everyday life in a rural indian village - khoaja phool - खोअजा फूल

Those are photos that I took in a small rural village called Khoaja Phool (खोअजा फूल) in Uttar Pradesh (India)

While riding my motorcycle on the main highway, I saw an old crumbling fortified wall and wondered what could be behind it.­ So I stopped, parked my bike and walked into the fortified enclosure.­

The place is an old walled town, perfectly square in shape.­ There are defensive towers at each corner, and the length of each side wall is exactly 280 m (309 yd).­ There were two original city gates, located in the middle of two of the fortification walls, and connected by a street that runs through the center of the town and cuts it into two halves.­ The fortification walls are well preserved and it can be seen clearly on the satellite imagery. The village has now outgrown the square fortified wall on the East and South sides, and some streets now go through new openings made in the walls.­

This place used to be a rather rich settlement a few centuries ago, as can be seen from the architecture of the old houses and monuments still standing, and the size of some of the old water wells.­

Now it is just a very poor village where farmers live with their animals and brick and mud houses.­

So I walked into the village, and kids started congregating around me, as obviously very few tourist or stranger ever visit their village.­ Maybe I was the first European person they ever saw!

Adults were also quite surprised and amused to see a European guy venturing in their village.­ They are all very nice people, and a growing group of kids showed me the way into the village.­ People are all living with their animals, water buffaloes and goats, and It seems that a good part of their daily life is about getting water and feeding their animals.­ Like in most India villages, there is no running water and people get their water from hand pumps and water wells.­

Some of the houses and monuments are very old, from the period when this was a "rich" town, as can be seen from their architecture.­ The houses are built in brick or mud.­ Many of the houses are painted turquoise blue or light green, and villagers have a lot of ground structures made of dry mud or clay, which they keep very nice and clean by continuously refreshing them with new clay.­

At some point, the kids stopped and told me "No go! Dangerous! Dangerous!".­ Hmmm.­.­.­.­ I decided to go further anyway, and the kids looked very scared about following me.­ Nothing looked very different in the other half of the village, but i soon realized that this other half of the village is Muslim, while the part I visited first was the Hindu area.­

So, Hindu kids are told by their parents that the Muslim neighborhood is "dangerous" and that they should not go, and Muslim kids are probably told the same about the Hindu neighborhood of the village.­ This keeps everyone neatly segregated.­

Naturally, a bunch of (Muslim) kids started following me in the Muslim part of the village, which is not much different from the Hindu part, except that girls and women in the streets seemed more shy in the Muslim area, which is no surprise.­ I found an old Muslim cemetery in one corner of the village.­

Those are the photos that I took in this village, hoping to capture the interesting atmosphere of the place.­ The villagers there live very simple life, and they keep their place beautiful.­ I just wonder how different this place looked like when it was at its highest, probably at the time of the Maharajas.­