Magnificent Moghul monuments
Agra Travel Blog› entry 19 of 23 › view all entries
We took the train, air-con coach class, from Jaipur to Agra. It was only 40 minutes late on a 4 hour journey. Agra Fort station provided the usual station bustle, with everyone aiming for the narrow exit and causing a people/luggage jam. We had a car waiting and went straight to our hotel which saved a lot of aggravation from autorickshaw and taxi touts.
Agra is filthy. Not so much in terms of littered streets, as it's pretty clean and cow-free round the main tourist sights - but the smoggy, foggy, industrial, traffic haze that lingers on the lips and in the lungs, and mocks the many "Clean Agra, Green Agra" signs. It has some amazing buildings, though, and not just the Taj.
But not only Shah Jahan had good taste. Other Moghul rulers in Agra did too. The Itimad ud Daulah, a nobleman's tomb, built by his daughter, Nur Jahan, who was queen to Jahangir, is a marble marvel, just exquisite. Agra Fort, started by Akbar in 1565, and surrounded by a massive sandstone wall, contains elegant gateways, gardens, halls and mosques. Ten km out of town at Sikandra, there is Akbar's tomb. It's all red sandstone with beautiful marble inlays of different colours.
On the way back, we passed St John's College (founded 1850), a huge sandstone Moghul/Brit style building with lots of tidily uniformed boys on the verandahs. Outside it, a large herd of water buffalo wandered by. Then the rickshaw driver overtook a scooter with a pillion passenger. Two middle aged barrister type lawyers rode through the traffic in their striped trousers, black jackets and starched collars and bibs (no wigs - or no crash helmets either!)
Oh, and Hil did have her photo taken on "Diana's bench" - we made it before the crowds.