Thursday, November 22, 2012
Saturday 22nd November
Casual breakfast then off to the first tomb, the splendid Akbaris tomb at Sikandra.
Set in beautifully kept garden of 150 acres we saw groups of rhesus monkeys. Spent one hour walking past tourist bungalow (we should have stayed) and then drove off to see the deserted city of Fatehpun Sikuri, 22 miles from Agra. Here beautifully designed palaces and mosques were only lived in for 16 years, around 1574. We had a picnic lunch on the lawns of the inspection bungalow and returned to Agra by 3.00. The Taj Mahal, a beautiful breathtaking mausoleum in white marble.
The long approach is set out with lakes, lawns and trees; 20,000 labourers built this masterpiece about 1660 as a tomb for Empress Bano Begum by her husband. The sad tale of the dying husband gazing from his prison cell in the red fort is very believable and moving.
We will return to the Taj tonight as by moonlight (two days off full moon) it is said to be even more beautiful. We returned to the Tourist Bungalow where after a good afternoon “kip” settled down to dinner before leaving for our evening’s viewing. Met the lone NZ hitchhiker at the Taj (the one from Lahore) – well by moonlight the Taj is breathtaking, sort of shimmers with the moon reflecting off the white marble. We just stood and gazed. Back to the room via the “Quality” restaurant for one of their huge ice creams – very creamy and chocolate sauce and nuts.