Fatenpur Sikri, A Former Mughal Empire in India, with Zeb and Soapy Smith Duck

Fatenpur Sikri is an elaborate complex that served as capital of the Mughal Empire for only 16 years.   Emperor Akbar visited this area to consult the Sufi saint, Shaikh Salim Chishti, who predicted the birth of his heir.   When the prophecy came true, Emperor Akbar built his new capital here.   He included three palaces, one for each of his favorite wives.   One wife was a Muslim, one wife a Hindu, and one wife a Christian.   Let’s enter this complex.

Entrance to Fatehpur Sikri

After entering the gate, but before the main complex, ruins are visible.

Old ruins

Emperor Akbar reigned from this capital for only 16 years, from 1570 to 1586.   It is believed this city was abandoned shortly after Akbar’s death, due to water shortages.   The first building is Diwan i Am, the hall of public audiences.

Panorama of first building

The lawn is beautiful.  We were told and also read in our guidebook, that justice here was served quickly.   If someone did something that resulted in the death penalty, it was quick.   Elephants would trample the guilty one to death.   Sometimes, the guilty person laid down and the elephant crushed his head.   Maybe we ducks are glad we do not have elephants in our home town.   Inside Diwan i Khas, we admired great detail on the central stone column.

Such detail

We have noticed and appreciated the beautiful craftsmanship through our visit to India.   Every detail is intricate.   Wandering around the grounds, we found, or more accurately, we were found by the photographers.

Soapy’s mom holding the building

Here Soapy Smith’s mom is holding another building.   We like the photographers.   They are trying to earn a living, and we get great photos and memories of our time in India.   There are a few of this size building.

Ducks enjoying the view of individual buildings

Maybe buildings for a favorite wife?   We don’t remember everything we were told, but we admire the architecture.

Details on this door

Here is another example of much attention to detail.   Isn’t this door fabulous?   Buildings were constructed with the hot summer in mind.

Hallways built for shade in summer heat

This hall provides a cool location and much needed shade.   We like this sculpture.

Sculpture

We are not sure what it symbolizes and we cannot find information in our guide books.   Here we are, sitting on the windowsill, enjoying the shade and marveling that all these huge buildings and complexes were built without any machinery.

Enjoying cool and shade in this hall

Today, every construction site has a large variety of heavy equipment and safety equipment for the projects.   We hope you enjoyed a quick overview of Fatenpur Sikri.  This site is only 40 km (about 25 miles) west of Agra.   We enjoyed seeing this former capital of the Mughal Empire.

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Views of Agra, India, from the Bus Window

After one of our walks around Agra, India, we had a pleasant surprise when we returned to our room.   We opened our curtains and saw visitors on our window ledge.

Two friendly monkey on ledge outside our room

These two monkeys were grooming each other.   No surprise, the window has smudges on the outside.

He likes watching us?

One, the smaller monkey, left, while the larger stood up to look at us.

We ducks think he wants to come inside

Now sitting, is he asking to come in and visit with us?  Or does he know we have a Kit Kat candy bar in here?   Today our bus leaves Agra, heading for Jaipur, with a stop between.   As we go through Agra, we take some photos from the bus.   There is really no story here, just wanted you to see the variety of Agra.

Street scene of Agra

So many types of transportation.

Street of Agra

Scenes from the streets of everyday life in Agra.

Three on a motorcycle in Agra

Riding is faster and easier than walking, so three on a motorcycle is logical.

Tractor on street in Agra

Tractors are not just for the fields and farms.   When we entered Agra, from Delhi, we did see a few cows on the street, but not here.   Not today.   When mom was here in 2004, she said there were many more cows in the cities.

Building material

Much material for construction.

Horse cart

Horse can pull the cart.

Large trucks here also

Also large trucks available.   Leaving Agra, there are many open fields.

Fields outside Agra

Jesse, our guide, says wheat and mustard are main crops, but this is not the growing season. Local market for local people.

Local shopping here

Not a tourist market.

Local shopping. Not for tourists

We found these photos interesting and very different than street scenes in our city of Denver, Colorado.   We hope you saw something new here, also.

Shah Jahan Under House Arrest in Agra Fort, India

Agra Fort, across the Yamuna River originally was a military structure.   Construction began in 1565 by Emperor Akbar.   Emperor Akbar was the grandfather of Shah Jahan, the builder of the Taj Mahal.   From early construction, additions occurred, and by the time of Shah Jahan, it was a palace.   This is Amar Singh Gate, to the south of Agra Fort, and now the only entrance.

Ready to enter Amar Singh Gate to Agra Fort

This was really a city behind walls.   We tried a panorama photo of the main building.

Panorama of main building and lawn

Ornate buildings and manicured lawns.   Like most temples and old buildings, there are many monkeys.

Monkey on roof

This one on the roof was joined by some monkey friends and we were fascinated watching them run and jump across the roofs.   Our moms were happy to see a chipmunk.

Chipmunk

We have chipmunks in our Colorado mountains.   While we were watching the chipmunk, a man picked him up so we could get a photo.   Wasn’t that nice?  We walked around the complex and saw many buildings.

Wandering between buildings

Everything is so old, and much of it is still in good repair.   From Agra Fort, the view across the river shows Taj Mahal.

Taj Mahal from Agra Fort

Such a beautiful building.   Shah Jahan, adored his daughters, and they each had a room like this.

Room for daughter

These are beautiful rooms with a great view of the Yamuna River.   And another non human resident.

A bat lives here at Agra Fort

This bat seems to be at home in Agra Fort.   This guide is shining a light on the marble.

White marble with inlaid gems

The light accentuates the gems inlaid in the marble.   Great craftsmanship everywhere.   You may remember that the Taj Mahal, was built as a tomb for Shah Jahan’s favorite wife, Mumtaz. The Taj Mahal was completed in 1653.   In 1659, Shah Jahan was deposed by his son, Aurangzeb.   Aurangzeb kept his father, the former Shah, under house arrest at Agra Fort.   This is the room, in Musamman Burj, the Octagonal Tower, in Agra Fort where Shah Jahan died.

Room where Shah Jahan died

He was imprisoned here for seven years, before his death.   From his tower, he could see the Taj Mahal, built for his beloved wife, Mumtaz.

View of Taj Mahal from his prison

So close, but out of reach for him.   This lawn was the Ladies’ Bazaar.

Ladies’ Bazaar

Female merchants were allowed to come here, on market day, to sell goods to the ladies of the Mughal court.   Men were not allowed.   We really like visiting Agra Fort, and loved the views of the Taj Mahal.

Taj Mahal from Agra Fort

The Taj Mahal with a mosque on each side.   But, it was time for us to leave.   More people were passing through Amar Singh Gate, coming to visit Agra Fort.

Leaving Agra Fort. That cute little girl is watching us.

That cute little girl is watching us.   Sometimes little children try to take us home with them.   We like children, but we want to stay with our moms.  We like this little girl.   Isn’t her dress pretty?  If you go to Agra, India, please visit the Taj Mahal and also Agra Fort.   We think you will enjoy them both.

The Taj Mahal Without Zeb and Soapy

We are now in Agra, India.   Agra is famous for the Taj Mahal.   This is as far as our bus can go.

Buses cannot go closer to Taj Mahal

From here, it is either walk or ride in one of those carts.   But wait a minute.   Humans cannot take much near the Taj Mahal.   Ducks are not allowed in the Taj Mahal area.   Oh no!!   But it is OK.  Our moms said we will be able to see the Taj Mahal from other areas, including the restaurant of our hotel, Clarks Shiraz Hotel.  Zeb and Soapy Smith Duck stayed on the bus.   The humans rode in a cart.   Here is the ticket purchasing area.

Purchase tickets here

Jesse, our guide, purchased the tickets.

Prices for Taj Mahal. Foreigners and Indians pay different prices

Tickets are different prices for foreigners than they are for Indians.   That is fine.   The people that live here should be able to enjoy this beautiful building.

Enter through this building

Humans walked through this building, and this is what they saw.

Wow! Here is the Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal is symmetrical.   A mosque was constructed on one side of the Taj Mahal, so another mosque was built on the other side.   Must be symmetrical.  Jesse, our guide, had humans sit on a platform and explained a little about the Taj Mahal.   This building was commissioned by Shah Jahan to enshrine the mortal remains of his Queen Mumtaz Mahal.   This was built from love.   Isn’t that romantic.   We love that love was so strong.   She died during childbirth.   They were married 17 years.   There were other wives, but Mumtaz was the favorite.   We like this photo.

Taj Mahal through arch

This was taken from the platform the humans sat on while Jesse explained things.   Walking closer, we can see the craftsmanship of inlaid jasper in the white marble.

Marble inlaid with Jasper

This marble is from India.   In 1631 Mumtaz died and the construction of the Taj Mahal began.   The beautiful building built of love, was completed in 1653.   There is a bench in front of the Taj Mahal called the Princess Di (Diana) bench.

Soapy’s mom at Princess Diana Bench

Soapy’s mom is by the bench.   Our photographer told her how to pose.   She was not swimming in the reflecting pools.   Inside, visitors are only allowed in the center area of the main floor.   The tombs here are empty.   The real tombs are in the lower level.   Pictures of the tombs are not allowed and this structure surrounds the tombs.

Inside Taj Mahal. Empty Tombs behind this structure

Looking through, we could see two tombs.   Shah Jahan built this for his Queen Mumtaz.   Her tomb is in the center.   He wanted another smaller building across the river for his memorial.   His was to be of black marble and a bridge was to be built connecting the two memorials.   However, that did not happen.   He was disposed by his son in 1659 and upon his death, his body was placed next to Mumtaz.   While viewing the Taj Mahal, there are many photographers eager to take your photos.   Our moms hired a photographer and had fun with him.

Soapy’s mom with our photographer

Here he is with Soapy’s mom.  We won’t tell you how many photos were purchased, but our moms had a great time.   This a beautiful building and a wonderful memorial to love.   We hope you visit Agra, India to see the Taj Mahal.