I left Azamgarh on a cold and foggy morning cycling along backroads and through small villages of basic brick and mud homes clustered together. The manager at the hotel where I was staying explained to me that the main road between Azamgarh and Pulpur had fallen apart for long stretches and would not be comfortable to cycle along. I shared the backroads with local cyclists; men wrapped in shawls heading to work in the fields, jacket wearing rosy cheeked school kids with woolly hats pulled down over their ears, and mobile stores - men selling an assorted range of products piled high and tied all around their bicycles. The bicycle is the primary mode of transport in this part of Uttar Pradesh and I am always amazed at how sturdy these local cycles are. Sure they squeak, rattle and wobble but that is not surprising after years of trundling along bumpy, dusty roads. I often feel a tinge of guilt as I overtake on my well-maintained, silent, custom built touring bike that cost more than many of these villagers, some of the poorest in India, may earn in a decade!
After a couple of hours cycling I reach the small yet bustling town of Pulpur, I had been informed that Mijwan village is only a few kilometres away, and that I should look for Shabana Azmi Road. After asking around and taking a few wrong turns I find myself cycling along Shabana Azmi Road leaving Pulpur behind me. It’s not long before I come to a junction and turn left onto Kaifi Azmi road, a surfaced lane that leads directly, after a few kilometres, to Mijwan village.Add a comment