So we left Aggra, headed in a westerly direction, onward towards Rajasthan. A transit day for sure but one filled with much to see. Within only an hour or so of leaving Aggra we rolled up at Fatehpur Sikri the great palace city built by Akbar in 1571. The Royal palace was built here as a result of the famous Sufi saint Salim Chishti who had bestowed good news upon Akbar some years earlier. The palace only lasted as the capital for 14 years and was left deserted and ghost like for centuries thereafter.
We woke before sunrise and did not partake of breakfast such was our wont to reach our destination. And what a destination it was! For many this was ‘the reason‘ for travelling to India, for others it was ‘the photo opportunity of a lifetime’ not to be missed. I felt myself already beginning to regret those extra ‘Kingfisher’ beers consumed on the hotel rooftop terrace the night before. Sensible people had hit the sack well before 10.00 pm, but not myself and my (not-so-sensible-either), brother-in-law, no we knew better, we needed beer and plenty of it. Now deeply regretting the previous nights stupidity I stood swaying gently from side to side in a queue beneath the early light of morning, waiting for the great gates to open to let us in to the gardens of the Taj Mahal. Continue reading “A tale of two Taj’s … 31/03/2010”
It helps in India to know your Aibaks from your Akbars. Without this fundamental knowledge you enter into a world of confusing names and dynasties that all sound similar to western ears. The reason I mention this is because I spent the best part of an hour looking in wonderment and exploring intently around a World Unesco Monument which I thought was built by the Mughal ruler ‘Akbar the Great’ only to then find out that I was several centuries and many dynasties out in my historical assessment. Continue reading “Lets start with the A’s … 30/03/2010”
‘Asia is not going to be civilized after the methods of the West. There is too much Asia and she is too old.’ – Rudyard Kipling
After arriving in Delhi via Mumbai in the early hours of the morning the first voice we heard had a brummie accent asking ‘have you arrived on the Lufthansa flight mate?’ Confused by the fact that someone who looked like a local taxi driver was in fact an expat from the midlands we continued to stumble along the broken tarmac to a waiting coach. This encounter I would later realise was typical of the paradoxes that India throws at you, nothing is as it first seems. Continue reading “Mumbai calling! … 29/03/2010”