Saturday, March 21, 2009



Agra, at 171 metres on the banks of the Yamuna River, was mentioned in the epic Mahabharata when it was called Agrabana, or Paradise. Ruled by Sikandar Lodi in the year 1506, it achieved fame as the capital of the Mughal emperors from 1526 to 1658 and keeps many magnificent monuments of the Mughal-era, including the Taj Mahal, the Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri, all three listed in the UNESCO's World Heritage Site List.

"THE AGRA FORT, a walled palatial city also known as Lal Qila, is the most important fort in India, having been the residence of the great Mughals Babur, Humayun, Akbar, Jehangir, Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb, who governed the country from here"

"WALLS - Originally a brick fort, Akbar had it rebuilt with bricks in the inner core and sandstone on external surfaces"

"AMAR SINGH GATE, also known as the Lahore Gate, was originally known as «Akbar Darwaza» and was reserved for the emperor. Shah Jahan renamed it after Rao Amar Singh of Jodhpur, who, according to the legend, slew Salabat Khan, the chief treasurer of Shah Jahan, in front of the emperor and leapt with his horse over the high walls. The horse died and Amar was arrested and put to death. However, his courage won the admiration of the emperor and the gate was renamed in his honour"

"JAHANGIRI MAHAL, the principal palace for women, used mainly by the Rajput wives of Akbar, is the most noteworthy building inside the Fort. Built in red sandstone between 1565 and 1569, it has an impressive façade facing an open court to the west, an arched portal, a series of ornamental arches and an octagonal tower on its either side. The eastern verandas have a beautiful view towards the river and the Taj Mahal"

"GEM MOSQUE - The «Nagina Masjid», built between 1631-40, is made up of pure white marble and was meant for the personal use of the emperor"

KHAS MAHAL - Built by Shah Jahan between 1631 and 1640 for his two favourite daughters, it has a beautiful tank in front with fountains, white marble pavilions and open courts"

"DIWAN-I-AAM - The Hall of Public Audience was the result of Shah Jahan's love for marble. Constructed between 1631 and 1640, the assembly hall has an arcade façade with nine arches and the hall is divided into three aisles. Though constructed in red sandstone, it had been plastered with white shell plaster to resemble white marble"

"JOHN RUSSEL COLVIN, lieutenant-governor of the North-West Provinces of British India during the mutiny of 1857, died of cholera during the peak of the Indian Rebellion of 1857. His body could not be carried out of the Agra Fort..."

"MUSAMMAN BURJ - The Octagonal Tower seems to have been built by Shah Jahan as a marble tower inlaid with precious stones for his beloved queen Mumtaz Mahal. It served also as his residence for the last years of his live, since his son Aurungzeb imprisoned him till his death. It offers exotic views of the Taj Mahal. The most ornate building of the entire fort is the small pavilion known as Shah Burj"



"FINALLY - The Taj Mahal is coming closer..."


Anonymous said...

Hi Folks! The Agra Fort is the most important of the forts of theMughal period, as it was home to most of the important emperors! It also has the advantage of having a nice view to the most wonderful building we have seen on this tour and surely one of the most beautiful experiences one may have around the world. But that will come next... Meanwhile, enjoy this!!! ;))

Jurgen Huibers said...

This fort still looks great after such a long time. But I can't wait to see your photos of the Taj Mahal. It's one of my favorite buildings in the world.

Venksh said...

Gil wow really awesome picture's.. see people cant wait for Taj Mahal... lol.. its every Indian's favorite building... at last the Taj post is coming closer... iam happy for the Taj but as u said that Indian tour coming to end feels sad abt that...

So wats after India,

Carin said...

Oh how wonderful to be able to see such delightful, interesting places!

Enjoy it!

alok said...

Wonderful pictures! and thank you so much for taking us for a ride to this amazingly beautful place through these pictures.

You have a nice weekend :)

alicesg said...

Wow there are so many beautiful buildings that are comes with such lovely designs. OMG, I think I have to take loads of memory You must have taken more than a thousand photos. Your blog is like a virtual tour to me. Have a nice weekend trotter.

