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travler Agra - A travel report by Del
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Agra,  India - flag India
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travler's travel reports

Travler's Agra & Fatehpur Sikri

  12 votes
I wanted to see the Taj Mahal so I decided to visit Agra and go see the royal city of Fatehpur Sikri.

Any tourist that visits India must see the Taj Mahal.

I was surprized to find slums here.



Pretty Lady at the Taj Mahal
Pretty Lady at the Taj Mahal
I took a bus from Delhi to get to Agra. Agra is the city in the Uttar Pradesh State in India.

The area has three heritage monuments the Taj Mahal, the Red Fort and the Fatehpur Sikri.


The population, (including all the districts), is about 2,750,000 people. It is on the Yamuna River.

Favourite spots:
Old Lady begging
Old Lady begging
The Taj Mahal was built in 1643 by Shah Jahan who was a Mughal King in memory of his wife, (Mumtaj), to keep her memory alive forever. It is a complex of gardens, mosques, and minarets. The gate is made of red sandstone.

A series of reflecting pools lead to the mausoleum. On the left side is a Mosque and the jawab,(answer), is on the right side. The garden is set out along classical Mughal lines. This means a square quartered by long pools, walking paths, fountains and ornamental trees. While I was here I sat on the stone bench at the end of the long pools and thought of Princess Diana when she sat in the same place looking so sad.

There are a lot of places to shop. I got great bargains at the Market. I found all types of things like leather goods, local handicrafts, imitation inlay work on marble, (including miniature Taj Mahals),in the market. I bought a leather jacket there.

I thought I might buy a sitar and bring one home. There were so different ones I didn't buy one.

What's really great:
Red Fort in Agra
Red Fort in Agra
The Red Fort is two kilometers from the Taj Mahal. It was built in the 17th Century. The exterior of the Fort is made of red sandstone that is inlayed with white marble. The Fort was built on a piece of land that is 2 ½ kilometers. It took two generations of rulers to finish the Fort. The Red Fort is on the Yamuna River and near to the railroad station. Within the Fort there is a reception room, Palaces and Mosques. The Jehangiri Palace was build for the women of the Royal household. The Khas Mahal palace was used by the Royal Hamman for bathing.

The Tomb of Itmad-Ud-Daula looks similar to the Taj Mahal. It's much smaller and less elegant.

It is a ½ upstream from the Taj Mahal. This mausoleum is within a walled garden. The exterior is made of marble and has inlay lattice and carvings on it. It has four minarets, (on each corner), of the Tomb. Next to the tomb there are where other family members were laid to rest.

Sights:
Man walking on the street near my hotel
Man walking on the street near my hotel
The Tomb of Itmad-Ud-Daula looks similar to the Taj Mahal. It's much smaller and less elegant. It is a ½ upstream from the Taj Mahal. This mausoleum is within a walled garden. The exterior is made of marble and has inlay lattice and carvings on it. It has four minarets, (on each corner), of the Tomb. Next to the tomb there are where other family members were laid to rest. The walls of the cenotaph reveal the intricate inlay work with a variety of illustrations. The cypresses and geometrical designs. The decoration of the main chamber has been incrusted with semi precious stones that were put into the mosaic tiles.

Sikandra is tomb of Akbar at Sikandra. This tomb is in the middle of a large garden. It looks like a smaller version of the Taj Mahal. The gateway of Sikandra has mosaic patterns in floral and geometrical style. The terrace has panels of jail screens and on the door there is a replica of the sarcophagus that was used in Persian designs. The tomb is in the basement and on the way to see it there are a numbers of wonderful paintings.

Accommodations:
Fort Agra
Fort Agra
I stayed at the Taj View Agra Hotel. This is a 3 star hotel but it was 3 kms from the Taj Mahal. It's a 5 story building and my room faced the garden. My room had air-conditioning, a TV, a phone, a mini-bar, complimentary bottled water, and coffee/tea maker. The only thing different in the bathroom was a bathrobe, a sewing kit and a trouser press.

