Wednesday 22 April 2015
Highlights: Fathpur Sikri (abandon city) , Abhaneri (stunning ancient water tank) and Bollywood!
Today originally looked like a positioning day with a long trip to Jaipur but was it turned out that under played today’s stops in Fathpur Sikri and the Abhaner. We left Agra at 8.30 am with the knowledge we wouldn’t get to Jaipur until early earning and with some sorrow or leaving the wonders of this town.
A few hours later we pulled up at Fathpur Sikri the abandoned Mughal city built by Mughal ruler Akbar The Great before the Mughal ruler moved the capital to Agra due to lack of water.
The city again highlighted our the Mughal Emperor welcomed all religions, Hindu, Muslim, Jewish and Christianty. In fact Akbar tried to create his own unifying religion which didn’t take. I found the most interesting place the ‘astrologers seat’ or Panch Mahal whose location indicated how much power the astrologer held. Our local guide ‘Peter’ explained so of the games the Emperor used to play in particular getting some of his 380 harem women to play naked! It’s good to be the King / Emperor!
Lunch was held nearby at the Lakeside Resturant, noting there hasn’t been a lake for a long time but the Government is looking into bringing water back here.
A few hours later we arrived at Abhaneri to view the tank gardens and the local Hindu temple. The tank garden is massive. There are over 3,000 interlocking steps to the bottom which at different angles form interesting patterns (thanks to Dianne for spotting this). The Hindu Temple highlighted how a later Mughal embracing a stricter interpretation of Islam destroy all the faces in the stone artwork. It’s a shame was what remains showed talented work.
I’ve noticed that the locals are getting poor the longer the trip goes. Mothers had their children trying to sell us goods or just give them money. G Adventure has a strict policy on this not to give this way, it encourages begging and to keep children out of school. They have many supported programs for those in poverty. Still it’s hard to take ignoring children begging. Guilt can be high but I know there are better ways to help the, just give some rupees. The are great treasures in India and the vast majority of my trip money supports locals not multi national profit first (or only) companies. Begging is still part of the real India but they are progressing quickly.
On arrival to Jaipur tour CEO recommended we head straight to Raj Mandir cinema to check out a Bollywood movie, this one was titled ‘Mr X’ and was a super hero / musical which is an odd mix. The movie was in Hindi with no subtitles but occasion English. The cinema itself was very grand, a huge curtain covers the screen. It was comfortable but also very old style and can sit 1,200 when full.
BTW One oversight of this trip is I should have bought insect repellant. I, like the rest of the group, have many many bits.