Monday, March 21, 2011

India 2011 - Day 9 - Fatehpur Sikri and Indian Traffic

Bye-bye Kalakho. The day at the Dera Village Retreat was a welcomed relaxing day. Now we are on our way towards Agra. Since we are traveling in a full-size bus and are only 24 in this group (plus driver, driver's helper and the tour guide), everybody has a good seat. It is fascinating to look out of the window. Of course there is the desire to capture the impressions of daily life. Doing it from the moving bus is most of the time the only option. So, unfortunately, the quality is often not so good. But I am satisfied that it helps me remember.

Love those red carrots. Why don't we have red ones?

"Refreshing" stop at a hotel on the wayside. This elephant has a welcome garland. Isn't he cute?
We have arrived. In the parking lot (under construction) of Fatehpur Sikri a barber doing his work.

We disembark from our bus, walk a while (passing souvenir shopping opportunities) and then take a special bus to take us to the entry gate.
We arrive at Fatehpur Sikri, the elegant late 16th-century city of red sandstone built by the Emperor Akbar in a mixture of Hindu and Muslim styles, reflecting his desire to unify the two cultures. Built atop a rocky ridge, the city covered a circumference of seven miles and was surrounded by massive walls. Upon completion Fatehpur Sikri rivaled London both in its population and its riches, yet the city was abandoned a mere 15 years later. It is believed that lack of fresh water doomed its survival.
Today the city remains largely intact, though uninhabited, an outstanding example of Mughal architecture and a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Built in 1571, you just have to admire this huge complex with private and public areas.
Diwan-i-Khas might have been a debating chamber.
Panch Mahal, a five-storeyed open sandstone pavilion, overlooks the Pachisi Court, where Akbar's queens savoured the cool evening breezes. Its decorative screens were probably stolen after the city was abandoned.

Pillar in the Diwan-i-Khas, the central axis of Akbar's court, supported by carved brackets, was inspired by Gujarat buildings.

The Pachisi Court is named after a ludo-like game played here by the ladies of the harem.

Anoop Talao or pool is associated with Akbar's legendary court musician Tansen who, it is said, could light oil lamps with the magic of his voice.

More pictures out of the bus window. 
 Ah, the spices. I can smell them just thinking of it.

And the veggies always looked so fresh. We should be so lucky finding them so fresh in our supermarkets.

 See that big hole there? A ditch for sewage! Is nobody afraid of falling in?
Ah, yes, the traffic. Of course in India the "official" side of the road to drive on is LEFT. But it doesn't seem to matter too much. And traffic lights, if they work, only seem to be suggestions. Everybody just finds their way with patience and a lot of honking which seems to be encouraged. Trucks have it written on the back and if you do, they let you pass. In all this time we only saw one fender-bender and one truck in the ditch.
Rickshaws and Tuk-tuks (the green and yellow) are the official form of transportation for the locals instead of taxis.

A tuk-tuk. This one is almost empty. We have seen them stuffed full of people as if they want to break a Guinness record.

Regrettably we had never a chance to try one.

1 comment:

  1. I think that traffic would do me in. The older I get, the more I hate crowds and fuss!