In the lobby there was a Gift Shop that had magazines and newspapers, the Saqui bar, the Aashiyaana coffee shop, (where I had a complimentary buffet breakfast every morning) and the Jhankar dinning room. I had an Indian lunch and a Chinese dinner at the Jhankar. During dinner I enjoyed the classical music they play every evening. I had to leave my valuables in a safe behind the front desk.

There was a running track, a tennis court, an outdoor swimming pool and a steam room.

I paid $86.OO USD per night. Address: Taj Ganj Fatehabad Road, Agra, 282001,India.

Nightlife:
Cow crossing the street
Cow crossing the street
I mostly had a drink at the bar and listened to the classical music.

The city has no street lights so I use to go to the area near the Taj Mahal and sit on a terrace and have a drink.

Hangouts:
Fatehpur Sikri
Fatehpur Sikri
I took a bus to go 40 km from Agra. The place I came to see was Fatehpur Sikri. This is a Royal city all made of red sandstone. The building here are architecturally both Islamic and Hindu. This means the buildings have Hindu posts and beams and the roof has Muslim vaults and domes. The Panch Mahal , (or Palace of Five Storeys), and the Buland Darwaza have huge gates that allow you to into the complex. You enter the grounds through an arched courtyard that is on the west side and go into the audience hall. The largest building is the Palace that is about 250 square meters. The Anup Talao forms the central area of the private residence of the emperor and the main part of the mardana, or men's area. To the south of the pool is a pavilion known as the khwabagh or bedroom although its exact use is not known. The area to the east of the Anup Talao is the zenana, (women's area), that is separated from the rest of the complex by a long wall. This is the most magnificent part of the palace.

It is decorated with painting and carvings. I had lunch and a beer at the Gulistan Tourist Complex before I took a bus back to Agra.

Restaurants:
Road to Fatehpur Sikri
Road to Fatehpur Sikri
I ate at "Dasa Prakash", (the make great south India food), the address is 1 Gwalior Road Beind Ashok Hotel.

I sat outside and had some lassi, (it has good bacteria in it), with Karma beer while I watch the chief cook my dosas at "Joney's". Address: Taj Ganj area.

I had lunch a the " Lucky Restaurant", (vegetable rice buriani it cost Rs 35 and tea with mint, (large size), cost Rs 20). Address: Taj Ganj, Agra.

I had lunch at "Zorba The Buddha", (an Osho vegetarian restaurant). I had grilled eggplant in a tomato sauce with chick pea salad. Address: E, 19 Shopping Arcade Sadar Bazar Agra Cant.

At "Peshawri" I had chicken with crispy roti in the shape of a violin. Address: At the Marwari Bazar Complex, Sheraton Hotel.

"Dasaprakashand", (Italian food). Address: Dashprakash,Meher Theater complex,1,Gwalior road.

Other recommendations:
Children in the Slums
Children in the Slums
Take your shoes off and cover your shoulders when you visit a tomb or a religious site.

Beware of touts who tell you they can get you a cheaper price. Even the rickshaw puller gets a commission if he brings you to some shop.

Don't eat at the "Roof Top" I walked in and smelled pot.

Carry bottle water with you because you can drink the water here. It's very hot and you'll need it.

Published on Sunday February 18th, 2007


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Sat, Mar 10 2007 - 05:47 PM rating by eirekay

Del, I really enjoyed your photos - great people shots! Terrific report on a place I enjoyed very much!

Wed, Feb 28 2007 - 07:46 PM rating by biauwe.de

Toller Bericht

Mon, Feb 19 2007 - 06:45 PM rating by mistybleu

A very informative reports, I hope I manage to get there this year.

Mon, Feb 19 2007 - 12:23 PM rating by marianne

Hi del,
Nice personal account. Why are soem of your photos so very small?

Mon, Feb 19 2007 - 09:07 AM rating by frenchfrog

Very detailed reports and lots of info provides, many thanks for sharing your experience

Mon, Feb 19 2007 - 08:21 AM rating by hieronyma

You must have liked Agra very much. I liked the picture of the old woman. I'll save your information about restaurants for my next trip to India. Maybe you should have a look at the forum "Travel Writing" where Marianne offers some guidelines for writing a report.
Hieronyma

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