Agra via Bharatpur and Fatehpur Sikri

Fatehpur Sikri Travel Blog

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Our coffee stop, Rajasthan, India.

In India 'breakfast starts at seven' means that they will start preparing for breakfast at seven, being ready for guests at half past seven. Since we had agreed with Kimi to leave at that specific time Bart and I simply had to pull anything edible from the hands of the hotel staff and quickly eat it in the dark dining hall.

 

Today we were on the road again, more specifically highway number 11 from Jaipur to Agra (255 km).

Antelopes, Keoladeo Ghana National Park, Bharatpur, India.
At half past nine we stopped for coffee and then continued our journey over the mostly excellent highway that was lined with fields full of chimneys for brick manufacturing. At a certain point Kimi took a lay-by to show us a couple of worn down shacks were prostitutes waited for horny truck drivers. We however were here for real 'birds', since we had decided to visit the Keoladeo Ghana National Park at Bharatpur that lay along the way to Agra. This park is filled with numerous (364) species of birds in it's 29 square kms and during our quick one hour visit we saw cranes, magpies, owls, snakebirds (with snakelike necks) and more.
Cranes, Keoladeo Ghana National Park, Bharatpur, India.
We also saw many buffalo's, antelopes and a wild forest cat. 

 

Some 15 minutes from Bharatpur lay Fatehpur Sikri, Emperor Akbar's short lived capital of the Mughal Empire in the late 16th century. He built the city here because a Sufi saint had successfully foretold the birth of his son. Unfortunately the place suffered water shortages, so it was deserted after 14 years and switched for Agra.

 

After beating the hordes of fake guides and knick-knack sellers we took the shuttle bus to the gate of Fatehpur Sikri. It proved to be a nice collection of red-brown buildings, courtyards and gardens. Highlights were the five storey Panch Mahal where the court ladies had lived, the big 'board' on the Panchi Courtyard where Akbar had played the game with the same name with slave girls as pieces, the bridged Anup Taloa pool and the carved stone central column of the Diwan-I-Khas.

Snake bird, Keoladeo Ghana National Park, Bharatpur, India.

 

The interesting aspects of the big nearby Jama Masjid mosque were the huge 54 meter high entrance (Buland Darwaza or 'Victory Gate') and the white marble Tomb of Salim Christi, the Sufi that had foretold the birth of Akbar's son. We didn't find the people hanging out in the mosque very pleasant, so we didn't linger long and made our way back to the parking lot by tuk tuk, joining Kimi at half past two for the last thirty-something kms to Agra.

 

Arriving at Agra well after three o'clock we first had a late lunch in a restaurant suggested by Kimi.

Wild forest cat, Keoladeo Ghana National Park, Bharatpur, India.
He joined us for a beer because he would leave us later today, having to return to Delhi to pick up other customers. The owner of the restaurant would drop us at the Tundla train station tomorrow evening. This guy, Bobby, immediately offered to pick us up at six the next day so we could have dinner at his restaurant before he brought us to the train. I would have none of that. I could live with Kimi taking us to this joint once, but no multiple commission scams. Food was excellent though and after Kimi dropped us at the hotel we gave him a personal letter with tip and said goodbye after taking one last photo with the three of us.

 

Across the street of our hotel lay a luxurious shopping mall, which we decided to check out. The movie that we had planned to see in Jaipur was running in the cinema in the mall as well, so we decided to have a relaxed evening with a Bollywood movie, buying tickets for the 6:45 PM show of 'Rab ni bana di Jodi'. It wasn't as crowded as at the later 10 o' clock show, but we did have extremely comfy VIP chairs that you could completely flatten for a relaxed watch (or nap).

Diwan-e-khas, Fathepur Sikri, India.
The movie itself was - like Sing is Kinng - good fun. It told the story of a girl who had to marry a rather nerdy guy that then tried to win her heart by pretending to be her macho dancing partner. In the almost three hours there were lots of jokes and song and dance and you don't really miss the subtitles because it's so damn obvious what is going on in these superficial films. We had great fun though.

 

Back in the hotel, after checking e-mail and uploading the blog, it was high time to celebrate Christmas Eve. We had decorated the room's fan with special Christmas toilet paper I'd brought from home and I gave Bart his present: a TravBuddy Christmas hat and T-shirt with our 'India 2008 tour schedule’ on the back.

Something less entertaining was the fact that by now I had developed serious diarrhoea. Seemingly eating veggie food isn't enough ... Fortunately it felt controllable, so fingers crossed that it will disappear soon.

Usquert says:
When in Agra, go check out the Red Fort; so much better than the one in Delhi!
Posted on: Dec 25, 2008
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Our coffee stop, Rajasthan, India.
Our coffee stop, Rajasthan, India.
Antelopes, Keoladeo Ghana National…
Antelopes, Keoladeo Ghana Nationa…
Cranes, Keoladeo Ghana National Pa…
Cranes, Keoladeo Ghana National P…
Snake bird, Keoladeo Ghana Nationa…
Snake bird, Keoladeo Ghana Nation…
Wild forest cat, Keoladeo Ghana Na…
Wild forest cat, Keoladeo Ghana N…
Diwan-e-khas, Fathepur Sikri, Indi…
Diwan-e-khas, Fathepur Sikri, Ind…
Central pillar Diwan-e-khas, Fathe…
Central pillar Diwan-e-khas, Fath…
Panch Mahal, Fathepur Sikri, India.
Panch Mahal, Fathepur Sikri, India.
Anup Taola, Fathepur Sikri, India.
Anup Taola, Fathepur Sikri, India.
Buland Darwaza at Jama Masjid, Fat…
Buland Darwaza at Jama Masjid, Fa…
Buland Darwaza at Jama Masjid, Fat…
Buland Darwaza at Jama Masjid, Fa…
Tombs at Jama Masjid, Fathepur Sik…
Tombs at Jama Masjid, Fathepur Si…
Bart, Kimi and Ed.
Bart, Kimi and Ed.
Christmas toiletpaper!
Christmas toiletpaper!
Movie time !
Movie time !
Fatehpur Sikri
photo by: joseph98