Daniel Chérouvrier said...

C'était bien avant la "crise".
Que de richesses et de beauté !

Thérèse said...

A full lesson in architecture!
A certain beauty for sure but not built for people's everyday's life...

A Lady's Life said...

Great pics. What camera did you use?
This is an artists dream.
The King of Siams Palace is beautiful in Thailand where they filmed The King and I but I had a movie camera and both times the Camera failed I think it did not want to be filmed. lol

Baron's Life said...

Well done again...Do you know why they have 3 Stars of David on the building: MUSAMMAN BURJ
Would be interesting to find out.

Dick said...

Great views, I have never seen the Taj Mahal, only pictures, for me it's one of the most beautiful buildings on Earth.

Anonymous said...

Amazing pictures.
@Dick: Yes, indeed it is one of the seven wonders of the world.

Dina said...

I don't know which is more incredible and impressive, the history or the buildings.
When you travel, does your head ever get overloaded by these marvelous sites and so many of them?

Catherine said...

I was here 25 years ago so thanks for the reminder with this wonderful set of shots...

Voegtli said...

Beautiful photos again. And I like in particular the sights of Taj Mahal from far. I am anxiously waiting for the pictures to come. I know they will be extraordinary.

Rhonda Hartis Smith said...

I have to admit that I didn't know a lot about India but there are so many beautiful sites there--these are so gorgeous, I can't wait for the Taj Mahal. . .

Jen Laceda | Milk Guides said...

Stunning! You are really convincing me to take a trip to India. Maybe in the next year or so...

Azer Mantessa said...


technology, art, architecture, ambition, power, finance, culture, labour ...

here i am in the front seat and i am like ... whoaaaaaa

eye in the sky said...

Agra Fort in all its splendor... wow~! i swear am going back again later this year! Your photos keep convincing me to do so... over and over again! ;->

Ron said...

Awesome pictures yet again. Just when I think India can't get better, you show more beautiful pics. I am dying to see the Taj Mahal.

Cutie said...

I can't wait to read about your Taj Mahal. Btw, your wife is very lucky as she is able to travel round the world with you. =)

hitch writer said...

Those pics are somethign different... lovely angles and lovely work !!!

astounding... most of the places i think i have seen but your photo's make them look much more beautiful than what they actually are !!!

wonderful pics !!

Wendy said...

I love the view of the Taj from Agra Fort.

Joy said...

What an adorable monkey! All the lush is captivating.

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Femin Susan said...

wonderful pictures and nice shot. Thanks for sharing.. Really wonderful place.

Shionge said...

Will the monkeys harrassed the tourists? Some are very bold and tend to snap food from us.

I saw a bit of haze there, still some nice shots once again.

Light and Voices said...

It is finally Spring! Such wonderful photographs. I look forward to your travel post.

lyliane six said...

Toujours aussi beau les constructions et les décorations.Ces briques rouges et ce marbre blanc,superbes.
Je n'aurai pas besoin d'un "guide" pour aller là bas, je vais imprimer tes explications, elles sont très claires.

Unknown said...

Hi Gil, I am so looking forward to see Taj Mahal..dying to go there one day. I dont think anyone will ever tire of seeing India, it's one surprise after another and it promises lots of colourful and exciting shots. Thanks for taking us along Gil, I am living India via you. The buildings are magnificent. Have a great week Gil :D

Rakesh Vanamali said...

Magnificent pictures....very well portrayed! I hope you enjoyed your trip! And also hope you are travelling down South!

hpy said...

Will anyone ever be able to build something like that again?

Anonymous said...

Very impressing. And now I'm looking forward to the Taj Mahal. of course.

Anonymous said...

More enjoyable photos of a fascinating place and period. I look forward to the Taj Mahal photos.


alice said...

Love all your photos but this last one with the Taj Mahal in the distant...wonderful. I can't wait for the shots that come!

PeterParis said...

Don't worry, we ARE enjoying... meanwhile! Really enjoying! :-)

raccoonlover1963/Lisa Myers said...

