City of Taj

18th Apr 2016
Photo of City of Taj by Monika Kothari
Photo of City of Taj by Monika Kothari

A day in the name of erstwhile Mughal Capitals- Fatehpur-Sikri & Agra

After seeing the Humayun's Tomb & Lal Quila here at Delhi, the Mughal love for white & red stones, the love for intricate designs, harmonious themes inspired us to visit the home of Mughal history & stories- Agra & Fatehpur Sikri.

This was a one day tripped planned in a Jiffy to explore the cities & major Mughal monuments or may I say the World Heritage Sites. 

We started in the morning via the newly started train- Gatiman Express. This is currently the fastest train in India and takes dot 100 minutes from Hazrat Nizamuddin Railway Station to Agra Cant. Their onboard hospitality and warmth was just the perfect way to start the day.

We reached Agra at 9.50 am. After a few formalities at the IRCTC car booking center, we zoomed our car to Fatehpur Sikri. The drive takes about 50 minutes. The petrol/diesel vehicles are not allowed to the monuments. Hence one must take the shared CNG buses from government (ADA) depot. The buses are extremely frequent and cost Rs 10 per person as toll tax to the fort. Since it was the World Heritage Day, entries to all Wrld Heritage Monuments was free 

Fatehpur Sikri, the architectural marvel of Mughal empire, was their Capital for about 13 years during the reign of Akbar. It is a very small city mainly famous for its Fort, Buland Darwaza & Tomb of Sheikh Salim Chisti. The beauty of construction can hardly ever be captured by any lens. On one hand is the grand fort & on the other side is the pious dargah. This city is a testimony of Mughal Grandeur, the religious harmony & inspired architectural carvings from all the religions. Every empire is full of secrets, stories & teachings. Keep an eye for details for that unforgettable experience.

After completing the extensive tour with an ASI guide, we were back to City Of Taj. Our first spot here was  the monumental Agra Fort. This robust construction has many rulers, empires and was home to Mughals, Sher Shah Suri, Marathas, Bengal King & English during various periods. Situated on the banks of Yamuna, one can see the rear side of Taj Mahal from various angles.

Agra Fort is one of the most strategic constructions of Mughal. Over three fourth of the fort area has historically been cantonment to various militaries, infact also houses one of the largest Indian defence residential & training facilities till date.

Post the substantial visit of Agra fort, we headed to the other side of Yamuna for our Finale of Agra visit. Taj Mahal, was our last pick to visit on the World Heritage Day. This white marvel is mausoleum of both Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahan. The facts, figures & history about construction of this pinnacle Mughal constructions is ample proof it being one of the seven wonders. 

The detailed designs, landscape, river Yamuna, symmetrical designs & the sun rays, all add on to the beauty of this marble marvel. to experience Taj, one must visit it. Appreciation expressed in words is no where close to achievements of the architects of this Colosseum of Love.

With these three visits, we ended our tryst with Mughal architect. But, no travel is ever complete without souvenirs, local food and local shopping. For this we headed to Uttar Pradesh Government run emporium. The products sold here are all genuine, handmade & supports the livelihood of inmates of Agra jail & local craftsmen. I decided to pick some fridge magnets, natural hand woven bamboo & banana stem saree & some marble decorative pieces. 

After the soulful day at Agra, it was time to treat my sense of taste with some Agra petha and head back home with unlimited memories.

Photo of Agra, Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India by Monika Kothari
Mausoleum of Mughal King Shah Jahan's wife- Mumtaj Mahal
Photo of Taj Mahal, Agra, Uttar Pradesh 282001, India by Monika Kothari
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