Thursday, March 28, 2013

India Travelogue: The Red Fort of Agra

We were still a little bit high from our city tour when we bid adieu to Delhi. We were hard-pressed for time so after a quick breakfast, we packed our things and went on the 5-hour drive to Agra. I was excited: today is the day we visit the Taj Mahal!

We were assigned a young driver named Chand, who readily took the challenge of driving us from Delhi > Agra > Jaipur > Delhi in a span of 3 days. India is a big country as such each city was about 5-6 hours apart; take into consideration the traffic and heat, and well, we were so thankful that Chand was terribly nice and never complained about the journey.

While on a potty break in the middle of nowhere, I took photos of this souvenir shop which had some interesting (but expensive!) finds.


They gave me a bindi which (as per the guy) can make me 5 years younger. Oh, ha!


We left Delhi at 8:30 am and arrived in Agra at 1:30pm. We checked into Hotel Pushp, freshened up a bit and left for the Agra Fort. But first, a photo with manong guard (one of our friends said he looks like Captain Nemo):


And then finally, we arrive in the Red Fort of Agra.

Near the gardens of the Taj Mahal stands the important 16th century Mughal monument known as the Red Fort of Agra. This powerful fortress of red sandstone encompasses within its 2.5 kms. long, enclosure walls, the imperial city of the Mughal ruler with multiple palaces and architectural wonders.

The Red Fort of Agra is a powerful fortress founded in 1565 by the Emperor Akbar (1556-1605) on the right bank of the Yamuna; it is placed today on the north-west extremity of the Shah Jahan Gardens which surround the Taj Mahal and clearly form, with them, a monumental unity. 
Each wall is 70m. high and is separated by a 12 m. deep moat

The Red Fort of Agra or Agra Fort is a UNESCO World Heritage site and was originally a brick fort held by the Rajputs. It was later reconstructed using red sandstone when the Mughal Emperors ruled. I can't help but feel overhwelmed -- Agra Fort was huge and its grandeur was something I've never seen before.


The most noteworthy building inside Agra Fort is the Jahangiri Mahal which is a palace for women belonging to the royal household. Remember, in ancient times women were prohibited from showing their faces and mingling with other people. If there were public gatherings or celebrations, the women usually observe from afar cooped up in their own palace.


The Mughals were lovers of architecture as evidenced in the designs and structure of the Agra Fort. They invented their own version of the "air-conditoner" where cool air from the outside would flow within the walls making the room cool instantly during summertime. Another interesting invention is the "intercom", check out Mom below: she seems like she's only talking to the wall but amazingly, Dad can hear her from the other side of the room. Another great innovation from the Mughals!


The Agra Fort also has an inner courtyard called Diwan-I-Am which translates to "Hall of Public Audiences". This is where the Emperor addressed the general public as well as the nobility. The Diwan-I-am also features a grand garden with flower-beds, water channels and fountains (source).


Another noteworthy structure in Red Fort is the Musamman Burj, an octagonal tower standing close to Shah Jahan's private hall.


Musamman Burj offers the most magnificent view of the Taj Mahal:


This is is the chamber where Shah Jahan was imprisoned by his son, Aurangzeb. It's rumored that on his deathbed, Shah Jahan kept his eyes fixed on the Taj Mahal, the monument he built for the love of his life. He was later buried beside Mumtaz Mahal.

a bathing area

At this point, I really appreciated India and its vast culture. I tried to imagine how it felt to live here during its heyday, surrounded by a royal court attending to your every need, housed in a palace made of marble, precious stones and exquisite artwork. It must have been a grand life indeed for the Mughals. 


As I initially wanted to include all our adventures in one post per place, the numerous photos are making it hard for me to do so. Stay tuned for my post on the Taj Mahal coming up next!

Related posts:

India Travelogue: The Taj Mahal
India Travelgue: Jaipur (Day 1)
India Travelogue: Jaipur (Day 2)

7 Comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Aww..really? Thanks Leilani :) Currently composing an blog entry on the Taj Mahal :)

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  2. the places all look so grand (sounding like a broken record here), but they really are!

    isn't the bindhi supposed to mean you're married? o.O

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    Replies
    1. Hi Vivi! Yes, India is so grand -- love the architecture and the rich culture!

      I was told that if my bindi is pure bright red, then it means I'm married. Mine is read but has a rhinestone in the middle which means I am not married :D

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  3. jakieandthebeadstalkAugust 28, 2013 at 9:27 AM

    I'm so amazed with the walls - your mom can hear your dad from the other side! bumabawi ako ngayon sa pagkocomment! heheh

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  4. Oo nga e! Medyo bongga ang inbox ko dahil sa comments mo. Thank you so much :D

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  5. jakieandthebeadstalkAugust 28, 2013 at 10:44 AM

    Hahaha! Ako din. Last week lang ako nagregister sa Discus (nung nagcomment ako sa blog mo- ay may discus chuvaness to post!) Hahahaha

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