Day 6: Fatehpur Sikri
Agra Travel Blog› entry 7 of 11 › view all entries
As always I was the first to wake up and after taking a shower with warm water for the first time, I waited for Edo and Casper to get ready and watched the street outside our hotel. In a small garden across the street there were some people preparing seats and decorations. The traffic on the street still looked chaotic from where I was sitting and when I opened the window, the sound of continuous horns came in along with the heat. At breakfast the buffet was a lot more diverse than the toast and egg that we had had each day in Delhi. We finished our breakfast quickly, because we wanted to get inside the hotel swimming pool as soon as possible. The pool in Agra had been something we all had been looking forward to in our first extremely hot week in Delhi.
The air in Agra is a little bit clearer than the air in Delhi (although Agra is still a city with about 5 million people in it), so we had to use a lot of sunscreen again. The water was very refreshing and we jumped in a few times, while the rest of our group joined us. Erik told us about a dream he had had that night about the pool. In his dream we had made a pyramid with people and when he told us about this, it seemed to be a good idea, so we tried to do it. After a lot of failed attempts, we finally succeeded in building a pyramid with 6 people in the base and two people on top of them, after which Tim climbed to the top of them. My job was to provide the connection between the base and the top, so Tim could use my back to get on top.
After this we all were tired, so we spent the rest of the morning in the sun or playing by the pool.
A local guide joined us to show us Fatehpur Sikri, which was deserted after a couple of years in the 16th century because of a shortage of drinking water. This was the first time we experienced the Indian sun without the protection of the smog of big cities, so everyone took more than enough drinking water and used some more sunscreen. The complex consisted of several palaces and houses, which were all beautifully decorated in a style which mixed hindu, muslim and christian architecture. The guide told us that Akbar had had 3 official wives and about 40 girlfriends. He had been very interested in the aspects of different religions (he even founded his own religion to ease the tensions between the different faiths in his empire) and therefore he took a hindu wife, a muslim wife and a christian wife.
The mosque was an important sight for tourists, so there were a lot of tourist walking around and the road towards the mosque was filled with traders and beggars. As I walked towards the mosque I negotiated with a man about the price of a gift for my mother and when we arrived at the gate, I got it with some cards of Agra for only 150 rupis. I gave my shoes to a muslim outside the mosque complex and when I walked inside, a little boy with a baseball cap started following me and told me things about the the mosque. At first I tried to tell him that we had our own guide, but he continued to follow me and eventually I began to like him, so I let him guide me around the complex.
In the bus everybody was relieved to be free from their guides and the traders outside. Some had bought the same statue of Ganesh as I had bought for my mother, but I had paid the lowest price of our bus. On our way back I was sitting besides Singh and he asked me if he could listen to my mp3-player. He liked the dutch songs of Rowwen Heze and Guus Meeuwis on my mp3-player, but he didn't really like 'vlieg met me mee naar de regenboog'. At the hotel we immediately changed our clothes and jumped in the pool again. We talked a bit, but when the temperature dropped below 35 degrees we got out of the water and I walked outside to an internet cafe with Edo and Casper to write an email before dinner.
We went to eat at a restaurant that looked Italian, but inside we were the only guests and there was no beer at first. After a while the waiter arrived at our table again to say that they did have beer now, but that one of them was not yet cold. On our way back we bought a few bottles of beer at a local liquor store and had to visit some other stores, before our bike-rickshawdriver was satisfied and he dropped us of at our hotel.
Everybody was sitting inside the garden or eating something, while they were waiting for the bride and groom to arrive. We were introduced to a lot of members of the family and we made some pictures with our new friends. While we were talking about the differences between Indian and Dutch weddings and what we had been doing for the past week, more and more people were listening to us, untill almost everybody was sitting around us. At one point everybody started laughing and Erik told me that they had said that I looked like Harry Potter, who turned out to be very popular in India. We were offered to eat with them and then the marriage couple arrived. While the ceremony was being performed, I was standing besides a friend of the groom and he explained to me what was happening.