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Day 5: Taxila

Michael Palin - HimalayaThere's such a squeeze that it's impossible to avoid bull contact. To my relief, they're smaller than the bulls I had a close encounter with in Pamplona. Of a breed called Dhanni, they have short legs, a distinctive fatty crest curling out from their shoulders and are mostly white with splodgy black markings that look as if someone has thrown a pot of paint at them. Today, each one is turned out in their party best, their ferocity compromised by brightly coloured medallions and favours, ribbons and rosettes, gaudy horn-dressings and fluffy pom-poms. One wretched beast, with a tasselled, silver-trimmed, see-through muslin coat thrown over him, looks as if he's just stampeded through a lingerie department.

Ahead of the melee I can see the course, a wide stretch of open field, 600 yards long, marked by red flags on tall poles. Beside it and about halfway down the course a truck and trailer have been decked out with red chairs protected by a huge and ornate sun awning. Beneath it sits the unmistakable figure of the Prince.

He's in ebullient mood, which could be something to do with the presence of two tall, slim, European girls among his guests. He's already been out riding with them this morning.

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  • Series: Himalaya
  • Chapter: Day 5: Taxila
  • Country/sea: Pakistan
  • Place: Taxila
  • Book page no: 22

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