Ironically enough, I just watched a documentary on the History Channel last night about the Taj Mahal and Agra Fort. It was extremely interesting. Much of the architectural detail of the fort was replicated in the Taj. The following pictures show details that I could easily mistake for those from the Taj Mahal. Fortunately, my files are sorted! Compare the flowers below to the ones in a previous post of the Taj detail and you’ll see what I mean.

Agra fort detail collage

The history of the Agra Fort is as interesting as any other story we heard from the guides throughout Jaipur and at the Taj Mahal. One part of the story I enjoy the most is that “At the end of his life, Shah Jahan was deposed and restrained by his son, Aurangzeb, in the fort. It is rumoured that Shah Jahan died in Muasamman Burj, a tower with a marble balcony with a view of the Taj Mahal.” 

I thought the view of the Taj from Agra Fort was even more impressive in some ways than seeing it up close. (Of course you’ll find better pictures than this one in the links I’ve included.)

Taj as viewed from Agra Fort

I want to clearly express how fortunate I am to have the experiences in India that I’ve been sharing. As admitted before, I am by no means a history buff and unfortunately am very ignorant (in the true meaning of the word) when it comes to world history. I now find myself watching history programs that I would have clicked past without a thought, and I am excited to be able to say in many cases that “I’ve been there!”

Fatehpur Sikri

July 17, 2015

The last weekend that John was in India with me we headed to the Agra district. The first stop was at Fatehpur Sikri about 40 km away from Agra in the state of Uttar Pradesh. Fatehpur Sikri is known as one of the best preserved collections of Indian Mughal architecture in India.

My favorite memory from the guided tour was the description of the Pachisi Court. It was an area set up for a human board game of Parcheesi (Ludo) where people served as the playing pieces. The guide described the king overlooking the court, ordering his move, and then watching as beautiful women dressed in costume danced from space to space to complete his turn. Stop and think about that for a moment. I literally shook my head…

The description of the court and what took place in it was much more interesting than a picture would be so I don’t have one to include. Instead, the following is the Buland Darwaza entrance (“Gate of Magnificence”). We actually exited (rather than entered) here so I snapped this on our way out. (Better pictures in the previous link provided.)

Fatehpur Sikri Agra India 05022015

This is the last picture I snapped as we were leaving down a side street rather than wading back through the scads of homeless people just inside the Gate of Magnificence. They gather in that area because it is public and sheltered. The guide suggested the alternative route. He’s walking away in the crisp white suit on the right of the picture.

Donkeys carrying bricks outside Fatehpur Sikri 05022015

On our way from the Amber Palace we stopped to take pictures at Jal Mahal (the Water Palace) as we headed back into Jaipur. The guide said that there are plans to turn the palace into a restaurant and hotel in the next five or so years. That sounds like a terrific idea and something worth making a trip back to experience although I think it will be VERY expensive.

Water Palace Jaipur 042015

We were eager to get to the next attraction, it was extremely hot (especially after spending a couple of hours walking around the Amber Palace), AND we decided we’d had enough riding large mammals for a while…so here is the camel we didn’t ride.

Camel we didn't ride

The slow (SLOW!) ride dropped us at the entrance to the Amber Palace a.k.a. the Amber Fort constructed by Raja Man Singh I in 1592 and completed by Mirza Raja Jai Singh.

Although I am admittedly not very interested in history, seeing the forts in India with a tour guide did make it much more interesting to me and I have a different appreciation for the history now. John, on the other hand, loves history and probably would have spent triple the amount of time exploring the fort, reading all the plaques and taking photos and videos. The expression on John’s face (below) clearly shows his dislike for being told what to do. Sometimes the guide and I called for him to hurry up when he wasn’t ready. Mostly, I wanted to make sure he heard what the guide had to say. I also snapped at John just before this was taken — it was 107 degrees in the shade, we had other things to do that afternoon, and I did apologize after I did it. So there. I owned it.

Look at how cool the screen is in the background. That is what the picture there was all about. The entire thing was carved out of one piece of marble. If a mistake was made, it was scrapped and started over. It’s these details that finally sunk in with me particularly when I thought about the tools they were using to do this work. Just incredible.

Rushed John at Amber Palace

Here’s a happy picture with an equally as impressive background. Truly amazing in person.

Jen and John at Amber Palace 1

It was very hot but well worth the trip. The history, the colors and the detail will amaze you if you get the chance to visit.

Amber Fort collage

And probably John’s happiest moment at Amber Palace…in the next post.

Cheers!  Jendia