Monday, October 1, 2007

Agra. Sikandra.


Sikandra is the burial place of the Mughal Emperor Akbar. It was built by Akbar himself during this lifetime.

It's bright and early on October 1st and I'm well rested and ready to go!

The day before, I had toured the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, Fatehpur Sikri and managed to squeeze in some time for shopping. By the time I got into bed, I was dead tired. Pooped. So much so that I don't even remember hearing the early morning call to prayer. I got up when the alarm clock went off, took a quick shower, packed my bags and left them with the concierge. I then had breakfast. Birj was already waiting for me when I headed outside the hotel. A few minutes later, Hamid showed up on his scooter. We piled into the car and a short drive later, we arrived at Sikandra.
Birj dropped us off at the parking lot and Hamid and I made our way to the entry gate.



After having seen all the beautiful sights before, you would think that another sandstone monument with incredible inlay work wouldn't be a thrill for me but once I set my eyes on the detail work of the facade of the entry gate, I couldn't wait to get inside and see more!

Closeup of wall detail. So beautiful!
Hamid bought our tickets and we entered through the gate. From the other side of the entry gate, we had our first view of the mausoleum that houses Akbar's tomb.
Flanking the walkway that connects the entry gate to the mausoleum are two gardens.
One is populated by antelope.....
....and the other by monkeys.
Aside from Hamid and I, there were only a handful of people wandering the grounds so it was a very peaceful place to be. I lingered on my walk, taking as much time as I could to enjoy the view of the gardens before entering the mausoleum.
Looking back at the entry gate.
Front facade of the mausoleum.
Hamid and I took our shoes off and we entered the mausoleum. The first thing that strikes you as you enter the room are the beautiful ceiling and walls - very ornately painted.




The tomb itself is housed inside an inner room. Surprisingly, it is lacking in any decoration - very simple considering it marks the burial site of one of the greatest Mughal Emperors in India's history. Supposedly, the remains are actually housed below ground.

Since there wasn't much to see inside other than the tomb itself, I didn't spend but a few minutes there.
I had to put my shoes back on - Hamid decided to capture the moment. Note to anyone who decides to tour with Hamid - he loves to take photos so be warned that he'll take one at any opportunity he can, whether or ready or not :-)

As beautiful as the painting work is so is the carving - the detail of the marble lattice work that surrounds the door is spectacular.


Once we were back outside, we slowly retraced our steps back to the parking lot. There, I said thanked Hamid for his services and bid him goodbye. Birj and I then began the 5 hour drive back to Delhi.
Although I had only spent a day and a half day touring through Agra, I left with wonderful memories and a greater appreciation for the architecture and artistry of the Mughal Emperors!!