The Grand Trunk Road is an ancient trade route. There exists a wealth of extant medieval structures scattered along its route. Many are sarais built by feudal lords to promote trade. They used to serve as night halts for caravans, armies, even entourages of emperors—particularly Jehangir. Sarais were built with secure surrounding walls and gateways, a mosque and wells inside their compounds. They must have witnessed a colourful life, with groups from present-day India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Central Asia using them. We
recreate a probable 15th century night-time scene, depicting encampments and people relaxing after a day’s journey—cooking, playing instruments, listening to storytellers etc. There are tethered camels and horses, and patrolling guards. From the outside, the sarai
appears as it is today—a crumbling ruin that might attract passing tourists. In one corner, vandalisers are at work, as a youth scratches the name of his lover onto the ancient brick wall.