Timeless beauty Agra and Fatehpur Sikri

#1 Feb 7th, 2018, 20:26
Sukumar Manna (Chala jata hun kisi ki dhun mein)
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  • travelmanna is offline
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We are continuing our journey from Varanasi. On 27/12/2017, the train departed Varanasi rly. station at around 08:30 P.M. instead of 05:25 P.M.

28/12/2017: Now the real problem arises due to delay of the train. The scheduled arrival time at Agra was 06:45 A.M. Our plan was after reaching Agra; we will check in into the guest house where I booked my accommodation, fresh up and then visit Taj Mahal and Agra fort. But while running, it got delayed hour by hour. When we reached Agra it was 03:30 P.M. Taj Mahal closing time is 05:00 P.M. i.e. entry ticket counter closes at 05:00 P.M and next day i.e. 29/12/2017 is Friday and Taj Mahal remain close on every Friday. We cannot go the guest house where I booked my accommodation because it was at a distance of 7 KM from the railway station. Luckily, I purchased online entry tickets few days back before the start of the journey so there is no need to stand in the queue for entry ticket purchase; directly we can stand in the entry gate queue. After reaching in Agra fort rly. station, we were running towards the exit. We hired auto rickshaws and told them to take us to a nearby hotel. They took us to a nearby hotel and we requested them to wait outside the hotel. In the hotel, my wife and daughter became ready within 30 minutes. Thanks to them. We started 04:30 P.M. from the hotel and reached Taj Mahal West gate at 04:45 P.M. We walk down a little bit & saw the queue for Taj Mahal entry. Queue was 500 meter long but we were much relaxed now because now we can enter inside the Taj Mahal. There is a separate queue for ladies and gents. In a hurry, I forgot to handover the entry tickets to my wife and daughter. Again, I went to them and handed over the tickets. It was super crowded may be due to the winter vacation and next day is a Friday. The sun was almost set. It took almost half an hour and finally, we were inside the Taj Mahal premises. We entered through the Great gate (Darwaza-i rauza). Nothing can describe the beauty of Taj Mahal; you have to be there and experience it. We enjoyed the evening view very much.

Darwaza-i rauza
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Taj Mahal
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Taj Mahal
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Then, we were in a queue for entering into the main complex of the tomb area. We purchased shoe covers @ Rs. 10/-. By this time, it was dark. There were no light posts inside the complex. Queue was long and within 15 minutes we entered into the main complex of tomb. Before entering, we put on shoe covers. It was not allowed to take any photo inside the tomb complex. After some time, we came out and it was 07:30 P.M. It was an amazing experience. Today, since morning, we didnít have proper meal. So, straightway, we went to a hotel, ordered food and had it. After dinner, we went to Sadar Bazar area and purchased Agraís famous ďPethaĒ from a genuine ďPanchi PethaĒ Outlet. ďPanchi PethaĒ is a famous petha shop in Agra but be careful while purchasing Petha because lots of shops use to sell duplicate Panchi Petha. In the mean time, we decided to stay at night in the same hotel. We didnít go the guest house and the money wasted.

29/12/2017:Today, our plan was to visit Agra fort, Fatehpur Sikri and night stay at Bharatpur. The distance of Bharatpur from Agra is almost 60 KM. We checked out of the hotel and proceed to Agra fort. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The construction of Agra Fort was begun by Akbar between 1565 and 1573. Akbar built the fort of red sandstone; his grandson Shah Jahan, the builder of the Taj Mahal, constructed palaces of white marble within the fort itself. There are four gates, Khizri gate which is opening on to the river Yamuna, Delhi gate, Lahore gate popularly known as Amar Singh gate and inner gateway called Hathi Pol. We canít use Delhi gate since army is controlling it. We entered through the Amar Singh gate. Some of the exquisite structures in the fort are: Sheesh Mahal, The Diwan-e-Am, Diwan-e-Khas, The Anguri Bagh, Khas Mahal ,Jehangir Mahal, Mina Masjid, Nagina Masjid, Musamman Burj. Itís a well maintained fort and worth to visit.

