29-30 September 2019

Agra was the capital of the Mughal Empire from 1556 to 1648. The city was then taken by the Marathas and later fell to the British Raj.

Everybody knows the story of the Taj Mahal. Everybody has seen the pictures. But nothing prepares you for its haunting beauty: white marble floating in the morning mist.

Taj Mahal – close up it appears flat like a painting: only as you move away it becomes three dimensional
Enhancing the already beautiful Taj Mahal is the Mosque on the western side
The Mughals swept down into India from Uzbekistan and their religious architecture is somewhat similar.

Coral Court Homestay, 15 minutes walk from the Taj Mahal, was an excellent place to stay.

When we smelt the dinner cooking at Coral Court Homestay we knew we’d be eating there
We’d been waiting for the chance to eat Dosa Masala for lunch and this was great
Colourful saris drying in the sun

Agra Fort aka Red Fort was the main residence of the Mughals emperors until 1638, when they moved to Delhi. It took 4,000 builders eight years to build. The 380,000 m2 fort, more of a walled city, was defended by 20 meter high walls, a moat with crocodiles and an inner perimeter patrolled by tigers.

16th century Red Fort of Agra with massive 20 meter high red sandstone walls is 2.5 km around
This entrance to the Red Fort was reserved for the Mughal emperor and his entourage
Here the emperor would hear the grievances of general public
The women’s area of the Red Fort
The drainage groove and well channelled rain water to the baths in the floor below
Shah Jahan (who built the Taj Mahal) was deposed by his son and imprisoned for 8 years in this room
He had a view of the Taj from the balcony

Fatehpur Sikri

01 October 2019

World Heritage Fatehpur Sikri, a fortified city, is about an hour from Agra enroute to Jaipur. The Mughal emperor, Akbar, constructed this imperial city in 1571 in honour of the Sufi saint Salim Chisti, who predicted the birth of a son. It was the capital of Mughal Empire until 1585 and was later completely abandoned in 1610.

Emperor Akbar had 3 wives: a Moslem, a Hindu and a Christian. He wanted to be friends to all.

5 storied Panch Mahal was a place for the emperor to relax in cooling breezes
The Hall of Private Audiences with the emperor
This is the outside of the Palace of Jodha Bai, Emperor Akbar’s favourite wife, a Hindu, who bore him a son
Inside the Palace of Emperor Akbar’s Hindu wife – she had separate quarters for winter and summer
Inside the Treasury of Fatehpur Sikri