Monday, January 8, 2024

A Morning in Marrakesh

Kotoubia Mosque, Marrakesh

I woke up early. It was quite cold still I decided to venture out of the riad (old house) where I was staying to explore the town while it was still dark. The small gate at the entry resembled in many ways the houses where I had spent my holidays in childhood in Mathura and Bulandshahr in UP. One had to bow down to clear the head from the narrow wooden gate. The call of Azaan could be heard from the Kotoubia Mosque a short distance away, was very akin to those ones we hear in Lucknow or the sound of bells and chants from the temples I had seen in Mathura, Varanasi, and several other places of pilgrimage in India. 

The narrow alleyways of Marrakesh

The dark alleyways that were bustling with activity the previous evening were quaintly silent at this hour. Instead of stray dogs, there were some cats on the prowl.

An occasional vendor carrying goods from the nearby places, small tea vendors selling hot mint tea, and the smell of food being cooked in Tajins in eateries was a lovely sight. I was on a mental roller coaster ride trying to compare the early morning jalebi and kachori shops and tea back in India. 

A delectable selection of Moroccan breads

Exactly similar eateries prepare khubz( a flat bread resembling pita made from flour), Msemmen, Batbout Bread( resembling an Indian paratha with layers), and Harcha semolina bread. The aroma of curries filled the air. I could feel a tingle through my skin in trying to draw the comparisons. In small towns of Italy like Moneigla, a similar treat awaits early risers to amazing pieces of bread, focaccia How all the humans are similar except that they speak a different language, dress differently eat different food but lead almost similar lives.

Some of the alleyways are so narrow that hardly one or two people can pass simultaneously through it. The city was slowly coming to life as the craftsmen in the souks (markets) were unlocking the shutters while exchanging pleasantries. The maze of souks is a perfect place to get lost and it could be a hard time to retrace your route back. Even with Google Maps, it could be a challenge to find the place one is looking for. I returned in about an hour to the place where I was staying.

 Later in the day while strolling through the maze of colorful souks which are an absolute treat for the eyes, the delectable smell of Coscous, tajines, kebabs, and patisseries was very difficult to resist. It was a very refreshing experience, and I will share the memories of a very touristy city, Marrakesh in Morocco in the following posts. 

PS- 1. A trip to Marrakesh in Morocco during the year-end was rewarding in many ways. Keep reading more stories here

2. Pictures of bread kind courtesy of Google 

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