After the amazing experience of the Taj Mahal our little tour group headed over to Agra Fort. It is only a couple of kilometres away, but with traffic it took about a half hour to get there. The red sandstone was simply striking. I was already going ‘oh – wow’ before the bus had even stopped. I was so naive about India. I have always wanted to visit but I had never realised how much MORE there was to the country than just the Taj Mahal and the poverty. There is such an abundance of history in this country that we foreigners never hear about amidst all the negatives. And look at how beautiful it is!
Across a moat, inside the towering red walls, and through two gates we emerged into what I would actually describe more as a sequence of palaces than a military establishment.
Each palace was a piece of art in itself. Interestingly it reflects three different styles – Hindu, Muslim and Jewish. They all become subtly obvious in the intricate designs in various parts of the palaces if you take the time to look. The fort was surrounded by a narrow band of jungle which was also home to a number of monkeys and bright green parrots. Monkeys were prevalent throughout the ruins, but never close enough to touch (not that I think you would want to) and rarely long enough to get a photo.
On top of the amazing architecture and the insight into the ancient life on monarchy in India, Agra Fort has a pretty amazing view…
Yep… pretty amazing. Even from afar the Taj Mahal was stunning.
Upon leaving the fort we had to run the gauntlet of hawkers outside the gate. As soon as we set foot outside we were being harassed with books, jewelry, marble elephants, and other odd trinkets. They were asking highly inflated prices that drastically went down the further we walked. One book on the Taj Mahal – initially asking 600 Rupee was only 50 Rupee by the time we reached our little tour minibus. So eager were the hawkers, they all but invaded our little bus!
In hindsight, I probably would have brought some of their wares, given how cheap they came down in price. At the time we were mislead somewhat by the tour guide who said the prices weren’t that cheap compared to a Bazaar we ended our day at. This in fact was not the truth – the Bazaar was 100 times more expensive. However if I do buy from the hawkers, I will do so close to the car/bus so there is a bit of ‘security around’. Something to consider the next time we visit!