Agra, is a place full of history, architecture and stories of love & war. We planned to visit Agra after spending 12 days exploring Rajasthan. I mostly wanted to see Agra just for Taj Mahal but Agra fort surprised me. Its etched forever in my memory . We had no fixed itinerary and just a day to go. But I made the right decision to spend a few hours in the Agra fort before heading back to Jaipur to catch a flight back home.
The Agra fort seemed like a regular fort with red walls from outside. My first impression was “what’s so great about it?” It seemed nothing like the things I read but I dint know what was in store for me inside. As soon as I entered the Fort, I could see things that I had read in the book come alive. The huge chain which was just at the entry point was the same one the old lady had banged In order to seek justice from Emperor Jahangir for her son.
The courtyards, the gardens , Angoor Baugh which was the Mughal kings favourite place, everything was just so beautiful.
The courtyard which used to hosts bazaars for the ladies of the harem, this courtyard was then turned into a lawn by the Britisher’s. The terrace area where Mehrunissa or Nurjahan the most powerful empress of king Jahangir used to sit and play chess with soldiers doubling Up as horses,Wazirs etc.
The same terrace which was then Aurangzeb’s personal courtroom, still maintained by the authorities.
Rohanara and Jahanara’s palanquin or doli shaped rooms which was built by their father Shahjahan with a wish that his daughters get married. Jahanara’s room , the place from where he used to sit and watch the construction of Tajmahal.
The terrace from where you get spectacular views of the whole of Agra City with Tajmahal and Yamuna river in the background. The fort palace, the rooms, the courtyard etc the decor of which spelt elegance and royalty.
The Mughal story was an interesting one and I was always curious. It helped that I knew a bit of history before I visited this place because it helped me connect instantly.
The few hours that I spent at the Agra fort was my brush with history and also with the characters that had mesmerized me and made me read the The taj trilogy (my favourite of the lot being Feast of Roses ). Even before the guide could tell , I knew what I was looking at , glad that I had read all the three books from the series. This was my most memorable part of the trip. The book gave my trip a new dimension . Even if you have not read the book, go for it , I am sure the place will surprise you ..and you’ll love it.
Note: There are lots & lots of guides waiting outside to get hold of you. Make sure you take one who is govt recognised, it’s a good way of knowing the history of the place. If you don’t want a guide, you can still see the place on your own. There’s a small entry fee.