Sunday, 9 January 2011

Agra to Jaipur (and Hideous Fog)

We awoke this morning to absolutely no view whatsoever from our bedroom window. It was 7am, and by 9 it was little better. In days gone by, in London, they would have called it a real “pea souper”. More smog than fog, and I seem to have developed quite a chesty cough, which might be the smog or the air con, who knows.  Our driver and guide suggested that we miss the red Fort of Agra as there would be little to see that would be different from the Red Fort in Delhi.  A fort is a fort! So we made our way to Fatehpur Sikri, 37km from Agra on the Jaipur road. You will see from the photos that it was still foggy when we arrived, so I suggest you Google “Fatehpur Sikri Agra” to see photos of what it looks like in decent sunshine.  This place is an abandoned city. For 14 years it was the Mughal Capital, built by Akbar in 1571, and then abandoned as they were having constant trouble getting water to it. Akbar had three wives, one Christian, one Hindu and one Muslim. Inside the city walls lie the three residences of these wives each built and carved in the style associated with their religions. Only the Hindu wife bore him a son, so she was his favourite. Akbah also had a white elephant that he used to crush victims by stepping on them on a stone in the garden.  When he dished out justice, there was no appeal opportunity! When his favourite elephant died he built a special monument to him, but due to the fog we could not see this.
The road to Jaipur was much better than other trunk roads we have been on thus far. There were still loose dogs crossing and camel trains and lorries coming the wrong way in our fast lane.  Our driver took it all in his stride and accepted the inevitability of it all, as if normal.  We got to Jaipur at about 4pm and saw many kites in the sky.  Both varieties!  January the 14th is National Kite Festival and everyone is getting ready for it. There were more Kites in the sky than pigeons. They come in a variety of colours and materials, but so far are all a basic square design, about the size of an LP. Enjoy the photos  here  and why not try out the slideshow if you have not yet found that option. The WIFI here appears to be quite slow and so I will not update tomorrow, but leave it until the afternoon of the 11th when at our last hotel in India, the WIFI is free.

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