Today we visited the Agra Fort, built by Akbar, the Murgal emperor who built Fatehur Sikri. Similarly to Amer Fort, it is both palace and fort, with part of the fort still being used by the Indian army.
Our guide paints a vivid picture of life in the palace during its heyday. Gardens, orchards, curtains, and women dressed in brightly coloured sarees. There is a marble room that once included perfumed water being pumped through to cool the air. During the reign of Akbar’s grandson, Shah Jahan (who built the Taj Mahal) the site took on its current style to include white marble like the Taj Mahal (Shah Jahan’s style) with the red sandstone like Fatehpur Sikri (Akbar’s style). Shah Jahan was later incarcerated by his power-hungry son, Aurangzeb, in a tower in the fort with a view of the Taj Mahal, the mausoleum of his wife. Was this compassionate of Aurangzeb, or torturous?
The palace had once housed the peacock throne which included, as an eye to the peacock, the famous Koh-i-Noor diamond, which is now set in the Queen Mother’s crown and is part of the Crown Jewels in the Tower of London. Which raises the question, should it be returned?
My trip is drawing to a close. Part of the group is continuing on to Kathmandu in Nepal and the American couple are off to Thailand and Cambodia to continue their year of travelling. I’m quite jealous! But I’m also keen to get to civilisation. I’m hoping I’ll find some in Australia! Just kidding, but I do want a wider selection of food, and not have this constant threat of a dodgy bottom end.
The roads are blocked for some unknown reason, but we eventually make it back. One more night in Delhi, and we have a curry at Spicy by Nature, then I fly to Sydney for Christmas with family and friends.