My first real trip to London (I feel like such a tourist): it was only a day but we covered quite a bit, bravely braving the wind and rain to see as many art shows and galleries we could within a day. And we successfully covered at least ten, I think, popping in and out of the tube and walking and walking...
An entire city of film sets, from Bollywood and Hollywood to famous monuments and what not. Located in the outskirts of Hyderabad the place seems to be more of a tourist destination than a place for movie directors to find their perfect location. Apparently, it isn't as popular as it once was in the film industry, but it's still an entertaining experience. A bright red tourist bus takes you around the massive place, while a guide rattles off the number of movies and famous directors that have chosen locations here.
This is called Hollywood st. for some reason, where the houses look western, perfect for a scene in a foreign country :)
Jimmy's Drive In
The gas station near Jimmy's:
A train engine which says Texas Mail:
The wild west area has several actors and stunt men who perform an entire action sequence, blowing up banks, etc.
Now for the more local, Indian sets! A fort, or it would be more accurate to call it the entrance to a fort.
Chikatpally police station, although the set was dismantled to some extent, it was worth a shot :)
A fake airport, looks like what it may have looked like 10 or 20 yrs ago. Completely outdated.
Inside the airplane set, look at the number of tourists!
One of the several palace sets, lit up at night.
Giant creepy statues that line some of the pavements.
The north-west monsoons arrive in Pondicherry, bringing torrential rains and lightning storms. A dark cloud arrives, dominating the skies.
Some photographs that attempt to describe urban Indian streets at night.
There are a lot of old Tamil and French houses in Pondicherry. Some of the houses have an interesting fusion of Tamil and french architecture. For example, one house I had lived in for about two weeks when I first landed up in Pondy has a ground floor in Tamil style, with a large central courtyard et al, and the first floor in French style with a ballroom to entertain French guests. It was owned by an Indian beurocrat in the days when Pondy was a French Colony. A lot of these houses are in the prime areas right next to the beach. They are taken up and redone as guesthouses and cafe's and restaurants, and they flourish because of all the tourists coming in, or at least, I think they flourish. Anyway, this is a photograph of one such place. This beautiful house has been bought up by a kitchen company!
It was weird, we were walking by and from the outside, we thought it was probably a cafe so we walked in. Instead, its been converted into a store to sell kitchen appliances. It was strange and uncomfortable for some reason, the mismatch between the old house and the commercial kitchen company.
Detail: A beautiful door knob at the entrance -
I lived all alone in this old Tamil house for about two weeks while I was looking out for an apartment. Everyone told me it was haunted and all that, but I didn't have any scary experiences (what a surprise ^_^). The house itself was old, old and beautiful. The current owner told me an interesting story about the house. Less than a hundred years ago it was owned by a hi-flying Tamil bureaucrat when Pondicherry was still a French Colony. According to an old cook who has worked in the house for more than sixty years, the name of the previous owner was Ramaswami Chettiyar, his daughters name was Rani and his wife's name was Maragadham. He built the ground floor in traditional Tamil style, with a courtyard and everything, while the first floor is built in French style, with chandeliers, high ceilings and a huge ballroom to entertain French guests. I lived on the first floor, but most of the rooms were closed off. Large parts of the house have been broken down over time to give space for roads and neighbours, only the smaller parts of it remain, and even those are badly maintained. That's probably why some people find it scary.
My favourite part of the place; The bathroom door is completely stained glass:
Detail of the giant mirrors on both sides of the drawing room.
The stained glass windows really add to the overall effect, and conflict nicely with the traditional, and brightly painted carved wood and absence of glass on the ground floor:
Only some of painted details remain, but these wooden columns were completely painted before falling into disrepair. Unfortunately, this part of the house has also not been maintained.
Here you can see an area where the bright colours are still visible and not completely faded:
The meal is important, but the right way to end your large satisfying meal in Lucknow is vital. You could do paan, or kulfi, or both, depending on how much you can consume. The paan is good, of course, paan is usually good in most parts of India, but what was special here was the beautiful way it was decorated and the cost (cheap compared to Mumbai). Though I only had the sweet paan with supari, not the bitter ones that some people prefer. I can't chew tobacco - *yech*
Kulfi! Our taxi driver recommended this place, which was really hard to find, so I can't really give directions, but I can say with confidence that its walking distance from the famous Tundey Kababi.
The sign below says Full Box - 40Rs, Half Box - 20 Rs:
The famous kulfi place uses small round tins to serve the Kulfi, which are then washed and re-used when a new batch is set. This is a photograph of the tins getting collected before being sent off for refilling: