Monday, May 28, 2012

Photos from the Adventure to Fatehpur Sikri in Agra

Right. Agra, home of the Taj Mahal. And who doesn't know about the Taj Mahal? The greatest monument to love ever built by man. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and definitely a place you can see in just one day. Given this, much of the tourists you will see in Agra are only on a very short stay. With the Indian capital Delhi just two hours away by train, some don't even spend the night. Personally, I think that's a mistake. That's because only an hour or so from Agra's city center lies an equally enchanting site: Fatehpur Sikri.

Fatehpur Sikri, Agra, India

Fatehpur Sikri, Agra, India

Fatehpur Sikri, Agra, India

While it was relatively easy to get to Fatehpur Sikri (just a one-hour rickety, rusty, open-air bus ride from Idgah bus station in Agra, nothing much), we discovered that getting back to the city was something of a moving-mountains endeavor. As this was still India, transportation can be a problem. Long story short, the last bus to the city never came. So, along with two hip, elderly Spanish ladies, and a very brave solo female German backpacker, Angelica and I walked the very dark, deserted highway from Fatehpur to the next town, accompanied by some shady local characters professing to help us. When we were finally able to flag down and hire a jeep that will take us back to the city, there were still much arguing, bargaining, and jeep-transferring that transpired. I was more than ecstatic when I finally found myself back at the guesthouse stuffing my face with lamb biryani.

Fatehpur Sikri, Agra, India

Fatehpur Sikri, Agra, India

Fatehpur Sikri, Agra, India

So barring all transportation woes, pesky tour guides (who say they won't charge you but will pester you into buying some knick-knacks from them), kids begging for your Taj Mahal tickets (who when you deny said tickets will curse cancer upon you), Fatehpur Sikri is a pleasant walk in the park. Like the Taj Mahal, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Built by the Mughal Emperor Akbar in the 16th century, Fatehpur Sikri stands today as the best preserved example of Mughal architecture in India. Fatehpur (with the big gate and the mosque) is still inhabited and very much used by locals. On the other hand, Sikri (the palace complex) has been abandoned, fenced off and maintained as a tourist attraction.

Fatehpur Sikri, Agra, India

Fatehpur Sikri, Agra, India

Fatehpur Sikri, Agra, India

I do hope you enjoyed the photos above. Nearly cost me an arm and a leg, literally, to get them. I'm exaggerating, but there you go.

*More photos of Fatehpur Sikri on my Flickr set: India: Agra.


Have you ever unwittingly found yourself in some sort of unexpected adventure just to see a tourist attraction? Where was it and what happened?


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