Intrigued by a map he finds in a shop not far from the site of the temple, Shah assembles a multitude of clues to the location of Solomon’s mines. Some come from ancient texts, including the Septuagint, the earliest form of the Bible, and some from geological, geographical, and folkloric sources. All point across the Red Sea to Ethiopia, the land of the Queen of Sheba, Solomon’s lover, who bore Solomon’s son Menelik and founded Ethiopia’s imperial line. Shah’s trail takes him on a wild ride—by taxi, bus, camel, donkey, and Jeep—that is sure to delight all travelers.
To complete his training and prove himself, he is sent on a quest to discover the ways illusion is manifested in every corner of the subcontinent. Saddled with a hilarious sidekick and guide he calls the Trickster, Shah travels from Calcutta to Madras, from Bangalore to Bombay. Even as he recounts the most miraculous and bizarre feats of the sadhus, sages, sorcerers, avatars, fortune- tellers, healers, hypnotists, and humbugs whom he encounters, he reveals—and admires—the imagination and resourcefulness ordinary Indians deploy in order to survive. In this incredible book, Tahir Shah lifts the veil on the East’s most puzzling miracles and exposes a side of India that most never imagine exists.
Tahir Shah’s flair for the unusual reveals Peru as we’ve never seen it. With his trademark humor, abundant curiosity, and oddball assortment of companions, he offers a journey that is no less illuminating than it is hilarious—and true.
Inspired by the Moroccan vacations of his childhood, Tahir Shah dreamed of making a home in that astonishing country. At age thirty-six he got his chance. Investing what money he and his wife, Rachana, had, Tahir packed up his growing family and bought Dar Khalifa, a crumbling ruin of a mansion by the sea in Casablanca that once belonged to the city’s caliph, or spiritual leader.
With its lush grounds, cool, secluded courtyards, and relaxed pace, life at Dar Khalifa seems sure to fulfill Tahir’s fantasy–until he discovers that in many ways he is farther from home than he imagined. For in Morocco an empty house is thought to attract jinns, invisible spirits unique to the Islamic world. The ardent belief in their presence greatly hampers sleep and renovation plans, but that is just the beginning. From elaborate exorcism rituals involving sacrificial goats to dealing with gangster neighbors intent on stealing their property, the Shahs must cope with a new culture and all that comes with it.
Endlessly enthralling, The Caliph’s House charts a year in the life of one family who takes a tremendous gamble. As we follow Tahir on his travels throughout the kingdom, from Tangier to Marrakech to the Sahara, we discover a world of fierce contrasts that any true adventurer would be thrilled to call home.
From the Hardcover edition.
In this entertaining and penetrating book, Tahir sets out on a bold new journey across Morocco that becomes an adventure worthy of the mythical Arabian Nights.
As he wends his way through the labyrinthine medinas of Fez and Marrakesh, traverses the Sahara sands, and tastes the hospitality of ordinary Moroccans, Tahir collects a dazzling treasury of traditional stories, gleaned from the heritage of A Thousand and One Nights. The tales, recounted by a vivid cast of characters, reveal fragments of wisdom and an oriental way of thinking that is both enthralling and fresh. A link in the chain of scholars and teachers who have passed these stories down for centuries like a baton in a relay race, Shah reaches layers of culture that most visitors hardly realize exist, and eventually discovers the story living in his own heart.
Along the way he describes the colors, characters, and the passion of Morocco, and comes to understand why it is such an enchanting land. From master masons who labor only at night to Sufi wise men who write for soap operas, and Tuareg guides afflicted by reality TV, In Arabian Nights takes us on an unforgettable journey, shining a light on facets of a society that are normally left in darkness.
From the Hardcover edition.