Thursday 25 August 2011

These Mughals sure knew their design

I'll let the pictures do the talking.
But one thing has been bothering me - I hope someone has the answer. How come such palaces do not exist in South India? Every minor Maharajah up North (Gujarat, rajasthan, delhi, uttar pradesh) seems to have built monumental edifices to their glory. Did the Cholas, Hoysalas, Pallavas, Chalukyas etc just erect temples? As far as I know (I've never visited some of these), Hampi, Belur-Halebid and Mahabalipuram etc are all temple complexes. What have I missed? I have heard of the Travancore palace and seen the Mysore palace, bot not sure if there are any others.
Getting back to Agra, one has to start with the Taj (head bowed in respect for the stunning beauty).

I chose this picture for a reason. This is actually the back view of the Taj as seen from a place called Mehtab Bagh. Totally symmetrical huh? What you see in the foreground is the site and foundation of the Black Taj Mahal, which was supposed to house the tomb of Shah Jahan. However it did not get built because ShahJahan was subsequently imprisoned by Aurangzeb. Our guide said there was no hard proof to substantiate this story/myth. Oh and btw that story about Shahjahan blinding/chopping off the hands of the stonemasons and architects of the Taj is totally untrue. Whew!
Oops....I said I'd let the pics do the talking :)
Moving on.....
Inside the Agra fort, very similar to the Red Fort in Delhi.

Balconies and balustrades inside the fort.

Entry into Fatehpur (the palace complex).

A pagoda-inspired structure where Akbar is supposed to have enjoyed moonlit nights :)

First view of Akbar's tomb - Sikandra.

The lush verdant lawns of Sikandra , with deers romping.

Itmad-ud-Daulah, the tomb of the "man of trust", Nur-Jehan's father, who used to be treasurer when Jahangir was emperor. Caught this as the sun was setting.

Itmad-ud-daulah marked a transition phase in Indo-Islamic architecture from red sandstone to white marble. It is beautiful, off the tourist track (relatively speaking since everything in Agra is on the tourist track!) and sits on a vantage point on the banks of the Yamuna. Very serene.

Look how well-maintained these floor tiles are. And how beautiful.

A section of the wall plus flooring.

I did say vantage point :) Not child-friendly though!

I noticed that all the monuments were beautifully maintained. Lots of trash cans, no spitting, rest-rooms everywhere (clean by Indian standards). The irony was that two of the world heritage monuments - the Taj and Fatehpur complex - were filthy outside. Horses, cows and dogs roaming around everywhere in the entry roads creating a general mess. Sikri is still a functioning village so that partly explains the filth. But I thought the Taj Mahal complex had no such excuse. 


  1. Chopping off limbs and blinding artisans was an age old practice of many kings even in S.India.
    Speaking of palaces. Two come to my mind immediately Serfoji Palace of Tanjore, T.Naicker mahal Madurai !
    Great trip.!

  2. Aah...must learn more about these...didn't know abt them. Thanks.

  3. I was going to say I have not heard of any Tamizh palaces, and now I see Life_Refactored 's comment so I'm apparently low on knowledge of my home state :(. Interesting info though.

    Interesting observation though Aparna, I didn't realize how many of these monuments I have seen/heard of up north and not many down south. I've taken a resolution to see more of our country as soon as the kids are a little more grown up - seeing posts like yours is very inspirational for me :).

  4. Apparently Kings of those days called this 'IP protection'. Some called it patenting... :)
    Again, to the list of palaces, i forgot to add 'The Chettinad palace' in Adyar right across my office :)

  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  6. We're a group of volunteers and starting a new scheme in our community. Your site provided us with valuable information to work on. You've ԁοne a formіdable job and our whole сommunity
    will be grateful to уou. just click the following document


I would love to hear your thoughts :)