Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Agra Fort

Agra Fort, also known as the Red Fort, was planned and built to be an impregnable military structure. It is monumental exuding a powerful presence
Amar Singh Gate
However, it has all the elegance, lavishness and majesty of an imperial palace
Lying on the right bank of the Yamuna River, it is literally three kilometres upstream from the Taj Mahal 

Emperor Shah Jahan, who commissioned the Red Fort and built the Taj Mahal was imprisoned here by his son Aurangzeb
There are so many beautiful buildings within the Agra Fort complex that it is best described as being like a small walled city.
 Deewan I am - the Hall of Public Audience
The Emperor sat just below these arches at the back of the ' Deewan I am' on his Peacock Throne holding his durbar
Emperor Shah Jahan holding a durbar in the Public Audience Hall C1650
Across the square from the Hall of Public Audience is 
the Moti Masjid - Pearl Mosque - constructed by Emperor Shah Jahan for members of his royal court. It is closed to visitors
Sitting rather incongruously in front of the Hall of Public Audience is the tomb of John Russell Colvin - British civil servant in India and part of the illustrious Anglo-Indian Colvin family. He died of cholera during the peak of the Indian Rebellion of 1857. His body could not be carried out of the Fort which after the fall of the Mughals, the British establishment in India converted into a military garrison. The tomb reminds me of the work of English architect, Augustus Pugin
A large inner marble square where the royal court lived. The golden tower to the left is where the emperor was held and died
The Emperor had three wives but there were concubines living within the complex too!
One of many open pavilions with ornate and intricate 'jali' screens 
The marble quarters where Emperor Shah Jahan was confined until his death. He was considered one of the great Mughals - his rule has been called the Golden Age
Beautiful white marble work inlaid with semi precious stones which I know as 'Pietra Dura' but is called 'Parchin Kari' in India
When looking from the open pavilions over the river it is possible to view the Taj Mahal lying romantically across the water, and
this is the view that Emperor Shah Jahan would have seen everyday - the tomb of his third and favoured wife 
The Taj Mahal is our next visit

44 comments:

  1. There are worse places to be imprisoned. But even with all that time on his hands, 3200 concubines??

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    1. Yes, I don't think it was really like being in prison, most likely detained from actually leaving the fort. I don't know how reliable the 3200 concubine figure is, it is what our guide told us.

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  2. Those buildings look like thousand and one night fairy tales. I was surprised too by the 3200 concubines, the emperor must have been a very macho man.

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    1. I had not imagined that the Red Fort would be anything like it is in reality. Much grander with some great Indian architecture to admire.

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  3. What an amazingly beautiful place, Rosemary. The Hall of Public Audience is gorgeous, and I absolutely love the scalloped arches; I have never seen anything like that before. How curious that the emperor was both imprisoned, yet living in such splendor! Thank for for another wonderful post.

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    1. I didn't get to the bottom of the Emperor's detention in the Red Fort until the end of our trip when we reached Kashmir - my simplified version of the complex tale will be revealed in my final post.

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  4. Oh Rosemary,
    How beautiful. Those arches, the marble, must be great to see in reality...
    Regards,
    Margaret

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    1. Indian architecture has stolen my heart Margaret

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  5. Excuse me for saying this late, but, welcome back, Rosemary. I scrolled down to find this series of travelogue to India is one of my favorites of yours. I have a fascination about India as a magical, mysterious, and spiritual country as a stage of great ancient civilization though I’m aware of the great disparity as you showed in the past post. I I’m so impressed with the historical sites with not too brilliant but various different authentic refined elegance found in each building. There are some elements we can borrow ideas to our home design or furniture; one is “jail” screen or window with ornamental patterns. I’d like to use it as a room divider. The view of Taj Mahal from there is dreamy and tranquil.

    Yoko

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    1. Thank you for your welcome back Yoko, we have been back almost two weeks now but it feels like yesterday. The magic of India does capture the imagination - I have met several people who return again and again, and I am inclined to return myself someday.
      I love the designs of the 'jal' screens and can visualise them working in many different kinds of situations.

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  6. Such wonderful photos, you almost tempt me.

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    1. I seem to remember that you lived in Turkey - visiting India is not much different from the water and food situation. By drinking only mineral water, peeling our fruit and even cleaning our teeth in bottled water we were absolutely fine.

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  7. What an amazing display of wealth and power! No wonder the British wanted to take over India.

