The Red Fort in Agra is rather immense for one photo. Perhaps they have one here, but I have several photos of the place! Since we saw the Taj Mahal very early in the morning we were able to see the Red Fort the same day. It was raining on and off the whole day as you will notice.
The Red Fort is near the Yamuna River and from certain vantage points you can see the Taj Mahal. It’s another testament to 16th century Mughal architecture and decoration. Akbar made Agra his capital in 1558 and initiated the reconstruction of the Red Fort in 1565 since it was a collection of deteriorating buildings. Over 1,000,000 workers worked 8 years to complete it. Akbar’s grandson Shah Jahan is responsible for creating many of the white marble buildings inlaid with gold or semi-precious stones. Unfortunately for Shah Jahan he was imprisoned by his son Aurangzeb in the fort and later died in one of its towers where he had a view of the Taj Mahal, monument to his love Mumtaz Mahal.
The main entrance to the fort is through the Amar Singh Gate which is pictured above. There are other gates, reportedly more spectacular but you cannot enter through them. And so begins our exploration of this 94 acre fortress. As you may recall there’s a Red Fort in New Delhi which is not as grand as this one, but still important! It is impressive with several beautiful buildings and decorative details which I photographed extensively. Instead of numerous food photos I give you photos of patterns and carvings!
Which reminds me of food in India…it’s not like Indian food anywhere else. The butter and oils they use are different therefore making the digestion of food not so easy. I enjoyed eating it but the daily dose of Pepto tablets wasn’t fun. There was only one time I vomited and that was due to heat exhaustion at Fatehpur Sikri, we’ll get there eventually.
There is a moat all around the Fort which now has bushes and trees growing in them but they once had water and wild animals in them.
Have you ever visited a museum or monument and developed an acquaintance? You never speak to the person or persons but you see them as you move around. They become part of your tour, whether or not you see them again, is part of the fun. I had two such monument acquaintances at the Red Fort. Of course I saw the same people over and over within the same places but these particular people figure into a lot of my photos. There’s a couple, man in plaid shirt and woman in pinkish-red sari, and then there’s a family who didn’t obviously color coordinate (or did they?) but they all have on complementary colors of turquoise, pink, lavender and yellow-orange. I took pictures of them because they looked so good together.
Oh and then there’s the Fort. Shah Jahan did a great job of adding his white marble, grand details here and there. I would have loved to see it in its day with water in the fountains and candles in the niches. Maybe there were sumptuous fabrics and textiles draped in doorways or covering the floors. I hope so.
There’s a picture of a Sadu, holy man, all in orange talking on a cell phone. I stalked him to get this picture. I couldn’t help it. The idea of this man having a cell phone amused me.
Another interesting thing is how brightly colored women dress as oppose to the men. The men got stuck with the 70s era polyester shirts and pants and the ladies have vibrantly colored saris and scarves. Yeah for the ladies!
In mid-August 2011 I traveled to India for the first time. We flew in and out of New Delhi but our destination was Rajasthan. I like the flight maps feature on airplanes. You can see how far you have to go and how many more movies you can cram into the flight.
The best movie to get you in the mood for Rajasthan is Jodhaa Akbar. Hrithik Roshan stars as Mughal Emperor Jalaluddin Mohammed Akbar and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan as Jodhaa, a Rajput princess from Amer. It’s the classic tale of a marriage made for political alliance where she dislikes him and he is sort of interested in her. Of course they reveal their true selves and slowly fall in love. It’s the closest you can get to a illustration of what it was like in 16th century royal India. It’s one of my favorite movies and luckily the lead actors are easy to look at.
When you hear about Kabul or Karachi you know they’re a point on a map, thousands of miles away, but until you’re close to them physically they become real. I kept looking out the window to see if I could make out something to reinforce this but the clouds prevented it. I knew that India would be unlike anywhere or anything I had seen but until we were there nothing could prepare me. The trip was amazing. It was hard at times but if you can travel, you should. If your mind is open, the world is an interesting place.
We arrived in the evening so we checked in to our hotel, ate dinner and went to sleep. The next day was devoted to seeing Old Delhi. Old Delhi is exactly how it sounds–the older, historical part of town. We saw the Red Fort, the Jama Masjid and the Qutub Minar, plus we had a nice rickshaw excursion. Since I have thousands of pictures we’ll cover the Red Fort and Jama Masjid today with some sights here and there thrown in. More