August 24, 2010

Signs of Hyderabad II

Hyderabad, India. The International Congress of Mathematicians has a tradition of breaking up its proceedings by offering a day with no programmed activities. So, after three intense, packed days of lectures, discussions, and other events, attendees got a chance to relax, explore Hyderabad, dine in exotic settings, go souvenir hunting, or pursue other interests.

For many, the break meant getting into a bus to tour some of Hyderabad's famous sites or hiring a taxi to go shopping in the city's many markets. My tour took me to Golconda Fort and the tombs of the Qutb Shahi kings, who ruled at Golconda Fort from 1512 to the end of the sixteenth century.

A view of the heights of Golconda Fort.

One of the most impressive forts in India, the vast complex of buildings and walls sprawls across a massive granite outcropping. I was fascinated by the fragments of patterns visible among the ruins, from intricate lattices to symmetrical lotus flower designs and other elaborate decorations.

A ceiling's lotus flower design.

But it was some of the quaintly expressed signs that we encountered as we ascended to the fort's high point at Durbar Hall that remain lodged in my memory.

The intent of the sign above is pretty clear. The one below is bit more ambiguous about the recommended action.

And some signs were quite comprehensive.

The tombs of the seven Qutb Shahi rulers cluster on a grassy area just a kilometer away from the fort's outer wall.

Now lacking the brilliant turquoise coloring and intricate tiling of the original structures, the tombs still loom impressively into the sky.

Here, too, some ingeniously emphatic signs added to the pleasure of the visit.

And the scummy pool really did look like one to avoid at all cost.

Other signs took a simpler, more direct approach to admonishing visitors..

Another sign simply instructed, "Do not spit on the walls."

Photos by I. Peterson

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