This is the larger than life Buland Darwaza in Fatehpur Sikri, in the far north of India. I spent a long time around here, looking at all of Akbar’s Mughal architecture from every angle. I pictured many a fantastic battle being fought for control of the palace and inner cloister.
It’s the highest gateway in the world and you can easily see the detail of the red sandstone and the inlayed white marble, which still has remarkable architecture, even though it has been there for over 400 years. A very close look uncovers verses from the Koran, winding their way up and around the towers.
When wandering around the outskirts and wilds of the Taj Mahal, where no tourists can be found (you all know I am not fond of clueless tourists that use their flash when they are 500 yards from the subject… you all probably feel the same way!), I found this other wandering camel that stopped for a rest. I don’t know what all the brands on his neck are for – although I assume they denote ownership to the boy in the red’s family.
Outside the gates to Fatehpur Sikri, an Indian boy waits to take my shoes. I pay him a few rupees to keep track of them for me. I walked several miles in bare feet inside and quickly discovered why everyone has such dirty feet. It’s always been a pet peeve of mine, but, like dropping your keys in a river of lava, I just had to let it go.
This place is a hundred times cooler than the Red Fort in Agra.
This is Akbar’s capital palace near Agra that is called Fatehpur Sikri. Most tourists do not make it out here because they just spend one day looking at the Taj Mahal in the morning and the Red Fort in the afternoon. Since I was there on Saturday and Sunday, I got to spend the second day exploring this palace.
I was frankly more impressed by this place than the Ancient Roman Forum. The Roman Forum is a lot older, but this place is really amazing…
I had a great time in India! I am very thankful to my various hosts for showing me such a good time.
Besides a weekend trip to the Taj Mahal, as you can see below, I was also treated to a full immersion into Bollywood here in Mumbai, the center of the movie world here in India. It started with a 3-hour viewing of Om Shanti Om, complete with a pre-show standing for the Indian national anthem. Afterwards, we ate dinner at Olive’s, which is a trendy place where many of the Bollywood stars go to see and be seen by the Page 3 newspapers. My host was leaning over to me telling me who was the sister-in-law of whom and which directors were entering while escorting which starlets.