|The Agra Fort|
Blog Entry #32: India! Agra: Fatehpur Sikri and the Agra Fort
Wednesday, October 13, 2011
On to Agra! Forming a stark contrast to the gleaming Indira Gandhi airport is the Delhi Train Station, where one instantly is immersed in a cross section of Indian society traveling on the extensive train network. Our early morning destination was Agra – 200 km to the southeast along the Yamuna River valley, capital of the Mughal emperor Babur, and home to the Taj Mahal.
|Along the tracks in Delhi|
|Rice fields along the track from Delhi to Agra|
Moving through Delhi in the early morning light and watching the sun rise over fields and villages provided an unforgettable sight: tenements and pockets of squalor among the slice of India’s poor who live adjacent to the tracks contrasted with fields of lentils, maize, wheat, and vegetables.
One out of four of the world’s poorest one billion people live in India, and one is confronted with their presence everywhere as you traverse both city and countryside. But equally present is India’s dynamism, from the rapidly growing corporate sector in the cities that is fueling India’s 8% annual economic growth, to the timeless energies of its villages and rural areas. And the color! Indians seem to revel in bright colors, from women’s clothing both traditional and modern, to buildings and billboards.
We arrived in Agra by 8 am and proceeded to the lovely Gateway Hotel for breakfast. One of the challenging experiences of our time in the north was the constant juxtaposition of our lodgings and meals in luxurious hotels and restaurants with the conditions of the people we encountered in each place we visited: one simply can’t escape the enormously privileged global position we hold as citizens of the United States. Yet everywhere we experienced India’s incredible hospitality and warmth.
|Palace at Fatehpur Sikri|
|Interior of Fatehpur Sikri|
|Lattice work Fatehpur Sikri|
|Interior Buttresses, Palace at Fatehpur Sikri|
|Detail of Ceiling in Palace, Fatehpur Sikri|
|Entrance to the Agra Fort|
|Entrance, Agra Fort|
|White Marble Palace, Agra Fort|
|First View of Taj Mahal from Agra Fort|
Ironically Shah Jahan spent his final years as a prisoner to his son, the emperor Aurangzeb, who killed his brothers and imprisoned his father to consolidate his power.
|Getting Picture with the Taj Mahal|