We made the most of our last 12 hours in Agra today by going out to visit the fort Akbar (the most powerful and influential Mughal ruler) originally built to govern this area in Fatepur Sikri, an hour’s bus ride away. He moved his capital and built another fort in Agra after only 12 years when the water ran out at Fatepur or something along those lines. It turned out to be worth a look with some amazing architecture.
Akbar had three wives, for instance; one Christian, one Muslim and one Hindu. He built each their own elaborate house and place of worship within the fort and throughout the amazing carving on the walls there are symbols and motifs from all the religions that were in India at the time. This period of active religious tolerance seems amazing today and it didn’t last very long at the time. In some of the carvings you can see where one of his successors Aurangzeb has chiseled out the heads of the Hindu animal symbols.
We experienced more hassle here than we have at any other tourist attraction, it was pretty phenomenal! I think Dana is writing something about it… The poverty and filth in the town around the fort was some of the worst I think we’ve seen and probably the cause of the desperation of the salesman and con artists around the site.
This afternoon we caught the bus back and had a look at Akbar’s tomb on the outskirts of Agra, an equally amazing sight and a good opportunity to have a rest. Now it’s just left to jump on our train tonight at nine and hopefully get a good night’s sleep. We’re both looking forward to a bit of a break from sight-seeing and arriving somewhere where we can wander about without so much hassle. And without relying on auto-rickshaws. It’s tiring stuff!
Hopefully our photos tell a bit more of our travel story than my tired babbling about Indian history. After almost three weeks in India I still don’t feel like I’ve got a handle on the place today, the scale of it all is still too big. It’s easy to feel like a cork in the human current when there are a billion people about, certainly a new perspective on life when coming from Australia. It’s like you can see a whole life at once here: everywhere you look there are young children on the street, but in the same frame there will be an old man on his way out. Everyone on the street is moving constantly but all in different directions. Crazy stuff!
more when I’ve had a sleep!