Hi Gil
Sorry so long between visits!
I love the architecture in these buildings. Beautiful!
Take care and have a great week.

bindu said...

SO beautiful! I could sit and stare at most Indian monuments for ever. There is incredible architecture in the south of India too, of a completely different style.

lyliane six said...

Hier je suis allée voir le film, slumdog millionnaire, qui se passe en Inde, j'ai pensé à vous et à moi qui verra bientôt toutes ces merveilles, mais aussi cette pauvre vie dans les bidonvilles.

[G@ttoGiallo] said...

Watching, reading and dreaming...
Fantastic places.

Indrani said...

Taj Mahal is getting closer?
I am impatient. :)

Ash said...

I remember visiting the Agra Fort in 2003 :-)

Lovely images. My fave is the two of you with the Taj in the background!

Baron's Life said...

OK I'm going to say it again... unless you ca prove it otherwise to me...there is no way in hell youtook these photographs yourself...

indicaspecies said...

Fabulous pictures of an admirable monument. Thanks Gil.:)

[G@ttoGiallo] said...

... and whilst waiting for my blue sea, you're driving me crazy with your globetrotting pics !
I tell you : stay at home and forward your tickets to G@ttoGiallo !!!

Mark @ TravelWonders said...

Aaaahhh, the only OTHER sight worth visiting in Agra.

Trotter said...

Hi everybody! Thanks for your comments! Hope you had a great week and wish you an awesome weekend, though with one hour less for those who live in European Summer Saving Time countries… ;))

The Agra Fort is actually in good shape and deservedly so, as it is the most important of the Mughal forts! My Taj pictures are already there for you to enjoy!!

It’s also sad for me that the India series is coming to its end; furthermore, because I couldn’t repeat the experience last February as I planned… But one day I’ll get back there and see at least the rest of Rajasthan, Mumbai and Goa… ;))
My Taj is there for you to enjoy! After India you’ll have Brasilia!!

This was in February 2008; but remembering is somehow re-living… ;)

You’re welcome! My pleasure…

Alice SG,
Actually, 2x2 Giga cards… surely more than a thousand pictures taken and almost four hundred of those posted… ;)

Il n’y avait pas de crise pour les empereurs, ce temps-là… ;))

Actually it was built as a tomb for a beloved; people could enjoy from the distance, those who survived the construction… ;)) But it’s extraordinary from any point of view… ;))

I used a normal Canon G9! The palace in Bangkok is also awesome; I’ve some pictures at my ReRevival 90s blog! But the Taj is incomparable!!

This is what I found in the Net on the Star of David on Mughal monuments:
"1. It is actually a Hindu symbol that consecrates the union between the Shiva (male) aspect with the Shakti (female) aspect that makes up a whole. The star is made of two triangles that intersect, one triangle denoting the Shiva part and the other, the Shakti part. And that Indo-Saracenic buildings drew elements from Hindu and Islamic architecture with minarets, Gothic arches and domes
(2.) it is a Mandala symbol found on ancient Indian temples built thousands of years ago, and symbolizes the Nara-Narayana, or perfect meditative state of balance achieved between Man and God
(3.) this particular representation is purely a Persian import (Babar claimed to be a descendant of Timurlane), both David and Solomon are mentioned in the Qu'ran, and the symbol originated well before Judaism".
Hope it helps you to understand the reason why the stars are there...

Fully agree with you. It’s definitely one of the wonder buildings of this world!

Glad that you liked! It was chosen as one of the New 7 Wonders of the World on 07.07.07, in Lisbon, Portugal... ;))

Many years ago I prepared all my trips in advance, in such a way that I could call my trips as «recognition» trips rather than «discovery» trips... Now I don’t have that much time and so surprise is more frequent... ;))

You were lucky to get there so young; much more time to re-discover... ;))

The first one is a nice view to the Taj, though the river looked a bit dry... The last one gets a garden in the middle and looks better! Anyhow, it’s an amazing building and I can imagine the arrested (by his own son) emperor looking at the tomb of his beloved in the distance...
Meanwhile my Taj is already available!

