The Agra Fort is HUGE! The outside is red sandstone. However there are lots of different materials used inside, mainly the same white marble that was used to build The Taj. It took 29 years to complete and saw numerous leaders reside there during that time. It’s now home to the Indian army and viewing for the public. It’s full of palaces, living areas and public and private audience areas. It has very clear sections and each has its own feel. The leaders added on their own stamp so there’s lots of different architecture, colour, materials and design.
My favourite part of the Fort is one of the living areas in one of the palaces. It has a ‘whispering wall’ and it was super fun to have a go. Basically it’s a wall that carries sound from one end of the room to the other. Marcie, my tour group room mate, and I had a go. It was soooooo cool!!! We were at two completely different ends of the room and we spoke really quietly to the wall and the sound travelled across as clear as day. No idea how it does it but the ceiling was domed so that’s probably got something to do with it…maybe the material too – white marble. Great fun!
We explore the another red sandstone fort city, Fatehpur Sīkri, that was once the capital of India’s Mughal Empire and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. There were lots of examples of acknowledgement to the different religions because King Akbar built three palaces for each of his favorite wives—a Hindu, a Muslim, and a Christian. I really liked seeing that because I believe there is only one God, the Universe, energy…and lots of prominent kings in India realised the same and celebrated it. It’s just that they are worshiped differently. There were also examples of multi-faith worship at the Agra Fort
Catholic place of worship – lots of colour
2000 YEAR OLD STEPPING WELL
Chand Baori is an ancient stepwell situated in the village of Abhaneri near Jaipur.
Abhaneri is located opposite Harshat Mata Temple and was constructed in AD 800. Chand Baori consists of 3,500 narrow steps over 13 storeys. It extends around 30 m (100 ft) into the ground making it one of the deepest and largest stepwells in India. It’s been featured in The Dark Knight, The Fall and The Grand Marigold Hotel. It’s super cool.
That night we stayed in beautiful tents which had beds, electricity, en suites and lots of room. There was a gorgeous pool and we cooled down with a dip and then got henna tattoos by the local girls from Dhula village. Dhula village is really small and in the sticks. It was a good experience to go there because it felt authentic and real compared to the crazy hustle and bustle of the other places I’d seen. Our Camp site was two mins from the main village but in its own area.
We stayed up late playing Kings and Pool charades (we’re bringing it in) and it was hilarious. It was pretty dark because I insisted they turned all the lights so I could gaze at the stars. Was sometimes tricky even seeing what the person was acting out but we got there! When I could, I’d take a few minutes out floating on my back spotting constellations. Relaxing but vibrant energy.
The next day some of us got up at 6am so we could go on a bike ride around the village. It was amazing to see their every day lives. Usually we’re on a bus or in a city but this felt real. They don’t have much but they all seem so happy. Some people were bathing from big barrels of water, women were carrying huge baskets of flowers on their heads, lots were off to work, some were praying. All of them waved and said hi, good morning, namaste with the biggest smiles I’ve ever seen. You’ll never see a more genuine and wide smile than from the Indian people. We went to one of the guys homes who works at the glamping place and met his family.
There were about seven people in the family we met. They have a sitting house for day to day life and a sleeping house…we were in the sitting house. This family sleeps in big rooms and share beds and share the main house space which is two rooms. They have goats and cows and a huge farm. They were affluence in the village. The walls were painted blue. You’ll notice most of the Hindu gods are depicted as blue – it’s to mirror the sky and the sea – they see it as lucky…life giving, prosperity. They looked like a close loving family, really healthy and very content and happy.
I saw lots of cute birds that day but one was AMAZING! It was black and white in a zig zag pattern with a bright orange head. I’ve tried to find it so I can show a photo but no luck. It’s the most gorgeous bird I’ve ever seen. I LOVE birds and I’m super happy I saw such a unique creature.
Culture. Nature. Love.