INDIA: The Magical Wonders of Agra
January 1, 1970
India is no doubt one of the most beautiful places you have to travel to. Its full of history, culture and amazing architecture. Hence, its name ‘Incredible India’.
Early February 2016, my family and I travelled to North India and visited 4 major cities, Delhi, Agra, Jaipur and Jodhpur. To save all the excitement and keep you wondering, I have decided to share with you my travels in Agra first since it is the most beautiful of all the 4 cities I visited. We hired a private tour that took us in a SUV for just the four of us to all the four cities. The cities were far apart so yes, they were pretty long car rides with short stops along the way for lunch and tea.
Our first stop in Agra was Agra Fort, also known as the Red Fort, because of its colour, obviously. The Agra Fort is quite similar to Delhi Fort in Delhi, but the majority of tours and travellers visit the Agra Fort as it is more accessible and better in some way, according to our driver.
The thing about India is that there are forts everywhere, in every major city. Forts are basically structures that were built to guard and protect the people or the city within. It was built during the war many centuries ago, and was home to the Mughal Dynasty. The Agra Fort is well preserved and until today known as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
So that’s basically how the fort looks like. Pretty shots aren’t they? I loved how the walls were designed in so much thought and details. This place just makes you feel like you’re from a different era that is so far from the present world. It has the ability to somehow take you back in time to relive the lives of kings and queens. Truly magical indeed.
Agra Fort is super huge, you might get aches after walking for some time but heck! anywhere you go in India involves a lot of walking, but definitely worth it! Feeling the aches and sweating in the hot sun, climbing up a and down stairs and slopes, till you see this piece of art? You tell me. It felt liberating.
Exploring the Beautiful Taj Mahal
It is no doubt that Agra is the home of the famous ‘Taj Mahal’, so yes! Being the overexcited jumpy person I am, I got more hyped and distracted at the thought that our next stop was one of the ‘7 Wonders of The World’.
Take note that its around a 10 minute walk along a straight path till you get to Taj Mahal. The pathway was not fancy or anything, but it lacked cleanliness. When you reach the ticketing counters you can see countless tour guides offering their knowledge and assistance to get around the area, which is something very common in India. After purchasing your tickets you would need to go through a security screening which is basic protocol.
So after all the fuss I had with my GoPro, because apparently my tripod stand was deemed dangerous and I had to store it in the locker, I shook it off and proceeded to the majestic grounds.
I don’t think many people know or maybe it’s just me, I found out a few years ago, that Taj Mahal is not a mosque. It is actually a tomb built by Emperor Shah Jahan for his 3rd wife, Empress Mumtaz who died giving birth to their 14th child. The real tomb is located right below the Taj Mahal but they built the replica and placed it right above the genuine tomb for general viewing. Although we could witness the replica of the tomb, there were strictly no pictures allowed.
The amazing fact about the this amazing structure, is that it was built to create perfect symmetrical balance. The mosque on one side has its mirrored image on the opposite side which is a guest house.
That’s me! Touching the tip. As you can see it was a bit hazy that day, so the Taj Mahal looked faded in the background. It was really good because there was a kind tour guide whom approached us earlier who knew where to get the best shot of the Taj Mahal, other than the cool poses he instructed us to do.
So there you have it! Taj Mahal!
Our next stop was Fatehpur Sikri, which was a city built by Emperor Akhbar. I somehow loved this place too because of the various pictures I took and the whole feel of the place.
Other than being the most preserved collection of Indian Mughal architecture, there is a whole lot of history about Fatehpur Sikri which needs a lot of time to read up on and understand. So here are my shots within its grounds.
From left, ‘Jama Masjid’ of Fatehur Sikri and on the right, the ‘Tomb of Salim Chishti’ where you can see a man sitting in silent prayer. The ‘Tomb of Salim Chishti’ was a mausoleum built by Emperor Akhbar as a mark for his respect towards a sufi saint, who foretold the birth of Akhbar’s son. It is said those who make a wish within this mausoleum will have it come true.
Two little girls wandering the ground of ‘Fatehpur Sikri’ asking for money, so I told them I wanted a picture in return.
There you have it! Incredible India through my eyes. Stay tuned for more of my travel adventures and I hope you have decided where your next travel destination will be 🙂
A few tips to add,
What you need before travelling to India:
1) Comfortable shoes
2) Loose clothing, shades and a cap
3) A good camera