Sunday, September 16, 2012

Sikandra - Never Heard Before, Will Not Forget After

I haphazardly read our itinerary and knew we had a stop before our destination for the day. In our itinerary, it stated that our stop was Sikandra to see the tomb of the Mughal Emperor Akbar. I was completely ignorant of Indian history and I cannot remember seeing any other blogger who had gone there before or at least featured it in their blogs.

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So when we arrived in Sikandra which is about 8 km from Agra, the rain had let up a bit. As we drove up to the Tomb of Emperor Akbar, the gate was flooded. To be honest, right there and then I wanted to tell Ashok to turn around and take us to the hotel and we'll skip this. But I'm glad I didn't listen to the small voice inside of me who hated the discomfort of a little rain and flooding.

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Because this is what greeted us. This is the gate, known as the South gate, where visitors normally enter the complex. It's very ornate. Gorgeous. Incredibly detailed. High on wow factor. It was built to imitate Buland Darwaza, the mosque at Fatehpur Sikri (post coming soon), the town that Akbar founded.

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Emperor Akbar (1555-1605) planned his own tomb, selected the site and started the construction. After his death, his son Jahangir (father of Shah Jahan who built Taj Mahal) completed the project in 1605-1613.

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This is the backside of photo 2. This is the view from the interior of the complex.

The south gate is four white marble chhatri-topped minarets, similar to and predates that of Taj Mahal. Chhatri is an elevated dome-shaped pavilion used as design elements in Indian architecture. We saw a lot of it on this trip, which means you'll see a lot of it in coming posts, hehehe.

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Panels of inlaid designs in geometric, floral, calligrafic patterns. Our tour guide who happened to be my favorite among the 3 we had told us that these designs you see (in the collage above) are the traditional Mughal carpet designs.

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The tomb and other buildings are built using red sandstone with features of white marble, which is plentiful in nearby Agra. Again panels of inlaid designs adorn the entry to the tomb.

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Inside, looking out.

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Ornately decorated area just as we entered the tomb.

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From that very ornate room we entered the door and found a narrow eerie hallway leading to the tomb, can you see it?

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Inside the room that held Akbar, there was a stark contrast to the magnificence of the gates and the facade of the tomb. We were told that he specifically requested/planned to "rest" in peace and quiet. That is why he planned to have this room bare.

After visiting the tomb, we set out to explore the complex, or as much as we could without getting too soaked; the rain has not stopped drizzling the entire visit. There was lots to see and explore, the compound is 119 acres. We didn't go far, I think most of the acreage is off limits anyway.

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Inside is where the tomb lies. See the wet floor?

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Side view.

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I was foolish not to have head cover. This is the side of the tomb, from here you can easily see the minarets of the south gate.

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I have developed a fascination for the Mughal architecture.

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In one of the rooms we found two tombs. We were told it belonged to the wife and the concubine. Man, the wife can't get a break. Even in "eternity" must she spend it with the concubine?

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Must be one of the gates, I'm not sure.

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Another structure I spotted and photographed. With the help of internet I found that this is actually Kanch Mahal, built by Jehangir, as a harem quarter later used as a hunting lodge.

India and Bangladesh are similar in this fashion, teens find these historical monument sites as great "dating" places.
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They raise this deer breed inside the complex. I forgot what kind of breed it is, maybe one of you know.

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And these birds are feeding freely inside the compound.

This stop was very enjoyable for me, despite the rain. The architecture was simply incredible. I've never seen anything like it before. One very memorable experience.



11 comments:

  1. And to think you almost missed it! FABULOUS, Maria.

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  2. it might be a rainy day but there's obviously a downpour of architectural beauty as well!

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  3. A gorgeous series of this fabulous place. I'm glad you didn't let the rain makes you pass this up.

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  4. Thank you so much for your words, I really enjoy taking photos in the street, life is there. Your lovely photos make me remember some muslim constructions here in Spain, muslim empire was here 500 years. Their architecture is misterious and it seems it lasts forever.

    Hugs

    Val

    Barcelona Daily Photo

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  5. This is an amazing site and your photos do it justice. Fabulous post!

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  7. Amazing architecture!

    Good to know that the government or whatever institution in charge is doing a great job in preserving these historical treasures.

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  8. Sikandara sounds a bit familiar since I'm currently looking up on tours to India (Agra part). A four-day weekend is approaching next month and it tickles me to think to travel to (North of) India but not to miss Taj Mahal which is out of north. But haven't really decided yet, staycation also sounds exciting. I went through your photos in the other posts as well and I liked how you captured the life over there.

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  9. ... just fascinating! sikandra is not in the usual itineraries for agra. i only have a whole day in my upcoming visit, most likely i won't be able to see this.

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  10. very memorable indeed, i can't help my oohs and aahs while reading your post.
    the architecture were just extraordinaire esp the ornate details.
    glad you did this tour and shared it with us,
    glad the rain didn't stop you from this. ^0^

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  11. The gray backdrop of the sky and wet weather can not diminish the splendor of this stunning Moghul architecture. What a tremendous surprise!

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