Fatehpur Sikri

After 25 miles from Agra lies some very interesting sandstone buildings in the city of Fatehpur Sikri. It was capital of the Mughal empire for a time during the 1500’s. The ruler Akbar had multiple wives of different religions because of that you can see a mix of faiths in the design and architecture.
I love the integration of all the different symbols on the walls.

The central pillar of Diwan-i-khas

Panch Mahal

Diwan-i-Khas – Hall of Private Audience

“Life” designs not seen in too much Mughal architecture.

This is a bed. So high!!!

Queen’s Palace

A squirrel buddy at a nearby tree.

Jama Masjid (mosque)

Tomb of Salim Chishti

Agra

Most people visit Agra as a day trip from Delhi or as part of the golden triangle tour of (Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur). We stopped in Agra for 2 nights as part of our extended golden triangle tour. On our way we stopped at some rest stops and purchased interesting oregano cookies (above).
Lunch today was at the interesting hotel Bundelkhand Riverside with exotic toilet paper.

We helped ourselves to a buffet meal.

After another lengthy car ride we end up at the train station in Jhansi. Cows can do what ever they want in India. This cow wants to walk back and forth between the trains. No one is concerned that it will accidentally get hit or anything.

Our itinerary says first class. We look forward to relaxing in comfort for our long ride only to find that below is what first class looks like. It is crowded, dirty, and loud. The upside is that it was air conditioning, they serve you a meal, and it is relatively safe – even for female solo travelers.

We are very happy to arrive at our 4 star hotel. We had a nice meal at the hotel restaurant at the top floor. I thoroughly enjoyed my butter chicken and wine.

The hotel was pretty busy. There was a private party going on in the courtyard. It might have been a wedding or a conference.

The next morning we woke up to visit the Taj Mahal for the second time (post about it is here).
After spending some time negotiating a price for a marble plate at a  local vendor, we ended up at I’timād-ud-Daulah’s tomb or what is affectionately called the baby taj.

We ended our tour of Agra with a visit to the Agra Fort.

Taj Mahal

During my trip to India earlier this year I got to visit the Taj Mahal twice. For the first visit the company that was hosting us chartered a bus to take us. For the second visit my husband and I had a private tour.

The Great gate

Calligraphy

And there it is after crossing through the gate.

You have to wear show covers to walk inside.

Very detailed stone work.

Minaret

The mosque

Side building

Later they took us to see stone artisans in action.

And there is always an opportunity to buy.