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Day 4: Fatehjang

Michael Palin - HimalayaThe entrance to Prince Malik's country estate consists of modest cast-iron gates set between concrete posts. Once through them we follow a long, secretive track through acacia thickets, which, after almost half a mile, opens out onto a rather grand avenue of maples, beneath which a small crowd struggles to control a number of stocky, short-legged bulls wearing scarlet pom-pom hats and garlands round their necks. An open, four-wheeled carriage with a plumed and turbanned rider at the reins stands waiting behind two chestnut palominos. Fifteen elderly men in white shalwars and black-trimmed gold waistcoats are drawn to attention. One or two of them carry rifles. All are having orders barked at them by a figure in a brilliant white cotton shalwar and tight black sleeveless tunic sitting astride a black stallion. Beneath a bulbous turban, a magnificently curled moustache dominates a fleshy face. A pair of watery, aristocratic eyes turns towards us.

'We must go soon, I cannot hold the bulls much longer.'

Roger steps down from the vehicle, exchanges greetings and begins to explain how he intends to shoot the sequence. But Malik Ata Muhammed Khan, Prince of the Awans, is not the slightest bit interested.

'You will put Michael in the coach over there!' he decides. 'Then I will tell them to begin the procession, and your camera will get a good shot from here.'

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  • Series: Himalaya
  • Chapter: Day 4: Fatehjang
  • Country/sea: Pakistan
  • Place: Fatehjang
  • Book page no: 19

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  • Day 88 
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  • Pole to Pole