Emperor Babur built many gardens, to make "that charmless and disorderly Hind (India)" feel more like home.

He was inspired by (and perhaps homesick for) the gorgeous gardens of Samarkand and Herat that he had left behind. Among the earliest things he planted in India were melons, I'm told.

In the Victoria and Albert Museum, there is a watercolour painting of Babur supervising the laying out of Bagh-e-Wafa at Kabul. It is in the Char Bagh style, and water flows merrily in the middle. The Emperor wears golden robes. There are orange-laden trees in the foreground, and birds in the sky. The brick walls enclose a little slice of paradise....

A closer look reveals that pomegranates were also among the favourites being planted. See how beautifully the fruit is detailed. There is a dove delicately perched on a pomegranate branch. The gardeners have their sleeves rolled up. Ah, the pleasures of a Mughal miniature.

As someone who dearly loves her little potted plants, and gets a great deal of pleasure from simply looking at them every day, I feel a sense of affinity with this Mongol king.

Looking at this painting, I can't help thinking that the popular image of the Mongols as "barbarians" conveniently ignores the softer and more aesthetic aspects of their life.


Shobna said...

That is ONE orderly queue - looks like a giant centipede, snaking its way slowly towards a garden.

Motty said...

I am Motty - Alleppey.

I have been reading your posts! They ARE VERY GOOD!
Mine are not very regular!!

I have your guests here with me now!!

Anu said...

Loved these miniatures...

Chris said...

How ironic - as a resident Brit in Delhi, I always think that the one thing we clearly failed to leave behind is the concept of the queue - as anyone who's ever tried to buy a ticket on the Delhi metro can attest!

I love Mughal miniatures too. Thanks for posting these.