Saturday, March 23, 2013


As much as I loved my trip to Agra for the city's remarkable architecture, my camera was even more thrilled by the assortment of animal species you run into in and around the place. As it happens, the primary inhabitants of the majestic Mughal monuments today are simians and avians. On top of that, the city streets offer ample alternative modes of transport, including camel rides and horse carts. The rustic outskirts were even more spectacular with an occasional wild peacock or peahen strutting around in the plantations. So here's a brief post dedicated to the critters of Agra, those that my camera could capture as well as those that it couldn't.

A parrot couple perches on a red sandstone wall near Jodha Bai's palace in Fatehpur Sikri

Rediscovering Mughal Majesty

Last month an opportunity to revisit Agra came my way! Once the capital of the Mughal empire of India, Agra today is a tourist magnet owing to the many majestic Mughal monuments it houses. My trip was brief, and we only managed to cover the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, Fatehpur Sikri, and Itimad-ud-Daulah (the first three happen to be UNESCO World Heritage Sites). The Taj Mahal, a marble mausoleum built by emperor Shah Jahan for his wife Mumtaz Mahal, stands on the banks of the Yamuna river. The Agra Fort, with its august red sandstone facade, intricate layout, and lavish interiors was built over many hundreds of years by multiple monarchs, both Mughal and non-Mughal. The tomb of Itimad-ud-Daulah, built by Nur Jahan, wife of Mughal emperor Jahangir, for her parents, like the Taj Mahal, also stands on the bank of the Yamuna. Fatehpur Sikri happens to be a city under the district of Agra. The Mughal capital shifted from the city of Agra to Fatehpur Sikri during the reign of Akbar, who built this city in honor of the Sufi saint Salim Chishti after the saint's blessing supposedly gave the king his first male heir! Without further ado, the photo tour commences:

The Taj Mahal, a white marble mausoleum built by emperor Shah Jahan for his wife Mumtaz Mahal, stands on the banks of the Yamuna river. Shah Jahan was quite a fan of white marble and it was brought all the way from the state of Rajasthan. Today the monument is struggling in the throes of pollution which has severely compromised the condition of the marble.