The fort at Agra is an essential place to visit to sense the romance and magic the Taj Mahal. It is situated across the river Yamuna on the opposite bank from the Taj Mahal; it houses several palaces and is still used by the army.
Gazing across the river Yamuna from the balcony above, at his own creation and perhaps the most beautiful building in the worlds was the final fate for the Emperor Shah Jehan,
He built this amazing building in honor of his wife who died giving birth to his 14th child . Imprisoned by one of these children, he was left only to gaze at the Mausoleum he created on the park grounds where he fell in love with his princess Mumtaz. Under house arrest in this Palace he spent the last years of his life untill he died in his daughters arms, after his son had cleared the way for his own accession to the throne.
My visit to this wonder of the world was to me every thing I expected and more. The labours of 20,000 craftsmen from all over Asia over 22 years had produced something not paralleled any where in the world and really is a ‘must see before you die’ thing. The inlay of thousands of precious stones has to be seen to be believed.
This makes for an interesting journey between the Fort and the Taj Mahal, especial the old British bridge over the river Yamuna
This British built bridge over the Yamuna river. It carries an interesting array of traffic from pedestrians, tuc-tucs ox., camel, and donkey carts, fully loaded bicycles and is always choc-a-block
The sand banks in middle of this wide river are thriving with activity a perfect grazing site for water buffalo
and a plantation for melon cultivation
Further along the river Yamuna is what is known as the Baby Taj or Itimad- ud- Daula and was the first Mughal structure totally built from marble. Much of style and craftsmanship of the Yamuna can be seen here especially the floral inlay of semi precious stones . Below a local stone mason demonstrates the cutting of a piece of semi precious stone for replacing damaged stone as part of a restoration program. , Much of the restoration work is financed by the boom in tourism.
Some of the restoration work at the Baby Taj
This was a part of an overall tour of northern India called the Golden triangle. The visit takes in two other cities roughly 220 KM apart. The road journey between these cities is an adventure in itself, especial the range of transport. A few examples below.
Truck driven by a single cylinder pump engine
The ‘Power Unit’ of the many trucks seen between Agra and Jaipur
Same engine pumping irrigation water for crops
Sadly, a common site on the roads around India
Looking forward to being back in England on the 19th of March