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    1. To a certain extent the British versus India is a two horse race. They love their railways which we built, they still drive on the lefthand side of the road, they were grateful that universal education was introduced and they still run their Civil Servicer along the same lines as us. I must admit to a certain amount of embarrassment on my country's behalf, but from comments we received many still feel nostalgic for the old days, and I suppose that is why there are so many living in our country.

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  8. Dear Rosemary,

    All of the achitecture is beautiful — the arches, the inlays, the towers — but I have to say that what really captivated from this posting was that gorgeous shallow pool in the third from last photo. I've never seen anything quite like it, and I wish it were my own. A photo will have to do.

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    1. Dear Mark that very finely carved marble fountain and pool in Emperor Shah Jahan's private rooms captured our imaginations too. It must have looked wonderful with the fountain playing, little lights in the small alcoves, flowers everywhere and the women dressed in beautiful coloured fabrics.

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  9. Great architecture, one building is even more beautiful than the other, this must be a wonderful tour. I am looking forward to the Taj Mahal.

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    1. The Taj Mahal - does it live up to expectations? the next post will reveal. Glad you enjoyed seeing the architecture Janneke.

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  10. Oh my goodness, it is stunning!!!!!!! Your photos and descriptions are wonderful too. I am lost for other words to say as it is just so amazing no words can do it justice. I cannot wait for the Taj Mahal, but fear that I may be rendered speechless! Sooooo glad that you enjoyed it and had such an amazing time. Thank you for taking us along!! xx

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    1. Dear Amy - your comment made me smile - thank you for your great enthusiasm, but I do fear that you are correct as the Taj Mahal is simply stunning.

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  11. Stunning. I hadn't realised the red stone was so beautiful. Lovely pictures. Looking forward to seeing the Taj Mahal!

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    1. The Red Fort was a revelation to me too.

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  12. All those wonderful columns and the inlaid marble work, it quite takes my breath away.

    Ms Soup

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    1. I know now why people return to India again and again

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  13. WOW, stunning , majestic and amazement are the words that come to my mind ! SO much beauty and so many things to see and let fall in .

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    1. Indian architecture certainly makes a huge impression on the viewer

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  14. Is t it wonderful Rosemary? We were there six years ago and loved it. The architecture took my breath away and when I first viewed the Taj Mahal I was completely overwhelmed and burst into tears! Enjoy. P x

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    1. The Taj Mahal far, far exceeded my expectations

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  15. Amazing. It's difficult to take in all the intricate, elegant detail. Even the design of the low-growing vegetation in the sunken areas of the open spaces looks beautiful and compliments the style of architecture.

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    1. I am reliving the trip again Linda, but I can't believe that we have only been back 2 weeks.

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  16. The fort is made of stone with amazing color. Intricate carvings, ornaments made of marble and paintings are beautiful. The entire facility is wonderful, what you see in your photographs. Regards.

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    1. Thank you Giga - I am so pleased that you enjoyed seeing this wonderful architecture.

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  17. Hello Rosemary, It is interesting to compare spaces devoted by various VIPs to formal reception. Deewan I Am is quite different from the American concept, although I have seen Chinese reception halls rather similar (albeit with Chinese decorations). The quarters decorated for Shah Jahan are so exquisite that the contrast is all the great with that yellow sheet-metal roofing.

    I love those colonnaded arcades that must have been quite impressive and surreal to walk through.
    --Jim
    --Jim

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    1. Hello Jim - The gold pavilions, as they are known, have an unusual curved shaped roof which is based on a style seen on the huts in Bengali villages. They are actually constructed out of curved bamboo and designed to keep off heavy rain. I do agree that they look as if they have used yellow sheet metal for them - the roof appears to need some very expensive restoration work i.e. renewal of the gold-leaf gilding.

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  18. We sometimes find small paperweights, dishes etc. made using the Parchin Kari technique - old souvenirs made for tourists. The older examples are fine and very beautiful.

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    1. You can still find beautiful, good quality, Parchin Kari objects made today, but it is not cheap.

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  19. Just love your india serie. Top.

    Greetings,
    Filip

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  20. Just beautiful...
    Love,
    Titti

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    1. So pleased that you enjoyed seeing the beautiful architecture of India Titti

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  21. Oh it's lovely to see this 'India series' in this way, can't wait to see the next set of images!

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    1. Thanks Suzie - I am really pleased that you are enjoying seeing them

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  22. Oh, wow! I'd heard of the Red Fort, but had no idea that it is so extraordinarily impressive and beautiful. The inlaid marble is exquisite, as is the view of the Taj Mahal. Your photos are stunning, Rosemary.

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    1. I had no idea that it would be so impressive either Perpetua

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