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Saturday, 31 March 2012

AGRA VISIT

my agra visit..




..
Being the most important fort during the 
Mughal Empire and historically recorded many 
significant events that occurred centuries ago, 
we chose Agra Fort aka Red Fort of Agra to 
be our first destination in the city of
 Taj. In fact, this was our first visit to a 
heritage site for this trip. Located by the
 River Yamuna, built by King Akbar around 
1570 A.D. and about 1 km from the Taj Mahal East gate, 
Agra Fort can be easily reached from the town center. 
We got to its south entrance (the only entrance) 
by auto-rickshaw for Rs.50 from our hotel.
From outside the fortress, the most obvious 
criteria of the monument was the red 
sandstone structure and the Mughal-style 
Amar Singh Gate (Akbar Darwaza). This is
 the only gate that opened to public access.
Right under Amar Singh Gate
Previously known as Akbari gate, it was later 
changed to Amar Singh Gate by Shah Jahan.
 Another gate, the Delhi Gate used to be the 
entrance specially for kings and it leads to
 another section called Hathi Pol (Elephant Gate).
Founded by King Akbar the Great, son of Humayun,

 Agra Fort was the greatest fortress of all. It is the
 greatest because all great Mughal kings used to reside 
here and some governed their kingdoms from here, the 
capital of Mughal Empire.
There were plenty of street sellers trying to make
 a living by selling variety of souvenir items, books, and 
postcards just outside the Amar Singh Gate. There 
were also a few guys who introduced themselves as 
guides and they would show their authority cards to 
confirm that. I heard some offered Rs.50 per hour and some other for Rs.200 per 
visit. We didn't need no guide as we can always
 check the fact of any monuments from the Net or guidebooks. One guy 
even came with a very ridiculous approach by telling us
 that it will be a waste of time without hiring any of them. Ciitt (spit).
Get a ticket before you enter
Each visitor should buy a ticket from the ticket 
counter located to the left after passing Amar
 Singh Gate. The ticket cost Rs.300 per person,
 for foreigners. Locals only pay Rs.20 each.
 That's a huge difference huh. If you look like an Indian, 
try to speak Hindi to the ticket guy. You might be paying 
the local fare. As we walked through the fortress 
entrance towards the ticket checking post, several 
men still offering their guide services. Only after 
our tickets checked, none of those people could get 
pass this point and we were finally free.
Approaching Jehangiri Mahal
Jehangiri Mahal
Without further delay, we ventured deeper into the
 fort before we reached at Jehangiri Mahal, a 
big palace-like building with Mughal architecture. 
This palace is made mostly of red sandstone 
and was the most significant building during Akbar's reign. 

One of Jehangiri's towers
Right in front of Jehangiri Mahal was a big bath 
vat (Jahangir's Hauz) which was built in 1610 A.D. 
This mobile circular bath tank measured 5 feet high and
 8 feet in diameter.

I first thought it was a big cooking pot when first 
looked at it but quickly my question was answered 
(I heard a guide telling a group of tourists)it was a bath tub 
of jehangir gifted to him by his brother in law..
 On both sides of the palace stood an octagonal tower. 
We walked passed its gateway into a courtyard where 
we could see the Taj Mahal from a distance. The view was 
breathtaking even in a hazy afternoon.
Jehangiri on Yamuna side
Dance India dance?
Khas Mahal & Anguri Bagh
Exited Jehangiri Mahal into a white marble
 building. It was Khas Mahal, a gift from 
Shah Jahan to his two daughters. Khas 
Mahal consists of two pavilions on each 
side separated by a central hall and marble wall.
 In fact the building was entirely built of white marble
 up to the ceiling. It was then painted in gold and blue,
 the royal colors. But I saw only white and some 
brownish stains (of water or sands) on most parts.
Door to somewhere?
There's also a water pond right in front of the central hall.
 The open space facing Khas Mahal is the 
Anguri Bagh (Garden of grapes) which was an 
idea of Shah Jahan as a private garden for his royal ladies.
Anguri Bagh with Khas Mahal on the background
Musamman Burj
We walked westward to an area where quite a 
number of tourists were busy taking pictures. As
 a result of poor signage, I had no idea what the
 place was at the moment and almost skipped it completely. 
That particular structure was where Emperor Shah Jahan
 had lived for years, imprisoned by his own son,
Aurangzeb before he died. This place is a double storey pavilion with an octagonal dome called Musamman Burj (Jasmine Tower). 
The walls and pillars of this pavilion were decorated
 with colorful arts including pietra dura, which
 can also be found inside Taj Mahal. However, public
 were not allowed into the tower building.

Famous pietra dura
Shish Mahal
So we walked past a few tightly closed doors. 
From the map, I guessed those were 
Shish Mahal (Glass Palace) and perhaps 
Diwan-i-Khas (Hall of Private audience) as well. When 
I peek inside Shish Mahal, it's actually a bathing room or
 hammam. I could see some glowing glasses or mirrors
 which were used as part of the structure, especially
 on its door. According to some, those mirrors
 were imported from Aleppo, Syria
Diwan-i-Am
We followed the pathway to another section
 of the fort and saw the Diwan-i-Am 
(Hall of public audience) on our right. 
This piece of structure was built by Shah 
Jahan too and it was used as a place where the
 emperor addressed the public. This hall is easy to
 spot as it has plenty of unique arches and pillars
 (40 of them). There is a tomb of someone 
right in front of this hall but I don't remember exactly the detail.
Almost empty hall
From a distant we could see Nagina Masjid's
 (Gem Mosque) domes on the other side 
which entry was prohibited. Maybe some 
renovations were in progress or something. 
Nevermind, we were then delighted by some
 cute squirrel-like (I guess they're squirrel) creatures who
 were hungry for food.
Come to papa
Not long after that, we walked out of Agra Fort
 as time did not permit us for further
 exploration inside this old, greatest fortification structure
 of old India.


5 comments:

Anonymous said...

woow i would like to visit agra. nice post and backround...

ESHA BARBIE said...

THANKS..

Ivy said...

Wow! thats really cool! i love traveling, i really want to visit London someday.

Anonymous said...

I really love your blog and how you post pictures of places you've been with descriptions about what it is. It lets me see things that I wouldn't have been able to see myself. Thanks for saying that you loved my pictures, I'll try to keep posting more :)

ESHA BARBIE said...

thanks for all your awesome comments. i'd try to post more.. if my dashboard opens... ;( still thanks..