Amar Singh gate, Agra fort
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Diwan-e-Am
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Diwan-e-Khas
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Jehangir Mahal
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It took almost two hours to see all these things and we came out. Our next destination was Fatehpur Sikri. Distance is around 36 KM. We reach there within one hour. Car dropped us in the parking near the Agra gate. From the parking, Fatehpur Sikri complex is more than a kilometer. I read in TR of fellow Indiamikers that there is a CNG shuttle buses run by government between the parking area and palace complex of Sikri. We saw the bus is full, so we didnít wait and hire one auto rickshaw for Rs. 50/- . Auto dropped us at a place from where the Buland Darwaza and the palace complex is almost 200 meter. Buses also charge Rs. 10/- per person but the advantage is that it will drop you near the Diwan-e-Am or Jodha Bai gate of palace complex. We made a mistake; we should wait till the arrival of the next bus. So, there wasnít another way except walking. Sikri complex is situated at a little bit height. Weather was fine and we didnít face any real problem during walk. In the mean time, we hired one local guide at a nominal rate @Rs. 100/-. He will guide us in the dargah complex only as he doesnít have permission to enter into the palace complex as a guide. Fatehpur Sikri was established by Emperor Akbar from the twin villages of Fatehpur and Sikri as tribute to famous Sufi saint, Sheikh Salim Chishti. Fatehpur Sikri is divided into two parts one is dargah complex and the other is palace complex. Dargah complex houses the famous Buland darwaza, Jama Masjid, the tomb of Sufi saint Salim Chishti, Hiran minar. Here entry is free. First, we put off our shoes and entered into the dargah complex through Buland Darwaza. Buland Darwaza or the "Gate of Magnificence" was built in 1601 A.D. by Akbar to commemorate his victory over Gujarat. It is made of red and buff sandstone, and decorated by carving and inlaying of white and black marble. An inscription on the central face of the Buland Darwaza throws light on Akbar's religious tolerance and broad mindedness.

Buland Darwaza
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Then, we saw Jama Masjid (mosque). Itís a beautiful mosque also known as the "Friday Mosque" is one of the largest mosques in India. After this, the guide took us to Hiran minar. It is said that Akbar built this in the memory of his favourite elephant. It rises to a height of 80 ft. from the ground. It has a surprising design, octagonal at the base, circular in the middle and tapering at the top with a dome crowned capital. The exterior of the walls are covered over with stone imitations of elephant tusks which look like projecting iron spikes from a distance.

Hiran Minar
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After this, we proceed towards the tomb of Sufi saint Salim Chishti. The guide told us that saint Salim Chishti was the grandson of Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti of Ajmer Sharif. The tomb is the finest examples of Mughal architecture made of white marble and a noted religious center for Muslims. A popular legend states that Akbar who did not have a successor was blessed with a baby boy by the blessings of saint Salim Chisti. To show his respect, Akbar named his boy Salim, who became the fourth Mughal ruler and was known by the name Jahangir. There, we witnessed excellent craftsmanship in the jali screens that are intricately carved out of marble. We were amazed by the spectacular serpentine brackets that are made to support the broad chajja on four sides.

Tomb of saint Salim Chishti
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I was aware of the chadar scam. Before entering the tomb, lots of flower seller, chadar sellers were selling their items. We thought to offer flower on the tomb. We bargained hard and purchased a box of rose flowers @ Rs. 100/-. We entered into the tomb. When we handed over the flower box to the Muslim priest, we saw a chadar was kept below the flowers. We offered chadar also. We came out of the tomb. Some people were singing Qawwali (Sufi devotional song) just outside the tomb. It was a beautiful atmosphere. After this, we collected our shoes and proceed towards the palace complex through Kings gate. Entry in the Palace complex requires a ticket. The palace complex has two entry gates, Diwan-e-Am and Jodha Bai, where tickets can be purchased. Diwan-e-Am is the main gate, also nearer to the Kings gate and there's also a free archaeological museum near it that's open daily from 9.00 am to 5.00 p.m. except Friday.We could not enter into the museum since the day was Friday. The palace complex combines Islamic, Hindu and Christian architecture, reflective of the religions of Akbar's three wives. Inside the complex, the Diwan-e-Khas (Hall of Private Audiences) is a magnificent structure featuring a single pillar (the Lotus Throne pillar) that apparently supported Akbar's throne. Other highlights are the famous five-storied Panch Mahal which was meant to be the shelter of the royal ladies and mistresses and immaculately carved Jodha Bai Palace.
We spent almost two and half hour there and came out. We saw a shuttle bus was waiting in the parking. We took the bus, paid Rs. 10/- per person and came to the car parking area. After having light snacks, we proceed towards the Bharatpur to visit Keoladeo National Park (formerly known as Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary); our last destination.
Last edited by travelmanna; Feb 7th, 2018 at 23:04.. Reason: More specific
#2 Feb 7th, 2018, 21:42
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  • Prakaant is offline
#2
Lovely and what a detailed report, Manna!

Loved it and photographs..
#3 Feb 7th, 2018, 23:35
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  • Pani Puri is offline
#3
Your photos are wonderful! Thank you for sharing! I loved Agra Fort and of course, the Taj Mahal.
Last edited by Pani Puri; Feb 8th, 2018 at 03:30..
#4 Feb 8th, 2018, 10:52
Sukumar Manna (Chala jata hun kisi ki dhun mein)
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Few more photographs.....

Diwan-e-Khas @ Fatehpur Sikri
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Panch Mahal @ Fatehpur Sikri
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Jodha Bai Palace @ Fatehpur Sikri
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