30 November 2011

The Taj Trip - Part III

After we left the Taj Mahal we headed straight for Agra Fort.

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Don’t worry, I hadn’t heard of it either.

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Huge red sandstone structures were all the rage back in the fifteen hundreds and this one was imposing and impressive!

This fort was built and occupied by Shah Jahan  (who built the Taj Mahal) and his beloved wife (who the Taj Mahal was built for) and family. But it was more than a royal residence… it also housed the military and thousands of other people. It was pretty much it’s own city back in the day, from what I understand.

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After we crossed the moat and the drawbridge (truly), we walked up this long ramp. When attacked (it happened), they’d roll big boulders down the ramp towards the enemy and pour hot water and oil down those slots you see on the walls.

Is this from the computer game Age of Empires or something?

Nope. It was real life, many many years ago.

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This was part of the royal residence. Gorgeous. The columned building on the right was Shaj Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal’s bedroom.

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The room was open air with no doors.  They say they preferred curtains over doors.

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Can’t you just see this space filled with richly colored curtains, bed coverings and pillows?

I can. My imagination filled in all the decor and it must have been beautiful if it’s anything like what I imagined.

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If you need some inspiration to picture the gorgeous Indian vibrancy of color, just look at these gorgeous ladies who were touring the same day as us.

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Here’s another pretty lady. But at this point in time she decided she was a puppy instead of a girlie.

“Vuff vuff” she said to me as she crawled up the step.

Then I smothered her in kisses, I think. Or if I didn’t, I should have, cause she’s just too darn cute.

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The kiddos had a great time exploring.

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And I’d be lying if I said we didn’t spend much of our time chasing them!

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Our tour guide shared lots of details and facts with us about this fort. I was fascinated, in case you can’t tell by this long (and probably boring-to-you) post. I could read a whole book about the place and what life was like there five hundred years ago…

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Aaaanyway. This is the part of the palace that Shaj Jahan  lived when he was in house arrest for many years at the end of his life.  His second son killed three of his brothers and locked up his father so that he could rule.

I’d say he was overcome by a bit of greed and a hunger for power. So sad.

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But the house arrest accommodations weren’t too shabby. It was gorgeous.

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The kids strained to see the rooms. He wasn’t actually barred in there back in the day, they only had it blocked off from tourists like ourselves.

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This was the view from the balcony of the house arrest-quarters. Even though his wife had died decades ago, they say Shah Jahan gazed on the Taj Mahal daily from this distance and wept.

Poor guy. He really missed her. She must have been incredible.

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We explored further, into more public areas of the fort.

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This plaza is where they’d gather to hear the Emperor speak.

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The tour concluded as we walked back down the oil/water/boulder ramp. I exited with a great curiosity about life at this fort that I never even knew existed before that day.

I like traveling. It does funny things to ya like sparking great curiosity in unknown Indian forts.

And we weren’t yet done for the day…

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