Agra/Fatehpur Sikri: The Mughal Heart

Our trip to Agra and Fatehpur Sikri was a monster. Not that anything bad happened.  It’s just that there was too much to see, each site more amazing that the last. There are few places in the world that can boast such a rich history plus a high concentration of artifacts and structures illustrating that past. Agra will forever be synonymous with the Taj Mahal. And there is good reason for that, of course. The Taj is a wonder, especially at dawn when the changing light is recorded on the marble surfaces. But Agra is also home to other architectural wonders that live in the Taj’s shadow. In nearby Fatehpur Sikri (a forgettable town) the Jama Masjid mosque, the shrine to Salim Chisti, and the palace complex sit at odds with their impoverished surroundings. In Agra proper the Itmad Ul-Daulah tomb is a perfectly proportioned jewel and the massive Fort a feat of medieval engineering. When not walking around ruins, domes, and fortified walls, we played endless games of cribbage on the rooftop of our hotel, contemplating our next moves and our last days in the Subcontinent.


on the way to Fatehpur Sikri, hunting for chips at the bus stand

local transport

Fatehpur Sikri town in all its glory

Fatehpur Sikri town

The Bulwand Darwaaza, north gate to the mosque

inside the Masjid

inside the Masjid

the shrine to Salim Chisti

the shrine to Salim Chisti: ridiculous jali carving

the shrine to Salim Chisti: ridiculous jali carving

the shrine to Salim Chisti: ridiculous jali carving

inside the Masjid

Masjid detail

inside the Masjid

Fatehpur Sikri Palace

Fatehpur Sikri Palace: redstone carving

Fatehpur Sikri Palace: Diwan-i-Khass

Fatehpur Sikri Palace: Diwan-i-Khass

Fatehpur Sikri Palace

view from Taj Mahal terrace of the Yamuna River

Taj outer walls in the early morning

Taj!

yup, its early

inside the tomb

Taj

Taj, mosque

Taj, mosque

still look tired

its wedding season

Itmad Ul-Daulah tomb

Itmad Ul-Daulah tomb interior

Itmad Ul-Daulah tomb

Fort walls

Fort walls

below the Fort walls, learning how to play cricket (unsuccessfully)

night wedding groom procession

night wedding groom procession

the groom talking to him mummy (second thoughts?)

early the next morning on the express to Varanasi (we loved the chai in the disposable clay pots)

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