India is a huge country with incredible things to see; for some reason they are advertising Incredible India on TV... ;))

It took me many years to get there for the first time, but I tell you that after the experience it’s hard not to come back...

My pleasure to see you there; in the front row... ;))

Lucky you that are close enough to get there easily... ;) I would love to get back, but unfortunately time is at premium here and it’s not that easy to get some days off... ;)

It’s actually Incredible India! My Taj is already available!! Enjoy!

I knew the Taj would be the highlight of this trip, that’s why I left it almost to the end of the posts... I always wonder why do people think it’s luck to travel around... )) It’s a question of choice: you travel, you don’t buy Ferraris... ;))

Hitch Writer,
It’s amazing! I think that seeing things with someone else’s lenses always bring some surprise to what we thought we knew quite well... ;))

That’s some view; but I’m afraid the view from the Oberoi Hotel is even better; unfortunately it was fully booked. Next time!! ;))

From everything around, you choose the monkey! Unique!! ;))

The Forts in India are absolutely stunning, and the Agra Fort was the most important of the forts of the Mughal Emperors; no wonder it’s a gem!!

Provided that you don’t play or provoke them, I think the monkeys stay quiet around... At least I haven’t seen any weird behaviour of the ones around... ;))

It’s spring, but these pictures were taken in February 2008, winter time in India... Fortunately... ;))

C’est quand même mieux d’avoir un guide local... Celui que j’ai eu à Agra n’était pas grand-chose et voulait toujours nous conduire au shopping ; par contre celui de Jaipur était un connaisseur et a changé le programme à notre demande : au lieu du shopping, le Fort Nahargarh… ;))
Ah, tu as vu le Slumdog. Moi aussi; je crois que c’est un très bon film…Maintenant je suis en train de lire «Le Tigre Blanc». Intéressant aussi…

You’re not that far away! I’m sure you’re going to make it… Meanwhile I’m so impressed with your Angkor; I would love to pack and fly there… ;))

The trip was excellent! The problem was only that it was also short; and it was in February 2008. So, I had no chance to get to the South of India; maybe one day… surely one day… ;)

That’s an interesting discussion. I always believe that what we are building today (at least some of what is built today) is the equivalent of some of those marvels that were built hundreds of years ago, but many disagree… ;))

It’s already posted, waiting for your visit!! ;))

So, everybody is looking forward to the Taj. It’s posted!!

OK! My Taj it’s there for you to see. Enjoy!

You’re simply too kind; and a patient visitor… ;)

You’re welcome back! Love to read you here!

The South of India will have to wait for another time… I’m sure there are some marvels there also, but I would prefer to see the rest of Rajasthan before venturing in Mumbai, Goa and the South… ;))

Welcome here! Great to read you for the first time…
It’s hard to stay home when there is so much to see outside… ;)). But I’ll wait the time needed to see your Côte d’Azur… ;))

My Taj is already there for you!!

I wonder whether there were any improvements since 2003… It looks in great shape!

You’re certainly someone with a great sense of humour… and too lucky to find someone with an even greater one… LOL!!

Thanks for your help in preparing this trip!! Part of the success is owed to your tips!!

Anyhow, a city with the Agra Fort and the Taj is probably much worth to be visited than most cities around the world… ;))

A Lady's Life said...

I was always in awe of all this intricate work put into these buildings.

Wonder how long it took to build them?

Trotter said...

It was in ruins when Akbar decided to rebuilt in sandstone. According to Wikipedia, «Some 1,444,000 builders worked on it for eight years, completing it in 1573». Amazing!!

Daniel Chérouvrier said...

Quelles merveilles !
Sans parler des couleurs fantastiques des vêtements féminins.

Trotter said...

C'est vrai que Agra a été une des merveilles de la visite!

Tony Rhode said...

Beautiful pics

for more information about Agra Fort like on Entrance fee at Agra Fort visit

GMG said...

Thanks for the complimentary info!

Tony Rhode said...

:-) my pleasure
its your pics which r driving me again n again

GMG said...

You haven't been very active on your blog lately... ;)