16th - 18th November 2000


Fatehpur Sikri was the capital of the Mughal Empire from 1571- 1585. It was built of local red sandstone by Akbar (emperor 1556 - 1600) but was abandoned after 14 years, perhaps because of shortage of water. A fascinating place to visit on our way from Bharatpur to Agra.

NB Click on any picture to enlarge it


and its pillar within

Panch Mahal

and the view into the valley

Inside the Dargah Mosque


the tomb of Sheikh Salim Chishti,

a Sufi saint

a visitor in red

and girls in pink


Agra was the capital of the Mughal empire in the 16th and 17th centuries before it moved to Delhi . Today it is a bustling city of over a million inhabitants, with some superb monuments, especially of course the Taj Mahal, which was built by Shah Jahan in memory of his wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Twenty two years in the building, it was completed in 1653.

We arrived at Agra at midday after visiting Fatehpur Sikri in the morning. We had lunch and a swim at the Trident Hotel before visiting the Taj Mahal to see it as the sun went down. It was very expensive (US$20) to get in, but it was worth every rupee. The next day, when we went a second time, entry was free as it was a Friday. It was quite staggeringly beautiful.

NB Click on any picture to enlarge it

Agra street scenes


evening market 

The gateway to the Taj Mahal and the view through it

and beyond it as the sun sets


The next morning the sun was brighter

and the crowds bigger

The marble reliefs and the inlaid stones were fantastic

One of the two mosques that flank the Taj Mahal

The Yumana river seen from the Taj Mahal

   A memorable visit


On our way to Sikandra Mr Singh took us to see a Sikh temple on the outskirts of Agra. This was very interesting. We were told that anyone who was destitute could eat there, whatever his or her religion.

Sikh Temple

and its kitchen.

Sikandra is the village where Akbar is buried. In the garden of the mausoleum complex deer and monkeys frolic. One of the local guides took us round. He said he had once been a professor and had once escorted Jim Callaghan on a visit to the Taj Mahal.

The main gateway

and the mausoleum

Akbar is said to have designed and started to build the mausoleum himself, and it was finished after his death by his son Jahangir

 Leaving Sikandra we headed for Delhi. Our delight at being on a dual carriageway was somewhat offset when first a school bus and then a camel pulling a heavy load came towards us in the 'fast lane' on our side of the carriageway. Mr Singh was totally unfazed by this. He did not even 'blow horn'. After all this sort of thing is normal in India. .

on the Agra to Delhi road

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